In the second round of the Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O Grand Prix of France on Lac Leman today, Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella led from start to finish to claim a brilliant victory. The three-time world champion got a perfect start off the dock from the pole position and was comfortably clear of Philippe Chiappe and Sami Selio when the yellow flag was raised on lap 11 after Australian Grant Trask barrel-rolled out of the race from fifth place.
Italy's Alex Carella earned his 13th career F1 H2O victory in Evian, France, today. Photo by Vittorio Ubertone/F1 H2O
At the restart, Carella showed the same commitment and despite the added distraction of a loose canopy cover and being chased and put under pressureto the chequered flag by Selio, he held off the field to earn his second consecutive win on Lac Leman and a 13th Grand Prix victory.
“I was waiting for this victory for a long, long time,” Carella said in the F1 H2O press release. “To win again in France is a great feeling. It was an important win for the whole team and I thank them for the hard work and for giving me the perfect boat. I put my maximum effort into the race and it paid off. I can say I am back and feeing really good in the boat.”
The restart changed the shape of the race behind the leader with a clutch of drivers making up places. Two-time world champ Selio immediately passed Chiappe, who then suddenly slowed, and for the third time in three starts in Evian the gremlins struck again and the three-time defending world champion was forced to retire, his race ending on lap 17. Selio’s second consecutive podium of the year moved him to the top of the driver’s world championship standings.
According to reports, the drive of the afternoon belonged to American Shaun Torrente after crashing in qualifying earlier in the day and starting from 15th. The Victory Team driver’s hopes of salvaging any points looked very thin after a poor start and dropping further back but he recovered well to get up to ninth when the yellow flag came out.
A simply brilliant restart saw Torrente jump six spots in one lap and go on to claim his first points of the season with teammate Ahmed Al Hameli passing Thani Al Qemzi to secure fourth place.
Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson and Erik Stark also traded places after the yellow and Andersson came out on top to take fifth with Stark slipped back to finish in seventh behind Al Qemzi. Emirates Racing’s Marit Stromoy lost ground at the start but recovered well and moved up from 11th to take her first points of the season in eighth ahead of F1 Atlantic’s Duarte Benavente, who extended his points finishing streak.
Italy’s Francesco Cantando earned a well-deserved point after bringing his brand new Blaze hull home in 10th place on the day he ran it in anger for the first time and after starting in 19th.
Following two rounds in Europe, the F1 H2O World Championship heads to the Far East and to Harbin for the Grand Prix of China on August 11-13.