F2 Team Association / Chris Davies
There have only ever been a handful of films made about powerboat racing but if Sergio Leone had ever to direct another ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, it might have looked like what happened at the opening round of 2016 UIM F2 World Championship.
So lets start with the ‘Good’ and what a story that could make after the youngest ever driver to race in the UIM F2 World Championship wins a Grand Prix at his first attempt.
Eighteen year old Alberto Comparato had driven an exceptional race all weekend and had initially finished outside the top three.
My father had told me that all he wanted was for me to get the new DAC home in one piece, so you can imagine how he now feels after I was awarded the top spot. There were several very long yellow flag situations which are something I’m not familiar with, so when it went green I was often caught out by the more experience drivers, like Carella.
For the next round the team will have some new propellers to race with so you can expect Comparato to be even quicker at what he calls his ‘almost’ home GP.
It also proved to be a ‘Good’ day for two Swedish drivers, although for once it wasn’t Pierre Lundin, who was disqualified for taking out a second turn buoy.
Johan Osterberg, who had crashed his Molgaard hull in pre season testing, was awarded the runner up spot in today’s Finnish Grand Prix.
After I had severely damaged my boat I took it too Christian Molgaard to get it fixed and he returned it in fantastic shape. The crash though was still in my head, so I just took the race lap by lap until just before the end when I pushed it a little harder. Now I just need to work out how the modifications that Molgaard made will make it go faster.
Bimba Sjoholm, who has shown huge race winning potential, once again drove with great skill in the often tricky breezy conditions. She had finished the race in sixth place but after a long evening in ‘parc ferme’ she was eventually awarded with third place.
So how did all these drivers suddenly gain places higher up the order that they had finished in?
Well it all started during the Sunday morning drivers briefing when Lee Alan, the UIM Technical Commissioner, who is employed back in the UK by the Mercury distributor E.P. Barrus, announced that he would be completely stripping the stock race engines and weighing each component being run by those drivers that had finished in the top three places.
Whilst he found nothing wrong with the one used by Lundin, it was a different story when he was presented with the one being used by Alex Carella.
The Abu Dhabi team driver would be disqualified for a technical infringement, which meant the team had rewired an electrical component which would stop the engine going into ‘guardian’ mode.
Also out would go provisionally third placed Rupp Temper, after they had found that his Mercury engine had a powerhead component removed.
Another driver having a ‘Bad’ day in the office was the man who had started from pole position, Sweden’s Erik Edin.
I took the pole, I took the race lead and I took two buoys’, it was as simple as that.
As for the ‘Ugly’ well that’s down to dreadful driving standards shown by several drivers competing at the Finnish Grand Prix, it resulted in not only twelve turn buoys’ being completely destroyed but also six yellow cards being issued for dangerous driving offences.
Daniel Segenmark’s new Moore was totally wreaked in a start line incident, whilst several other drivers were forced out this weekend with damaged boats, even after being told that ahead of them lay one of the longest ever UIM F2 seasons.
One driver counting his blessing was the Latvian driver Uvis Slakteris after he developed steering issues whilst taking part in the parade lap.
Having seen what happened out there today I’m glad I wasn’t among that, someone upstairs was looking after me today.
With just fourteen days to go till they all hopefully arrive in Campione for the second round of the 2016 UIM F2 World Championship, a lot of teams will be burning the midnight oil in an attempt to fix their damage boats, but even after all the unfortunate events that happened today, race organiser Milla Sohlström was still very upbeat.
We have a lot of learning to do before next year’s race. I was so pleased to have Gordon Sutherland, the UIM Commissioner, alongside me today because I have never been that busy at a race before. My team and I would love to stage a round next year but of course we need to speak to our partners to make it happen. We certainly have a lot of learning to do before next year’s race.
The same could be said for several drivers and teams before Campione.
After Race Quotes
Its official! I got podium in today’s race after a long race with many yellow flags and restarts. I managed to get in as p6 but after a long evening in parc fermé some got DSQ for technical’s and we moved up to 3rd place and took bronze in GP of Finland! Thankful for an amazing crew and my sponsors for the support!
Crash – boom – BANG! Race over, we live to see another one! Thanks to my team for an amazing job. Finished the race with an accident with Owen Jelf in the final. Total chaos, very poor level on ruling – and a result which is for us not correct, but officials gets away with murder – and we pay the price of small errors.
Pal Virik Nilsen
A bad weekend ended quite good with some luck. Thanks to our great crew!
I cannot thank my team enough after the work and effort they have put in this weekend. What an awful weekend we had, broke a motor, seized a gear case, broke my best propeller and got taken out on the first turn, so now the boat needs a new sponson. Driving Standards were awful this weekend! On to the next challenge in 2 weeks. Let’s see what we can do before Switzerland.
Chris Davies ARPS, has been photographing and writing about powerboat racing since 1987.