Sunday, 17 July, EVIAN (France): Veteran three-time World Champion Alex Carella of Team Abu Dhabi mixed talent with luck for 48 laps and ended up coming home with a well- earned 11.72 second victory at the second round of the 2016 UIM F1H2O World Championship at the 20th Grand Prix of France on Lac Leman in Evian, France.
The event, which was attended by representatives of leading international sporting federations, including the I.O.C., F.I.A. and F.A.I. along with the President of the U.I.M Dr. Raffaele Chiulli, saw the 20 drivers from 12 different nations honor the victims of the recent tragedy in Nice with black ribbons adorned on their boats as they lined up on the starting grid.
Carella took off from pole position with the American Victory Team driver Shaun Torrente driving his brand new French built Moore boat coming up alongside the Italian who had the inside lane through the commitment buoy and moved into an immediate lead.
French driver Philippe Chiappe, leading the championship after his win in Dubai back in March, was holding a solid third as he chased the battling pair but four seconds in arrears. The defending two-time world champion would once again have heartbreak on home waters for the second straight year. His Mercury engine stopped on the 21st lap earning no points on the weekend to the disappointment of the tens-of-thousand along the two kilometer circuit.
Meanwhile, pushing forward was Swedish driver Jonas Andersson of Team Sweden who made it all the way to third place before dropping out with engine maladies on the 19th lap.
The eyes of the crowds were all finally focused at the front of the field as both Torrente and Carella were trading fastest laps in their epic duel for the lead.
The Florida driver finally powered past his ex-teammate on the 10th lap building up a five second lead, until, he made the mistake of the race, sliding into and hitting the outside pin in turn number three and bringing out a yellow flag, forcing the Victory Team driver to do a drive through penalty dropping him down to fifth place.
Meanwhile, Carella was cruising alone in first place. Behind him a series of titanic battles ensued with Torrente storming up and reaching Swedish star Erik Stark of the Emirates Team as they fought for fourth place for many laps.
Torrente finally passed the ex-F2 World Champion as Stark would eventually retire in 11th place on the 39th lap.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Filip Roms of BABA Racing had charged from 10th at the start to third place. He was then gifted second when Chiappe dropped out moving him up to second place for the first time in his career.
This is when the most heated of duels started.
A drama filled final ten laps began as Torrente, now in third place, hounded the young driver, who, in only his 23rd start was forced to cover his position for lap after lap. The two, now setting new lap records with Torrente's 49.89 being the only sub 50 second tour in the 48 lap event.
At the end, Alex Carella cruised home winning his 12th career Grand Prix and moving into first place in the points standings with 35. Roms came home in second just eight tenths of a second ahead of Torrente in his slightly damaged Moore hull earning 12 more points and moving into second in the championship fight with 24 points.
Local drivers Cedric Deguisne of Maverick Racing had a well-earned fourth position a lap behind the leader, with fellow Frenchman Christophe Larigot of F1 Atlantic Team.
Marit Stromoy came home sixth after starting seventh for the EMIC Team, with Portugal's Duarte Benavente sliding into seventh place after qualifying eighth in his F1 Atlantic Team Moore built boat.
Ahmed Al Hameli of the Emirates Team finished in eighth ahead of Nadir Bin Hendi of the Victory Team who ran well charging from 15th place.
German driver Mike Szymura driving the new Dragon boat designed and built by multi-time world champion Jonathan Jones picked up his first championship point’s in tenth.
The next round of the UIM F1H2O World Championship will take place in Portimao, Portugal in two weeks’ time on 30-31 July on the Arade River for the 15th Grand Prix of Portugal.