2007 Champion Selio Hopes To Reverse This Trend In Lahti!
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – 5th of June, 2009 – It’s hard to believe that such a lovely country with a growing rich tradition of F1 power boat racing, Finland, can be such a burial ground for dreams of the local Finnish drivers who, tried as they might, have failed to win on their home waters. They will be looking to reverse the trend next weekend at the 5th Grand Prix of Finland in the city of Lahti.
The news only gets worst for the local race fans, hoping that their hero’s can put together a winning weekend on the scenic but challenging Lake Vesijarvi for back to back rounds of the 2009 U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating.
How have the three Finnish drivers done in the four previous events that date back to the countries first Grand Prix in 1998? Would you believe…. 0-4.
No, they haven’t won…
Or, finished on the podium…top-five, or even in the top-10. Yes and no championship points.
As a matter of fact, none of the three Finnish drivers in the history of the race have even “finished” a race!
The bad luck goes back to 1998 in Tampere when local star Pertti Leppala coming off two back to back runner-up season’s in the drivers championship qualified a strong third on the start dock. His day turned sour when he dropped out of the event which pushing for the lead at the halfway point of the race in his only appearance at his home Grand Prix before retiring in 2000.
The Grand Prix of Finland moved to Helsinki in 2002 and 2003 with Michael Weckstrom racing in the ’02 event qualifying a respectable 10th but crashing out of the meeting and being classified 20th at days end.
Finland’s 2007 World Champion Sami Selio has made the biggest impression on the sport in Finland with his presence on and off the water. But, in race conditions at home he’s struggled to find his “sweet spot” dropping out three straight times in 2002, 2003 and last year in 2008. The Helsinki driver had his best day of qualifying back in 2003 in fifth position while starting 11th in 2002 and 7th a year ago.
“We had some bad luck last year but we are determined to turn our luck around this season and I think we will be in the fight for both races next weekend,” said Selio. “We have spent the past month fine tuning our program and I think we will surprise some people on the lake and be back into the championship at the end of next Saturday when both races have been completed.”
Sami, has failed to finish in the first two races of the season at the Grand Prix of Portugal after qualifying third and sixth. He started slowly in 2008 but caught fire the last half of the season finishing on the podium in two of the last three races and picking up his fourth career victory in China at the Grand Prix in Shenzhen.
Despite the grim numbers for Finnish boat racers at their home Grand Prix the second straight race in lovely Lahti could be the turning point bringing back the luster that Finnish drivers have shown in the last decade in the sport. Let’s see if Sami Selio can bring the blue and white flag to the top step beginning with the first race of the weekend on Friday, the 12th at the Third Round of the U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating and the 5th Grand Prix of Finland on Lake Vesijarvi.
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