SHARJAH, U.A.E. - December 19, 2014 - Veteran pilot Philippe Chiappe became the first ever French F1 World Champion in the 31 year history of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour by besting three-time titlist Alex Carella by 6.55 seconds at the 15th Grand Prix of Sharjah in front of tens of thousands of race fans on the Khaled Lagoon.
The CTIC China Team driver, did something eight other French pilots could not due, win the title and giving the Peoples Republic of China their first Championship in the sport.
The 12-year veteran driver from Rouen who was competing in his 92nd Grand Prix event, managed to survive two restarts and 37 laps around the five-pin 2.2 kilometer (1.4 mile) race circuit at the fifth and final race of the 2014 season winning by 6.55 seconds.
"It was a beautiful experience for not only me but the whole team that has worked so hard for many years to make this championship possible," said Philippe.
"We have worked so hard, it finally paid off, all the team members including our great boat builder David Moore and engine builder Alex Hledin meshed everything together for this late year run with two back to back wins to capture this title. It's a dream and I can't find all the words to express how I feel at the moment."
For the Qatar Team it was again both drivers on the podium, but this time around the win escaped them, as the Italian Carella had his championship streak stopped at three years straight seasons.
Meanwhile, his American teammate Shaun Torrente was forced to settle for his third place finish 13.41 seconds back of Chiappe, along with his third straight podium, good enough for third overall in the championship.
"It was disappointing for us not to win this title since we had such a nice lead after the first two events with back to back wins," said Alex. "Well, congratulations to Philippe and we will just have to work harder to get the title back next season."
For the Florida driver, he was also disappointed but resilient in his determination to get it right next season.
"We didn't have an answer for Philippe today but you better believe when I get home early next week, we are going to work to get that championship back," said Shaun. "It's one day at a time baby, one day at a time."
Just missing the podium was a two time winner of the event Sami Selio as the driver from Finland fought hard to take fourth place in his BABA Mad Croc Baba Racing boat two seconds behind Torrente and fourth overall for the year with 33 points.
Fifth on the day went to the 2000 winner Francesco Cantando of Italy as the Motorglass F1 Team driver charged from ninth on the grid to earn seven points and finishing fifth overall with 28 points.
Rookie driver Jesper Forss of Sweden had a career day by starting 16th and last ending up sixth on the afternoon as the young driver is fast becoming a "driver of the future" with his performance on the day.
Veteran Duarte Benavente of the F1 GC Atlantic Team was tied for seventh finishing only his second race of the year and collecting 16 points ending up in seventh place in the drivers championship.
Chinese driver Ziwei "Leo" Xiong came home eighth for the championship winning CTIC China Team two laps down but earning points in his third race and finishing 14th in the drivers standings.
Bartek Marszalek of Poland was the final driver running at races end taking a ninth place and picking up a pair of points for the Motorglass F1 Team while keeping his streak alive of six straight races that he has finished in the top ten tied for seventh with 16 points in the drivers points race.
Two yellow flags during the 37 lap event forced two re-starts one which had Kuwaiti driver Youssef Al-Rubayan crashing out on the far eastern side of the circuit near turn two on the 16th lap.
The 2014 season has come to an end and now all eyes are focused on the start of the 32nd season beginning in the early spring of 2015.
The series has a new champion and the first ever from the country of France with Philippe Chiappe finishing with 70 points with two wins and four podiums in five races for the season just ahead of the pair of Qatar Team drivers Alex Carella with 62 points on a pair of victories and Shaun Torrente's 56 points after a win in November in Doha along with three podiums on the year.
You can follow all the updates of the upcoming season by going to the UIM F1 H2O World Championship's official website at www.f1h2o.com as it gets ready for 2015.
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