*Sami Selio and Alex Carella’s title bids hit trouble
Thursday, 8 December, ABU DHABI (UAE): Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson delivered a fantastic final lap in today’s BRM Official Qualifying five-boat shootout to snatch pole Position for tomorrow’s UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi from Emirates Racing’s Erik Stark.
It was the Swede’s first pole position since Qatar in 2014 and puts him where he needs to be for tomorrow’s race to try and win from the front to keep his outside shot at the title alive. “I was a bit surprised because I made quite a few mistakes on the lap. I messed up several corners on my second run and was not in good shape running to the chequered flag.” said Andersson. “So I guess it was more down to the boat the engine and the prop choice. The title is a real long shot but tomorrow we have a very good chance. Despite not having done too many laps over the two days I already know what the set-up will be and we will give it everything.”
Third quickest in a dramatic session in front of the Abu Dhabi Corniche went to CTIC F1 Shenzhen China’s championship leader Philippe Chiappe, with title challengers Sami Selio and Alex Carella’s title bids both taking a severe blow.
The drama was almost immediate with Mad Croc BABA Racing’s Sami Selio forced out of the first 20 minute session with only four laps run when his engine failed and bringing out the yellow flag to have his boat towed into the pits, with teammate Filip Roms missing the cut in 13th place to compound a frustrating afternoon for the team.
There was further drama in Q2 when Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella, sitting with the fastest time of 45.92s and a mere 1-100ths quicker than Andersson, spectacularly crashed out bringing out another yellow with the clock counting out the session.
With just five to go in the shootout it was Victory’s Shaun Torrente who set the bench mark, posting his best time of the afternoon, 45.61, on his second flying lap. But his time was eclipsed by Erik Stark’s second run, posting a 45.08 lap to take the provisional pole.
Defending champion Philippe Chiappe was next out but the Frenchman could only manage 45.27 to go second quickest and was followed out by Ahmed Al Hameli, but he was unable to repeat his heroics from China, his best a 45.69 the slowest of the quartet.
With Carella and boat side-lined Andersson was the last out, missing the mark by almost five-tenths on his first run then turning it around by the same margin on his second to be the only driver to go sub 45 with a 44.60 pole winning lap.
The script is set for the penultimate race of the season; the outsider for the title Jonas Andersson will start the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi from pole position, championship leader Philippe Chiappe starts next to the man right behind him in the points chase, Shaun Torrente, with Selio and Carella starting from the outside off the dock beside each other.