What was a week ago a five driver struggle for the championship has come down to two ex-World Champions that will be played out this upcoming Friday afternoon on the Khalid Lagoon for the eighth and final round of the 2010 UIM F1 H2O World Championship and the 12th Grand Prix of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
American Jay Price of the Qatar Team comes into the drama which is the final laps of the season leading by just four points (83-79) to his arch rival Sami Selio of Finland driving for the Mad Croc F1 Team. Both drivers have captured pole positions and won in Sharjah before. Selio has a slight edge over Price winning in both 2007 and the second race of 2009, while Jay has won once at the first event last season.
Qualifying will be extremely important on this 2.235 kilometer six turn course and again history shows that the native of Helsinki has a slight edge having taken three of the four last pole positions with Jay earning is last year in race one.
“The Qatar personnel are cool, calm and experienced but at the same time really excited and really prepared for this challenge,” Jay stated. “We lead this championship and they've got to catch us first in order for them to win it and we aren't going to let that happen.”
In the last two events run on the lagoon, Jay beat Sami to the pole and the win race one in 2009 while Sami beat Jay to pole the next day and won while Jay crashed out on the first commitment buoy trying to find the edge he needed to overtake for the lead in race two.
“We are on a roll and have the confidence it takes to win a title,” said Sami. “This crew knows what it takes to do it, they've been here before and are doing the work necessary to have another big celebration in Sharjah again believe me.”
Now it will all happen again. Two of the biggest rivals on water anywhere in the world. Sami Selio, the 2007 World Champion who had such a remarkable ending that season stealing the title away in two “must win” races over Italian Guido Cappellini. A driver who started in the small SJ 15 class before moving up the F4 while being learning from his father and his boat building business.
Jay Price, dominating a year later winning the 2008 title earning the right after wallowing for so many years in lesser classes while racing in Mexico, Cuba and other countries looking to make a name for himself in the meantime before getting his first start in F1 in 2002.
What makes this story so intriguing is the fact that the winner will earn 20 points, second 15 and third 12. So, if Sami wins and Jay finishes second, Sami takes the title. If neither driver wins and Sami finishes second and Jay third, Jay wins the title, both scenarios by just one point either way.
Finally, something to think about. Jay Price won his title driving boat number 11 back in 2008 and will he beat boat number 11 for the title this time around? Guess who's driving it this time? Yes, Sami Selio!
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