In the final race of the season, Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella cruised to victory on Friday to take home the Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O Grand Prix of Sharjah and become the world champion for the fourth time in eight years.
Alex Carella earned his fourth F1 H2O world championship following a flawless race in Sharjah. Photo courtesy F1 H2O
According to an F1 H2O release, it was an emphatic performance by the Italian from Piacenza who showed no signs of nerves throughout the race weekend and drove a faultless race to complete a lights-to-flag victory to take his Grand Prix win tally to 15.
“Fantastic—it sounds great to be a four-time world champion,” Carella said. “I fought really hard this weekend and the work we did yesterday getting pole position really paid off today. It made it easier starting at the front and not having to fight with Philippe (Chiappe) or anyone else.
“I managed it from the start and when I was told Philippe was in eighth I decided not to push too much,” he continued. “I felt in complete control but there were some nerves in the final laps and I was crossing everything that we had no problems late in the race “Friday’s victory rounded off a sensational year for Carella and Team Abu Dhabi, which regained the Team World Championship with Carella adding the BRM Pole Position Championship and the Fast-Lap Trophy to his title collection.
Second place went to Sweden’s Jonas Andersson, who claimed his first podium of the season, with Thani Al Qemzi completing a great day for Abu Dhabi in third.
Nineteen boats lined up on the pontoon for the 45-lap showdown. American hopeful Shaun Torrente of Victory Team used a spare Moore boat after Friday morning’s practice crash and Erik Edin fitted a near-standard engine after suffering a failure in the morning. Grant Trask and Duarte Benavente also changed engines and started at the rear of the field.
Carella made no mistake from the pole and launched off the dock to hold the advantage through the first turns, with Ahmed Al Hameli immediately up to second ahead of Erik Stark and his Team Sweden teammate Andersson, who had made up two places, and Bartek Marszalek.
That was as close as any of his rivals got, as he expanded a comfortable lead and went on to take the checkered flag by 16 seconds. Al Hameli held point for 34 laps before he started to slow, retiring three laps later, with Andersson moving up into second place having already passed Stark on lap 29 when he pulled of the circuit with a broken propeller, but there some consolation for Stark who finished third overall in the world championship standings.
Thani Al Qemzi made it a double celebration for Team Abu Dhabi moving up from 11th place into a podium position in third ahead of Chiappe, who took the runners-up slot in the world championship and Marszalek, with Peter Morin getting his best result of his debut year in sixth.
After a frustrating season and race weekend and despite starting down in 18th, Trask produced a great performance coming home in seventh ahead of Marit Stromoy, with the youngest of the Team Abu Dhabi trio ending his first season with his best result and two deserved championship points. Benavente rounded out the top 10 with Edin going the full distance in his first F1 H2O race and finishing 11th.
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