Al Hamli Ahmed of UAE of the Emirates F1 Team in action at the UIM F1 powerboat Grand Prix of Sharjah, Khalid Lagoon, Sharjah, UAE. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Idea Marketing.
For the first time in eight years, the name on the U.I.M. F1 World Championship Trophy for world champion will have neither Scott Gillman or Guido Cappellini on it's face as Finnish star Sami Selio went out and made a statement to day letting the field know that he is the driver of 'new era' by taking the title while winning his second straight in the Emirates and his third of the year taking the 2007 title by four points 104-100.
Guido Cappellini, the old 'grey fox' came into the event with a great shot at gaining his 10th overall title in his 18th year of racing, needing to only place sixth or better, but he ran into his same bad luck that has plagued him for fifth time in six years, failing to finish, this time with a blown engine and ending his season again in tears on the 39th of the 50 scheduled laps.
'I woke up this morning not so sure I could get both a victory and have Guido have bad luck to complete my dream of a world title,' said Sami. 'It's unbelievable but at the same time I have to thank all the people who have believed in me over the years including my sponsors and crew that have steered me to this ultimate moment. This, hopefully will be the start of a long and close friendship with the championship trophy.'
While the 'Finnish Flyer' was out front extending his lead to 29 seconds at one point, a royal battle for the podium position behind him was heating up with Jay Price of the Qatar Team fighting his way from sixth off the dock and aggressively moving past everyone except Selio to finish just 2.41 seconds behind at the end of the day. The native of New Orleans, Louisiana earned his second career runner-up position and his third overall podium to end the season in a good way for the start of 2008 scheduled opening event in Doha in just three months time.
Taking third and his second podium of his career was Australian David Trask as the XPV Racing driver pushed hard all race after starting fifth getting passed only by Price to finish the season with 31 points and seventh in the championship.
Emirates Team drivers Thani Al Qamzi and Ahmed Al Hamli came home in tandum fourth and fifth in less than new boats as the winner of last years event Al Qamzi just missing the podium for the first time while running at the end. The Abu Dhabi native finished third in the championship with 79 points. Al Hamli was 10th with 18 points.
French driver Philippe Chiappe of the Atlantic Team was sixth and had a great battle with Cappellini for many laps and finished the year with a satisfying eighth position in the championship with 29 points for his best season in F1.
Swedish driver Pierre Lundin ended a wonderful campaign with a seventh after starting a lowly 21st off the dock after his boat was destroyed in yesterday's practice. His push for his four championship points gave him enough to finish fourth overall with 51 points, four ahead of Jay Price's 47 who took fifth.
Marit Stromoy of the F1 Team Sweden was the first women in decades to earn championship points with her fine eighth position after starting 20th and she hopes to continue her good racing into the 2008 season.
Veteran Englishman Andy Elliott had a wild day taking ninth after starting one sixth, running over a turn buoy that some other driver hit, pitting in the process before coming back out to take two points in the event finishing 20th in the championship despite just three race starts.
The 10th and final driver to take a championship point was the only Italian driver in the top 10 in Singha Team driver Franco Leidi earning his first point of the season after starting 22nd.
The only accident of the race came early in the first lap when ex-World Champion Fabrizzo Bocca of the Rainbow Racing team crashed out on the north side of the race course barrel rolling to a stop and ending his season in 12th place in the championship with 15 points.
The 8th month journey for the U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating began in Portimao, Portugal in May and ended in the late afternoon darkness in December with a new driver enjoying the taste of the World Championship glory, Sami Selio. The 31 year-old native of Helsinki, will now join 9 other drivers in the select group that can be called 'World Champion'.
Congratulations to the nine year, 70 race journey that has brought Sami his lifelong dream.
The start of the 2008 campaign for the U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating will begin in March in Doha, Qatar.