F1 - Selio & Carella in the top six for Portugal GP.

For the first time since the UIM F1 Championship introduced the ‘Top Six Shoot-Out’ back in 2002, a new qualifying format which mirrors the FIA F1 system, where the slowest drivers are eliminated after a twenty minute session, produced some surprises here in Portimao today.

For the first time since the Italian Grand Prix back in 2004, Francesco Cantando heads the timing sheets, but only after Jay Price was disqualified whilst in pole position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix when he crashed out of contention and stopped the third and final timed session.

In the first session both Team Mad Croc drivers did just enough to guarantee their progress into the following session, with Selio in eighth place just behind his new team-mate Alex Carella.

In the second session Selio showed he’s a true master of the rough when he set the fastest time in the increasingly choppy waters. “The boat felt great, so I pushed it for one lap” said Selio, “nobody could catch me in that session.”Carella also upped his game to finish in fifth place.

In the third session Selio decided to wait on the dock to see if the water would calm down before going out to set a time. Eventually Selio made his move as the water conditions didn’t look to be improving. Just after Selio set his fastest time Jay Price from the Qatar Team barrel-rolled his DAC hull at the bottom turn. With just ten minutes remaining in the session Selio tried to better his time but to no avail. “I was on a fast lap when I saw Jay crash out, so I had no choice but to back off” said Selio. “After the rescue teams had cleared the course, the water had become very confused” he continued “we only had ten minutes remaining and I was unable to improve my time. The positive side is that we have both boats in the top five, so it should be an interesting race tomorrow. Alex drove brilliantly today I’m pleased he’s made such a great start to his F1 career.”

17 drivers from 11 different nations will line up at 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT) for the 12th UIM F1 Powerboat Grand Prix of Portugal.

Final Qualifying top six positions for the GP of Portugal.

1. Francesco Cantando, ITA, + 42.26 sec

2. Ahmad Al Hameli, UAE, + 0,41

3. Duarte Benavente, POR, + 0,48

4. Sami Seliö, FIN, + 0,52

5. Alex Carella, ITA, + 0,96