Sharjah: Team Abu Dhabi's Ahmad Al Hameli took the day's honours, but it was Finland's Sami Selio helping himself to a second world championship crown after finishing second at the Sharjah Grand Prix — the eighth and final round on the 2010 UIM F1 World Powerboat Championship — that was the highlight of the day on Friday.
Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, was the chief guest and presented trophies to the winners accompanied by Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qasimi, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), UIM President Raffaelo Chiulli and Mohammad Ali Al No'man, Director General, SCTDA. The event was part of the Sharjah Water Festival which began on December 2.
"I made the right start and that eventually proved to be crucial in this race," Al Hameli said following his third win this season.
One point shy
The Team Abu Dhabi driver, who had opened the 2010 season with a win in Portugal, ended in sixth in the overall world standings with 58 points, just one shy of Francesco Cantando.
"I am happy with what I have achieved. I started the season with a win and now this has been a fantastic end to the year," Al Hameli said.
Watched by a huge holiday crowd lining the Buhairah Corniche, Al Hameli got off to a fantastic start with the two Mad Croc Team boats of Sami Selio and Alex Carella in hot pursuit. Qatar Team's Jay Price too did well after pushing ahead from fifth position on the grid, but could not afford enough space and belong to the front pack of drivers.
Al Hameli continued right in front with Price climbing into fourth even as Carella and Selio stayed the course in second and third respectively. And then with four laps to go, Selio nudged ahead of his teammate Carella to pick up the 15 points on offer to take his tally to 94 points and snatch the world crown from Price who ended runner-up with 92 points.
"This has been a fantastic season for me. In the end I was struggling a bit with the balance of the boat as Jay [Price] was pushing me hard from behind. In the end, we got what we wanted and everything went according to plan," a relieved Selio said after accepting his trophy.
"It has been an unbelievable day and an unbelievable race today where racing was hard as he [Price] kept on pushing me till the end.
"At times I was flying too much and I am relieved to be home with a win," said Selio after adding his second world championship crown to the first one he had claimed in 2007.
His teammate Carella ran a perfect race trying to catch up with Al Hameli in the front and then allowing Selio to slip into second with just four laps remaining of the total 35.
Sharjah Grand Prix results: 1. Ahmad Al Hameli (Team Abu Dhabi); 2. Sami Selio (Mad Croc Team); 3. Alex Carella (Mad Croc Team); 4. Jay Price (Qatar Team); 5. Jonas Andersson (Team Azerbaijan); 6. Thani Atiq Al Qamzi (Team Abu Dhabi); 7. Fabian Kalsow (F1 Atlantic Team); 8. Marit Stromoy (Team Azerbaijan); 9. Pierre Lundin (CTIC China Team); 10. Philippe Tourre (F1 Atlantic Team).
Overall standings at the end of the 2010 UIM F1 World Powerboat Championship: 1. Sami Selio (Mad Croc Team, 94 pts); 2. Jay Price (Qatar Team, 92 pts); 3. Alex Carella (Mad Croc Team, 71 pts); 4. Thani Atiq Al Qamzi (Team Abu Dhabi, 66 pts); 5. Francesco Cantando (Singha F1 Racing Team, 59 pts); 6. Ahmad Al Hameli (Team Abu Dhabi, 58 pts).