Grand Prix of Sharjah - Three teams fight for 'runner-up' glory
by F1H2O on 4 Dec 2012
Whilst the Qatar Team and their pilot Alex Carella bask in knowledge that they have claimed the drivers title for a second straight season, three other teams will battle for glory for the all important 'runner-up' position at the sixth and final round of the 2012 UIM F1 H2O World Championship, the Grand Prix of Sharjah.
The UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of UAE on the Corniche breakwater. © Philippe Stiernon
The 14th Grand Prix of Sharjah, which dates back to 2000 and is just outside Dubai in the United Arab Emirates will be run on Friday, the seventh of December seeing French pilot Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC China Team currently second to Carella with 57 points.
The 10 year racing veteran is coming off a fourth place finish last week at the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. A year ago Chiappe qualified and finished on the podium in Sharjah and will be chasing his first career victory and his 12th career top-three result in his 81st F1 start.
'It would mean a lot to me personally and the team to finish second in the championship this year,' said Philippe. 'It would prove that all the hard work and dedication I received from my crew paid off and that we came so close to pushing for a title all the way to the end of the season. This will give us a perfect spring board to start the new campaign on a positive note in 2013.'
Sitting right behind the driver from Rouen, France in the standings is the two-time World Champion Sami Selio of Finland who has earned 53 points this season returning from a mishap a season ago in China that kept him out of the final two Grand Prix's in 2011. His 'comeback' year has been stronger than expected with a victory in Kiev coupled with a pair of podiums in Doha and last weekend in Abu Dhabi.
'This place is something special to me here along the Khaled Lagoon,' said Sami. 'I won a world title here in 2007 and again in 2010 so I have good memories of this place.'
'True, I won't be winning a title this time around, however, I know our Mad Croc Team will view this a successful season if we can finish second in the championship this time around.'
The 37 year-old driver will be making his 113th career start chasing his 11th career victory and his third in Sharjah along with seven podiums in just 12 starts.
Another pilot who has had great success in Sharjah and who has had the second most starts of any driver in the line-up around this 2.235 kilometer (1.39 mile) race circuit is local driver Thani Al Qamzi of Team Abu Dhabi.
The 33 year-old has won twice before in 2006 and 2008 hoping to become the first three time winner at this Grand Prix.
'I want to end the season on a high note,' said Thani.
'I want to again reach the podium for my ill teammate Ahmed Al Hameli who has won this race the last two straight years and also for my team to leave 2012 with smiles on their faces after such a tough year.'
'I know it will take a little luck as well as a good performance on my part since I only have 40 points, but this place has some strange spirits attached to it's history that can make the unusual results seem almost normal.'
' It will definitely be fun and hopefully memorable at the same time.'
Drivers from 15 different nations are expected to race in the Grand Prix. The possibility of four World Champions in the starting line-up again looks strong, marking just the second time this has happened since the 2000 season.
All teams and their drivers will be looking to finish this season that began 10 months ago on a great note, on this, the longest and one of the most difficult circuits on the current world tour.
Official Qualifying and the battle for pole position will take place on Thursday, the 6th December at 15:50 local time, 11:50 GMT and 06:50 EST on the East Coast of North America.
The 14th Grand Prix of Sharjah will be at 16:00 local, 12:00 GMT and 07:00 EST on the East Coast of North America on Friday, the 7th December.
The final round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship for power boating can be viewed live both days on it's International Television feed by going to the tours official website.
The 'signature' struggle of the weekend will be these three talented drivers going all out for fame and glory for runner-up in the championship. It should be something special. Join us in the excitement.