As China’s Philippe Chiappe crossed the finish line, the heavens opened and rain descended on the triumphant Chinese supporters as the World title still remains within their grasp. Prior to the penultimate race of the season, it was a simple case of if Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella won this race the points leader would be crowned 2017 world champion. But he didn’t, Chiappe won the Abu Dhabi GP with Norway’s Marit Stromoy runner up, which still leaves Carella at the top of the standings but in peril of losing the title to Philippe Chiappe in the final Sharjah grand prix.
Abu Dhabi podium – left to right: Marit Stromoy, Philippe Chiappe, Eric Chan (CTIC Team Manager), Alex Carella
Before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix got into its stride a violent crash on the second bend witnessed Finland’s Sami Selio being wiped out by France’s Cedric Deguisne. This was the second crash of the weekend for Selio as he destroyed his number one boat in qualifying.
Victory team’s Shaun Torrente tried hard to catch the top three, but he was unable to close the gap on Carella. Sweden’s Erik Stark, who many had predicted a podium place, had to settle for fifth place ahead of Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson who was the last to complete the full 52 laps.
Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qamzi, who crashed in qualifying, managed to fill 7th place, albeit a lap down, as was Selio’s Mad Croc team mate Filip Roms. Chiappe’s French team mate Peter Morin finished ahead of Australian Grant Trask who rounded off the top ten.
Britain’s hopes of glory, Matt Palreyman, were dashed when the Dragon oufit Spirit of Wales suffered a niggling engine issue and the craft sat out the race on its trailer.
So the winner of the 2017 world title is between Carella (70) and Chiappe (59) . If Chiappe wins and Carella finishes 3rd he wins the gold medal by one point, but if Carella finishes 4th, the gold goes to Chiappe.
F1H2O DRIVERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1 – 6 Alex Carella 70pts
2 – 1 Philippe Chiappe 59pts
3 – 15 Erik Stark 49pts
4 – 11 Sami Selio 30pts
5 – 3 Ahmed Al Hameli 30pts
6 – 5 Thani Al Qemzi 29pts
7 – 4 Shaun Torrente 28pts
8 – 50 Marit Stromoy 18pts
9 – 14 Jonas Andersson 17pts
10 – 10 Duarte Benavente 14pts
11 – 23 Bartek Marszalek 14pts
12 – 12 Filip Roms 8pts
13 – 73 Cédric Deguisne 7pts
14 – 9 Grant Trask 5pts
15 – 2 Peter Morin 5pts
16 – 51 Mike Szymura 4pts
17 – 24 Francesco Cantando 2pts
18 – 7 Rashed Al Qemzi 0pts