Qatar’s defending Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) F1 H2O world champion Alex Carella led from the second lap to the checkered flag of Saturday’s Grand Prix of the Republic of Tatarstan on the Nizhny Kaban Lake in Kazan, Russia.
In a race interrupted by three yellow flag incidents, Carella stormed into contention and fended off a fierce challenge from Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli. Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe finished third in a race that ended under a third yellow flag and enabled Carella to move into a tie for second in the overall points championship with 27 points. (Al-Hameli leads all drivers with 35 points.)
Qatar’s pole-position winner Shaun Torrente held his line through the opening turns to hold the outright lead after the first lap, but the Miami-based driver was forced out of the race with a blown engine on the second lap.
"This was a good result for the Qatar team, although it would have been nice to take a one-two finish," said Khalid bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), which runs under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani. "Mechanical problems can happen to any boats anywhere and anytime. It's just a shame it happened here to Shaun. Now we can look ahead to the next race and hope to continue where we left off here and get as many points as we can to make sure that the Qatar Team regains the title."
Seventeen drivers from 11 countries took the start of the 40-lap race, with Torrente and Carella determined to maintain their qualifying advantage into the first turn buoy. Bright and blustery conditions prevailed and Torrente made a perfect start in clear water to finish the first lap 1.48 seconds in front of Carella, with Al-Hameli in third.
But Torrente was forced to pull off the course on the second lap with engine failure and duly handed the lead to Carella from Al-Hameli and Chiappe. Carella completed lap four just 2.44 seconds in front of Al-Hameli and extended his lead to 3.16 seconds through nine laps.