Two-time F1 H2O world champion Sami Selio, aka the “Flying Finn,” led from start to finish despite two yellow flag incidents to win the inaugural Grand Prix of Brazil on Brasilia’s Lake Paranoá on Sunday afternoon. The Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team driver earned his the 11th F1 H2O victory by holding off hard-charging American driver Shaun Torrente and his Qatar Team teammate Alex Carella of Italy, who finished second and third, respectively.
The driver from Helsinki, Finland, who earned pole position in Saturday’s qualifying, jumped out early and knifed his way around slower traffic all day to stay ahead of Torrente, who resides in Florida.
Torrente pressed Selio hard throughout but back markers cost him time at vital instances as he finished a second behind. Carella was followed by Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi in fourth and Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe in fifth.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al Hameli drove with bravery finishing in seventh place while far from 100 percent as he continues to gain more strength following cancer surgery less than a year ago.
“It was a perfect weekend for us,” Selio said. “We were in rarefied air leading in every practice and qualifying session and finishing with the race win. It’s important to start the year off in the right way. In my two championship seasons in 2007 and 2010, I had to battle back after slow starts so this makes today’s result so much sweeter.”
Torrente said finishing the race in the opener was a great way to come back into the series.
“The whole Qatar Team has had faith in my abilities for over the past year and I’m finally able to start to pay back their trust with today’s performance,” Torrente said. “Hopefully this is only the start of better things to come this season for me, the team and my teammate Alex.”
The next round of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship takes teams to Kiev, Ukraine, on July 26-28.