For the 14th Grand Prix of Sharjah, which gets underway tomorrow, 2-time world champion Sam Selio of the Mad Croc Team has claimed the early advantage in the fight for finishing runner-up in this year's championship with French driver Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC China Team by taking pole position.
Mad Croc Team at UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Sharjah in the Khalid Lagoon
The final round of the 2012 UIM F1 H2O World Championship saw 22 drivers from 15 countries fighting for over an hour and one-half to see who could be fastest in three separate qualifying sessions.
The Finnish driver, who earned his second pole of the season and his 19th of his coveted career, did a 46.71 second lap around the very difficult six pin 2.235 kilometer (1.38 mile) circuit beating out Swedish driver Jonas Andersson of Team Sweden by .18 of a second for the number one position.
SHARJAH-UAE Stanislav Kourtenovskiy of Russia of China CTIC Team at UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Sharjah in the Khalid Lagoon, December 6-7, 2012. Picture by Vittorio Ubertone/Idea Marketing.
'I'm truly excited about my fourth pole position here in Sharjah,' stated Sami. 'This very technical circuit suits my team perfectly and I always seem to do well when I finish this event.'
'I won my 2007 title here and would love to end on a high note tomorrow and be runner-up to Alex Carella. I think I've come a long way considering what I've gone through with my total recovery from my bad crash a year ago in China that kept me from even racing here in 2011.'
A strong Scandinavian presence this year in the top two spots, with Andersson, ever improving this season, qualifying for his best position since winning in Liuzhou, China from second off the dock 26 races ago back in 2009.
'We had a great set-up despite scrambling late to get everything right,' said Jonas. 'I'm due, I just hope we get a chance to win tomorrow since I've never done so here and it has been over three seasons since the last victory. I'm determined to make that happen tomorrow.'
Starting third is the American driver Jay Price from the Skydive Dubai Team. The driver from New Orleans did well considering he was developing less power than most of the front runners but managed a 47.25 second lap to finish in front of his last years teammate Carella of the Qatar Team.
'It was a great result for my new team,' quipped the 2008 World Champion. 'We are just a race into this new organization and already we are fired up with a chance a win tomorrow. I've been on the podium in 21 of my last 25 finishes and we want to keep that streak alive on Friday.'
Fourth went Sharjah double winner Thani Al Qamzi. The Team Abu Dhabi driver stayed ahead of the Qatar Team duo of new champion Carella in sixth and American replacement driver Terry Rinker of Florida who did a solid job for seventh position with a 47.84 lap.
Marit Stromoy of Team Nautica was eighth with her second best qualifying effort of the season and a 48.16 looking for her first podium in Sharjah for the Norwegian driver.
SHARJAH-UAE Marit Stromoy of Norway of Team Nautica at UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Sharjah in the Khalid Lagoon, December 6-7, 2012. Picture by Vittorio Ubertone/Idea Marketing.
Veteran Francesco Cantando of Milan was ninth in his Singha Team BLAZE boat with a 48.17 second lap as he searches for his second victory in Sharjah and the first win for him in 15 races on the tour.
Rounding out the top ten was the rookie F2 driver from Sweden in Erik Stark who ran a 48.29 second lap in his Danish Molgaard boat for only his second weekend of F1 racing with Team Sweden.
Drivers from four continents will take to the final stop of the 2012 UIM F1 H2O World Championship for powerboating for the 14th Grand Prix of Sharjah at 16:00 local, 12:00 GMT and 07:00 EST on the East Coast of North America.