F1 - Sami Selio to Start on Pole in Doha!

DOHA, Qatar – March 4, 2011 – Defending World Champion Sami Selio saved his best effort for the final minutes of the one hour qualifying session and ran a 47:05 second lap for 160.68 kph run and will lead the field of drivers from 10 different nations for tomorrow's opening Grand Prix of the U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship and the Ninth Grand Prix of Qatar on challenging Doha Bay.

Selio, who's never won in eight previous starts in Doha, is chasing his 10th career victory tomorrow for the Mad Croc Team with his new teammate from Italy Davide Padovan taking a well earned sixth with a 48.67 lap in his first start with the team.

“It was great to find the lap we needed late in the day,” said Selio. “We worked our way around the a very difficult four pin course today with the strong winds blowing off from the city from the north causing rough conditions in one spot and calm in the next in just a matter of moments. You had to really concentrate and we were thrilled with the result.” It was Sami's 2nd pole position after doing the same in 2009.

Team Abu Dhabi driver Ahmed Al Hameli coming off his 32nd birthday took second for the second straight year and was just .17 of second behind Selio after being at the top of the leader board for most of the day. The Abu Dhabi native, who last season was awarded for qualifying the fastest throughout the season was disappointed he wasn't number one when the hour long session ended, “We felt great with our setup all day and we thought this was going to be our first ever pole here but it wasn't to be. Tomorrow we will try to take it step farther.” Ahmed's teammate Thani Al Qamzi a winner of the 2007 race will start ninth.

Last years winner Jay Price of the Qatar Team running the newer of the DAC stable of boats was third quickest after taking pole in 2010 with a 47:36 or .31 of second slower than Selio. He new teammate Alex Carella was once again for the second straight year was fourth running a 47:54 second lap.

“We did what we could today,” said Jay. “Depending on the conditions, we are going to chase hard for the win and hopefully have two straight victories on home waters when the sun sets tomorrow.”

Fifth was French driver Philippe Chiappe who continues to drive well in the Moore designed boat running a 47:60 and taking his first ever top five performance in qualifying in Doha for the CTIC China effort. His teammate Pierre Lundin of Sweden was seventh with a 48:67 lap.

Jonas Andersson of Sweden drove to eighth quick until he crashed out spectacularly down in turn four just at the start of the final 10 minute Q3 session. He along with his rookie teammate Shaun Torrente who looked strong and was leading qualifying in the Q2 session until a piston stuck which ended his day with both Team Sweden boats being forced toward the tail end of the grid for tomorrow's race.

Norway's Marit Stromoy will start in the tenth position with her new team in her new BABA boat leased to her by Fabian Kalsow who will not run a full season in 2011 in the Team Nautica hull after doing a 51:93 second lap.

Drivers from around the world will take to the waters of Doha Bay along the corniche of the lovely ultra modern setting of downtown Doha in Qatar for the opening round of the 2011 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship series and the Ninth Grand Prix of Qatar beginning at 15:30 local time and 12:30 GMT. The race can be followed worldwide on the official website www.f1h2o.com beginning at 12:25 GMT.

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