SHARJAH // Thani al Qamzi narrowly missed out on a maiden UIM World Formula 1 Championship title after finishing second behind Sami Selio of Finland in the final race in Sharjah. The world title went to the Italian Guido Cappellini, who finished third in the race to amass enough points to take his record haul to 10 world titles, leaving al Qamzi 10 points behind in second and Selio in third.
It was al Qamzi's best finish in the championship, surpassing his third-place in 2006 and 2007. He said: "I tried hard but Sami and Guido were both spot on with their own plans. I am not too disappointed having done my best. It's just that I have to stay another year to fulfill my dream of winning the world title." Selio led from start to finish having started on pole ahead of al Qamzi, who moved upto second after a close battle with Cappellini early in the race. But that was as good as the Team Abu Dhabi driver could manage as the Finn went on to win comfortably.
Al Qamzi's teammate Ahmad al Hameli's boat flipped soon after the start and the defending champion Jay Price, the American racing under the Qatari banner, was forced out of the race after losing his main cowling and cover of the engine in an unrelated incident. Al Hameli, who finished seventh overall, said: "I tried hard to keep my line coming into the first corner and then suddenly flipped over. We had a strategy for the race. I was trying to push hard, but it was not meant to be."
Al Qamzi's second place and the world team title, which they won on the previous day, added some consolation for the two Emiratis. Cappellini rode a tactical race at the cost of speed. The 12 points on offer for third place took his world championship tally to 153 points, 10 more than al Qamzi. Selio's 20 points for the win edged out Price for third overall. "My goal was to win a 10th world title more than winning this race," said Cappellini. "I have been racing in the circuit for long enough to know what was required today and I just did that. It all worked out well for me because the nature of the sport is such that you never know what to expect until you cross the finishing line."