Sunday, 31 July, PORTIMAO (Portugal): Finland’s Sami Selio silenced his critics with a brilliant return to form on the Arade River in Portimao to take pole position for this afternoon’s UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of Portugal in a fiercely competitive final session with a mere nine-tenths separating the top eight.
After a season to forget so far it all came together for the BABA Racing driver whose time of 43.11 was enough to give Selio his 24th career pole by just eight-tenths of a second and his first since Porto in 2015. “At last finally we get a good outcome. It has been a really difficult period but it’s great to have pole and now we have to see how the race will go,” said Selio. “It felt good but we were running a spare, spare engine and although we were limited with what we could do I was happy with the set up. We tried some different props which worked well and I don’t think I could have pushed much harder. I was quite on the limit but kept in mind that we also have to race in a couple of hours.”
Emirates Racing’s Erik Stark left it till the closing minutes of the thirty minute Q2 to jump championship leader Alex Carella to secure P2, with defending world champion Philippe Chiappe in fourth. “I am pretty happy with that. We were struggling a bit to find the right propeller and in the end went for the same one that took me to the pole in Sharjah,” he said. “Race set up is a bit of a guess but I think I know what I am going with. I know what the best set up is that we have for this course. We tested that yesterday.”
There were no real surprises from Q1 other than the sight of title contender Shaun Torrente being towed in at the end after posting the eighth best time and then his crew frantically setting about trying to fix the issue.
With just three minutes on the clock left in Q2 Torrente finally got back out on the water and dug himself out of a huge hole with literally his only flying lap to move up from P12 to P5. “I have never been so happy to go fifth quickest,” said the Victory driver. “That was down to the team who did a great job to get the boat back out. I just put in one good lap.”