Defending World Champ Chiappe back in F1H20 contention

Frenchman Philippe Chiappe put his defence of his UIM F1H20 championship back on track with a stunning victory in Porto, reports Richard Carr.

100,000 race fans

Chiappe showed all the skill that led him to his title last year to record his first win of the season at the 14th Grand Prix of Portugal in front a staggering 100,000 race fans along the Douro River.

The Frenchman chased down Fin Sami Selio who started the race on pole before powering away to a vital victory. Selio had performed superbly to land pole and for ten laps held off Chiappe’s challenge, but he could do nothing to prevent him coming past around turns five and six.

“We had a great race,” said Philippe. “It’s such a great feeling after losing a possible victory in France a month ago, we were determined to get it right this time around and boy am I happy as we are right back at the top of the championship heading to China.”

Flying boats!

Having held off Chiappe, Selio’s race ended in failure from a throttle cable sticking. The fault caught third place driver Alex Carella by surprise who hit Selio sending the two-time world champion airborne and out of the race.

It was so frustrating,” said the driver from Helsinki. “We had the speed and package to win but little things can play a factor and it took our dreams away with it. We’ll be ready to charge in China in two months, it’s not over by any means for us.”

Lead cut

Drivers World Championship points leader American Shaun Torrente finished fifth which resulted in his lead at the top being cut to just one point. Chiappe’s victory propelled him to second with 35 points, ahead of Youssef Al Rubayan and Eric Stark who both have 27 points.

Debutant Nadir Bin Hendi suffered a disappointing weekend, retiring after just 15 laps having qualified in 18th position.

About Richard Carr

Richard Carr, of Poole, is one of the UK’s most experienced and successful powerboat racers, who has competed in the sport globally.

He has won numerous domestic and international honours: he became British Class 1 Champion in 1991; he was the winner of the coveted Needles Trophy and he also came second in the Cowes Torquay Cowes race in 1992. It was the year the race was controversially competed in the fog and it has been argued for many years that he actually won the race.

He is known in the sport for his aggressive racing character in rough seas and recently raced in the USA for Geico in 2011.