American Scott Gillman set an impressive performance off Subset Beach, Saudi Arabia on March 26 winning the second round of the 2004 World Formula I championship.

American Scott Gillman set an impressive performance off Subset Beach, Saudi Arabia on March 26 winning the second round of the 2004 World Formula I championship.

Breathtakingly fast from the outset, Scott Gillman from the Emirates team led the pack building up a six second lead over his nearest rivals. Chasing hard was, eight times World Champion, Guido Cappellini leaving fellow Italian Cantando and Selio from Finland to struggled through his wash.

The excitement continued until a collision between Italians Moreschi Massimilliano and Perti Leppala stopped the race. International Formula 1 rules stipulate any incidents in the first three laps require the fleet to return to the starting grid. Hence, as his actions were thought to have been responsible for the accident, Leppala had to restart at the rear.

The restart saw Gillman surged ahead once again but little did his competitors know he lost part of his propeller on the 15th lap causing major vibrations and making the boat difficult to control. However the American managed to hang on to the lead, unaware of the battle taking place astern between defending champion, Guido Cappellini and current points leader Francesco Cantano.

With lighting speed and agility, Cantando waited his moment and finally overcame Cappellini’s somewhat frustrating yet skilful tactics to pass by into second place before going after the leader.

With the leading gap fast closing and with just two laps to go, spectators were brought to the edge of their seats as Cantando tried to clinch first place. Meanwhile, Finnish driver, Sami Selio had also moved passed Cappellini relegating the champion to fourth overall.

With the chequered flag getting closer, Gillman, now leading Cantando by a mere 1.01 seconds, crossed the line to achieve one of his closest Formula I victories – his fifteenth in eight consecutive years of racing. “Today was an excellent race, although from the 15th lap I was nervous that my propeller wouldn’t hold out. But it was incredibly satisfying to win,” he said.

Second placed Cantando was equally enthusiastic. “Today was tough, particularly at the beginning as I had a near miss with Cappellini which knocked my mirror out of position. Fortunately I was able to correct this when the race was stopped and then pushed as hard as I could chasing Gillman right to the end.”

For Sami Selio it marked the fourth podium place of his career. “It was a hard battle, I was caught between the wash of Cantando and Cappellini and could hardly see a way of getting through. As soon as Cantando made his break I drove aggressively and managed to overtake Cappellini which was very exciting,” said Selio.

Drivers and teams now take a six-week break before heading to Portimao, Portugal, for the third round on May 14-16. World Formula I Series Points positions after two rounds (leading six drivers): 1. F.Cantando (Ita) 35pts 2. G.Cappellini (Ita) 24pts 3. S.Sami (Fin) 21pts 4. S.Gillman (USA) 20pts 5. P.Dessertenne (Fra) 14pts 6. L.Pharaon (Sau) 13pts