SHENZHEN, October 18, 2009 - Nine time World Champion Guido Cappellini yesterday scored his second straight victory in Shenzhen, his second of the season and his 59th of his career holding off a hard charging fellow Italian Francesco Cantando to steer his Zepter Team DAC boat to a close 1.28 second victory at the 11th Grand Prix of China in front of tens of thousands of race fans on the edge of the South China Sea.
The start of the second half of the 2009 campaign and the ninth race of the season saw the native of Como out drag race and then collide with pole sitting Sami Selio who unsuccessfully did his best to keep Cappellini from passing him on the opening lap.
“It was a great start and I had to fight my way to front but it was worth it,” said Cappellini. “I missed last years race so winning here in 2007 and again today I am two for two on this very technical but challenging race course. We are now in third place in the championship with 69 points and want to move to the front as soon as possible, so we'll take tomorrow and one day at a time.”
Selio ran a steady race but couldn't keep the pace of Cappellini and points leader Jonas Andersson of Team Azerbaijan who held on to second for most of the event before giving way to a fast charging Cantando who started fifth and on the second re-start of the race charged by both Selio and Andersson to take second on the day and his second podium in his last three starts. A final re-start was not possible as the forty-five minute time limit ran out and the officials stopped the race after 52 laps giving Cantando no opportunity to push Cappellini for the win.
Jonas continues to lead in the championship gaining 12 more points and holds down 91 for the season and ten ahead of Team Abu Dhabi driver Thani Al Qamzi who came home a disappointed seventh after qualifying in the top three looking for another win in China. He was one place behind teammate Ahmed Al Hameli who came from 11th to finish sixth in his BABA boat gaining five points on the day for his efforts.
China CTIC Team driver Pierre Lundin of Sweden had another solid day with a fifth at days end after starting down in the 15th position making his three races in China a third, fourth and fifth so far in the last 11 days and moving up to eighth in the championship with 42 points.
Duarte Benavente of Portugal was ninth in his Dragon boat after starting 10th while Australian Craig Bailey took the final point coming up from 16th to gain points of the Qatar Team for the second straight time. His teammate, defending World Champion Jay Price continued his string of bad luck failing to finish for the third straight event dropping out with engine problems while in fourth place on the 41st lap.
Norway's Marit Stromoy had a good solid effort going after qualifying seventh and staying in the top-10 and points until she got caught up with one of the lead drivers wake and launched off a wave and barrel rolled to a stop on the 33rd lap, wet but physically fine.
The second Grand Prix of the weekend and the 10th race of the 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship will take place tomorrow afternoon at 1500 local and 0700 GMT to wrap up the Chinese portion of the season. Four drivers are within 18 points of the lead and tomorrow will prove to be another great challenge on Lake Shenzhen.