In the 2013 UIM F1 H2O World Championship, two time defending World Champion Alex Carella earned his first pole position of the year and his second straight on the Liu River in Liuzhou and will lead a Qatar Team one-two for the third race at the 19th Grand Prix of China.
Practice for the UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix
The 28 year-old driver from Italy out dueled his teammate and points leader Shaun Torrente of Miami, Florida by racing around the two kilometer circuit with a 45.50 second lap for a speed of 166.15 kph. Carella's time, which turned out to be four one-hundredths of a second swifter than Torrente's 166.01 kph lap, was enough to earn him his seventh career pole position. The Italian will lead the field of 17 drivers from 13 different nations for tomorrow's 14:00 local Grand Prix start.
'It's great to back to the top of the field once again,' said Alex. 'The circuit was difficult because the water was so flat but I was able to take advantage of it and for the first time this season and the first time since the race here a year ago I was able to out qualify my teammate Shaun which is always satisfying with our respected rivalry we have towards each other.'
For the American, Torrente he will start in the top three of the grid for the third straight time this season.
'I came so close but hat's off to Alex he won the dual and ran a great pair of laps.' said the 35 year-old driver. 'To have the Qatar Team one-two is always something special and now we hope we can close the deal out tomorrow with another one-two finish and score some big points in the Team Championship.'
The Finnish two-time World Champion Sami Selio took third in his Mad Croc boat failing to snatch the pole for the first time this year after doing a 45.92 second charge with a speed of 164.63 kph.
'Yes, I am disappointed with where we finished,' said the native of Helsinki. 'I knew right away that the conditions of the flat water where not in our favor from the start and actually I am happy with third now that I think about it. Tomorrow is another day and I haven't finished this race in the last two seasons and I want to go the distance by the end of the day and gain valuable championship points.'
Fourth on the grid was Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC China Team with a 46.08 second lap for the Frenchman who was chasing his first career pole position after winning his first Grand Prix in the Ukraine back in July.
Fifth was veteran Italian Francesco Cantando of the Singha Team starting his 18th Grand Prix in China and doing a great job of qualifying after reconfiguring his BLAZE boat in Milan over the past month and watching it pay off with a 46.49 second lap.
Team Abu Dhabi drivers Thani Al Qamzi and Ahmed Al Hameli will start in the sixth and seventh positions very satisfied considering that both their primary boats missed making the race because of the typhoon ravaged ports not able to download the ship in time for the race weekend.
Thani, who won the race back in 2011, had to fight off his teammate Ahmed in the final moments of the Q2 qualifying session to make it to the top six 'shootout' and a chance for pole position.
Jonas Andersson of Sweden, another winner of the event back in 2009, came home eighth while his new teammate Terry Rinker from Florida was tenth with a time of 48.15 putting in a strong run for the Team Azerbaijan duo.
Youssef Al Rubayan of Kuwait was ninth with his F1 GC Atlantic Team boat with his teammate Duarte Benavente taking 11th with a time of a 48.25 second lap.
The 19th Grand Prix of China will take place tomorrow afternoon at 14:00 local, 06:00 GMT and 02:00 along the East Coast of North America.