In the first race of the 2014 Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O World Championship season in Doha, Qatar, the Qatar Team’s Alex Carella left off where he finished in 2013—with a victory.
Looking for his fourth straight F1 H2O title, Italian driver Alex Carella brought home another win for the Qatar Team. Photo courtesy QMSF
The Italian driver who has won the last three F1 H2O titles had a little luck on his side Saturday as Carella’s teammate, American driver Shaun Torrente, led for three-quarters of the race but was forced to retire after 31 laps.
After jumping out to an early lead from second on the pole—Sami Selio was first and Carella was third—Torrente slowly extended his lead until he was forced to remove his DAC’s canopy after a wire to the power steering caught fire. His abrupt demise allowed his teammate, who was running second, to bring home the checker flag.
Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe finished second, Portugal’s Duarte Benavente was third, Italian veteran Francesco Cantando took fourth and Finland’s Filip Roms completed the top five.
“Obviously it would have been fantastic to get the one-two here and we showed that this could so easily have happened,” said Khalid bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation. “I feel for Shaun. His luck must change soon. We wanted to get maximum points with both drivers. But it was not to be.”
A triumphant Carella felt sorry for his teammate, but understood the feeling as he had engine troubles with two laps to go in the same race last season.
“It was not so easy to catch Shaun,” Carella said. “He had a very good pace. I did not know that I was ahead until the next lap because we were both in traffic passing other boats. This is a great result for me. It’s a perfect way to start the year with a win in Qatar.”
Torrente was obviously disappointed: “We put a ridiculous amount of effort into this weekend and then we had a fire from the power steering wiring, there was smoke and I had to take the canopy off.”
Carella, who began his world title defense in style winning by more than 30 seconds, is hoping to tie legend and Hall-of-Fame driver Guido Cappellini’s four straight world titles from 1993 to 1996.
Next stop for the F1 H2O tour is Ukraine in mid-July.