Veteran Philippe Chiappe became the first world champion in the 31-year history of the Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O World Championship tour by besting defending three-time champ Alex Carella of the Qatar Team by 6.55 seconds at the 15th Grand Prix of Sharjah in front of tens of thousands of race fans on the UAE’s Khaled Lagoon.
CTIC China Team driver Philippe Chiappe won his first F1 H2O world title after a hard-fought victory at the Grand Prix of Sharjah.
The CTIC China Team driver, did something eight other French pilots could not due—win the title and give the Peoples Republic of China its first championship in the sport. The 12-year veteran 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.
“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,” Chiappe said. “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 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 overall win escaped them as Italy’s Carella had his championship streak stopped at three straight seasons and his American teammate Shaun Torrente was forced to settle for third place for his third straight podium. Carella was second in the championship standings and Torrente was right behind him to wrap up his best F1 H2O season.
The Qatar Team’s consolation was the Team, Fast Lap Trophy and Pole Position Championship titles.
“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,” Carella said. “Well, congratulations to Philippe and we will just have to work harder to get the title back next season.”
Representing the Qatar Team, Florida’s Shaun Torrente finished third in the 2014 F1 H2O World Championship standings.
For Torrente, who hails from Florida, he also was 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,” Torrente said. “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, Finland’s Sami Selio who fought hard to take fourth place in the event and finish the season fourth overall.
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