Tuesday, 22 May 2018 08:53 GMT
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Boat sports: Sharjah- Cappellini rides his luck for title



(MENAFN - The Peninsula)  Guido Cappellini of Zepter Team had to finish in the top seven to win a record breaking world title and he did just that. He finished third in the last race of the UIM F1 Drivers' Championship title in a dramatic 16th round of the series on Khalid Lagoon, Sharjah, yesterday to win the 10th drivers' championship title of his career. The Italian crossed the finish line in third place behind race winner Sami Selio and Thani Al Qamzi in a drama-packed 38-lap GP of Sharjah. The second-place finish was sufficient for Qamzi to seal the runners-up spot in the Driver's Championship with a tally of 143 points, 10 points behind the eventful winner. A large crowd watched Sami of Mad Croc F1 Team Woodstock team take the third place in the drivers' championship, finishing with 135 points, ahead of fourth placed Jay Price, who finished on 125 points. "It was a lucky day for me. I survived a close call. My boat nearly flipped over. But, somehow I managed to stay afloat. My target was to complete the race and finish in the top six places," said Cappellini. Earlier, a first-corner accident, which led to boat and engine damage, cost the Qatar Team and Price their chance of retaining the title. Before the fleet had reached the first turn, Abu Dhabi's Al Hameli Ahmed had flipped over, and Price, in an unrelated incident lost his main cowl and engine cover. The pace boat was not available so they followed race leader Selio with Price still on the circuit. The number one Qatar driver was called into the pits for a safety inspection, but allowed out again. The yellow flags appeared again when Gambi Marco of Singha F1 Racing Team stopped on the circuit. After the restart, it was Selio leading the way chased by Al Qamzi. Malcolm Goodman ended his sixth GP race with the Qatar Team in eighth position and collected three championship points to finish 17th overall. "I got a slow start off the dock and then saw Al Hameli blow over," said a disappointed Price. "Then I went wide and over. They brought me back to the dock to check everything and then the engine loaded up with water. It's obviously a big disappointment and the end of one big roller-coaster of a season for us. The plan was to beat Sami off the pontoon at the start. I knew that I had to go for the win." Head of Formula Racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), Khalid Bin Arhama Al Kuwari said: "It wasn't meant to be. We have shown that we are back but, even if Jay had won the race today, it would not have been enough to take the world title. We will just have to focus on 2010 and try and put it right next season." Going into the race on the eve of his birthday, Price began the race slotted in between Selio and Al Hameli and knew that he had to win the race and hope that Cappellini finished no higher than seventh. It was a tall order and a good start was crucial. It was cool and damp in Khalid Lagoon, as Thursday's accident damage kept Phillipe Chiappe and Fabio Comparato out of the race. Price made a slow start and allowed Selio to take the line into the first corner, but the yellow flag was raised immediately when Al Hameli spectacularly flipped out of the race and Price slid wide, rolled and damaged the air bag system and rear cowling on his DAC. The air bag had not activated and the defending World Champion managed to stay in second position, minus his rear engine cowling, when the race restarted in slightly windier conditions after five laps. A quick visit to the pontoon seconds before the green flag cost Price his position and he restarted down in sixth. He climbed back to fifth before Gambi's stoppage on the course forced a second yellow flag situation. But the lack of a rear cowling had caused terminal engine problems and forced Price out of the race before the second restart. Selio began to pull away and head into the distance, but Cappellini and Al-Qamzi became involved in a heated tussle for second position. The Italian led by just over one second after 12 laps, as Goodman climbed to seventh overall for the Qatar Team, the Briton benefiting from a new engine in his Dragon boat for the final race of the year. Al Qamzi eventually passed Cappellini into second position and Goodman passed Fabian Kalsow into sixth overall. The top three were processional through the middle section of the race, as Cappellini eased his pace to take the strain off his engine and Selio and Al Qamzi were untroubled in first and second positions. Goodman's potential top six finish ended on lap 35 but he was classified in eighth position at the finish. The top three held station through the final two laps, with Selio taking outright victory and third in the Drivers' Championship, Al Qamzi secured second position and a jubilant Cappellini finished third to secure the world title for a record 10th time. By Armstrong Vaz


Boat sports: Sharjah- Cappellini rides his luck for title

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