At the 21st Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, Italian Alex Carella of the Qatar Team held off three World Champions and a pair of re-starts to claim his sixth career victory under a yellow flag and become a back-to-back World Champion for the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour on Friday afternoon.
The scheduled 40 lap event around the 2.2 kilometer race circuit along the corniche at the center of Abu Dhabi ended on the third yellow flag of the day 32 laps into the event when the first turn past the start finish line was taken out by Kuwaiti driver Youssef Al Rubayan of the Atlantic Team on the 27th lap.
For the new multi-time World Champion it couldn't have come at a better time in the race: 'My crew had my boat set-up perfectly and I needed that to happen since I had such a talented crew of drivers chasing me for 32 laps,' said Alex. 'Thani Al Qamzi pushed me to the max and actually got past me for a moment before I was able to pass him again on the front straight and take back the first position.'
'I'm truly thankful to everyone on the Qatar Team for their hard work and dedication to get me to this place. Now, that the championship is over for the year, we can enjoy the evening and get ready for the final race next Friday in Sharjah.'
The crowds, which numbered in the tens of thousands, were cheering madly for Thani to put his Team Abu Dhabi BABA boat to the front as the 34 year-old driver was hoping to win on home waters for the first time in ten years of racing here. He led for a moment. On the second re-start he made a gem of a move sliding past the Italian on the final turn of the course but was out dueled by Carella on the straightaway and never got another chance to catch him losing by 2.84 seconds at the end.
Two-time World Champion Sami Selio snuffed out any dream of a first title for French driver Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC China Team as the Mad Croc Racing driver got around him at the two-thirds point of the race and never looked back.
Chiappe, with his fourth place remains ahead of Selio in the points chase 57 to 54 moving ahead of the non racing ill driver from Team Abu Dhabi Ahmed Al Hameli and his 50 points for second place in the championship drivers' standings.
Swedish driver Jonas Andersson came home with a nice fourth place for his best result of the campaign for the Team Sweden veteran who picked up his second top five finish of the season.
Italian Singha Team driver Francesco Cantando, a two time winner in Abu Dhabi charged from 14th qualifying position to take sixth.
Norway's Marit Stromoy took her Team Nautica boat from ninth to seventh for her best finish of the year.
American multi-time champion Terry Rinker ran a steady race taking eighth for the Qatar Team replacing suspended driver and fellow Floridian Shaun Torrente.
Stanislav Kurtsenovskiy of the CTIC China Team was ninth as the Russian driver from St. Petersburg moved up four places at the start and getting his fourth top ten result of the season.
Rounding out the top ten was Portuguese driver Duarte Benavente who earned a championship point despite two bruised ribs for Team Atlantic.
The UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of UAE on the Corniche breakwater. The 5th leg of the UIM F1 H2O World Championships 2012. - Vittorio Ubertone/Idea Marketing Click Here to view large photo
Notable drivers failing to finish were a pair of Americans with four-time World Champion Scott Gillman of Team Abu Dhabi managing just two laps before retiring while 2008 world title holder Jay Price ran 11 laps before he dropped out with a myriad of gremlins in his Skydive Dubai machine.
The sixth and final round of the 2012 UIM F1 H2O World Championship concludes its season next Friday, December 7th on the Khalid Lagoon in Sharjah, UAE. With the world title decided the heated three way battle for the runner-up spot will continue all the way to the final lap. F1H20 website