Sunday, 2 July, EVIAN (FRANCE): Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella led from start-to-finish to take a brilliant victory in the UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of France on Lac Leman.
The three-time world champion made the perfect start off the dock from pole and was comfortably clear of Philippe Chiappe and Sami Selio when the yellow flag was raised on lap 11 after Australian Grant Trask barrel-rolled out of the race from fifth place.
At the restart Carella showed the same commitment and despite the added distraction of a loose canopy cover and being chased and put under pressure to the chequered flag by Selio, held him off to take his second consecutive win on Lac Leman and a 13th Grand Prix victory. “I was waiting for this victory for a long, long time,” he said. “To win again in France is a great feeling. It was an important win for the whole team and I thank them for the hard work and for giving me the perfect boat. I put my maximum into the race and it paid off. I can say I am back and feeing really good in the boat.”
The restart changed the shape of the race behind the leader with a clutch of drivers making up places; Selio immediately passed Chiappe who then suddenly slowed and for the third time in three starts in Evian the gremlins struck again and the defending world champion forced to retire, his race ending on lap 17, Selio’s second consecutive podium of the year moving him to the top of the driver’s world championship standings.
The drive of the afternoon belonged to American Shaun Torrente after crashing in qualifying earlier in the day and starting from 15th. The Victory Team driver’s hopes of salvaging any points looked very thin after a poor start and dropping further back but he recovered well to get up to ninth when the yellow flag came out.
A simply brilliant restart saw him [Torrente] jump six spots in one lap and go on to claim his first points of the season with teammate Ahmed Al Hameli passing Thani Al Qemzi to secure fourth place.
Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson and Erik Stark also traded places after the yellow with Andersson coming out on top to take fifth with Stark slipping back to finish in seventh behind Al Qemzi.
Emirates Racing’s Marit Stromoy lost ground at the start but recovered well and moved up from 11th to take her first points of the season in eighth ahead of F1 Atlantic’s Duarte Benavente who extended his points finishing streak.
Italy’s Francesco Cantando earned a well-deserved point after bringing his brand new Blaze hull home in tenth place on the day he ran it in anger for the first time and after starting in 19th.
After the opening two rounds in Europe the UIM F1H2O World Championship now heads to the Far East and to Harbin for the Grand Prix of China on 11-13 August.
For the full Grand Prix classification: http://f1h2o.com/results/2017/grand-prix-of-france/f1h2o