Team Abu Dhabi has French GP win taken away by UIM

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Alex Carella’s win was soured by his disqualification.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella was dramatically disqualified from the 19th Grand Prix of France late last night, hours after victory in round two of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship.

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The Italian had dominated the race from lap 17 to the chequered flag and looked to have a two-point lead in the race for the World Championship title. 

But the decision was taken to disqualify the three-time champion after UIM officials decided that the set-up of his boat contravened regulations. 

Finland’s Sami Selio also slipped down the rankings from second to fifth after being awarded a one-lap penalty for striking and damaging a turn buoy.

The controversial decision meant that Kuwait’s Youssef Al-Rubayan claimed his first ever Grand Prix win and Shaun Torrente of the Victory Team regained the championship lead and moved up from sixth to fourth overall after fuel filter issues had cost him second overall near the end of the race.

The team is managed by the Italian nine-time UIM F1 H20 World Champion Guido Cappellini and recruited the services of former Qatar Team engine builder Brendan Power shortly after the opening race in Doha in March. 

Earlier Carella had clinched a sensational triumph.

The three-time World Champion led from the halfway point and managed to stay well clear of the Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente until a yellow flag was raised on lap 25 after a collision between Erik Stark and Francesco Cantando. 

Racing did not resume and Carella reached the chequered flag under a yellow flag, with Torrente pulling off the course with two laps to run under the yellow flag with reported fuel issues. 

Sami Selio held on to claim second position and Kuwait’s Youssef Al-Rubayan of the F1 GC Atlantic Team sealed the final podium position before developments saw the race results changed.

Ironically, before his disqualfication Carella had spoken about the challenge of getting used to the boat’s handling.

He said: “It’s a completely new package, so we have to work a bit to find the maximum and to find the balance with the boat and the propeller.”

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Alex Carella insists there is more to come from Team Abu Dhabi

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World leader: Alex Carella’s win moved him clear at the top of the standings.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella clinched a sensational victory in yesterday’s 19th Grand Prix of France, round two of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship, on Lac Leman in Evian-les-Bains, France.

The three-time World Champion led from the halfway point and managed to stay well clear of the Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente until the yellow flag was raised on lap 25 after a collision between Erik Stark and Francesco Cantando. 

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Racing did not resume and Carella reached the chequered flag under a yellow flag, with Torrente pulling off the course with two laps to run under the yellow flag with reported fuel issues. 

The Italian now leads the series by two points.

Finland’s former World Champion Sami Selio held on to claim second position and Kuwait’s Youssef Al-Rubayan of the F1 GC Atlantic Team sealed the final podium position. 

Seventeen of the 19 entrants reached the start, with Team Abu Dhabi’s David Del Pin and Austrian Bernt Enzenhofer of the Motorglass F1 Team missing out on the race after their problems on Saturday. 

Defending world champion Philippe Chiappe claimed pole position and managed to hold off a fierce Carella challenge through the opening laps, as the duo began to pull away from the rest of the field.

He held a slender lead until mechanical problems intervened on lap 17 and handed Carella the advantage which he took full advantage of and held to the finish.

After 21 of 34 laps, Carella’s lead was 26.16sec over Torrente and that rose to 40 seconds after lap 25, wich saw the high-speed collision between Stark and Cantando that sidelined both drivers. 

The boats were removed from the course, but the race finished in disappointing circumstances under a yellow flag with Torrente withdrawing with two laps remaining and Carella staying out of trouble to seal a memorable win.

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