DOHA, Qatar -- Dave Villwock drove the U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus around the 2-mile course at Doha Bay at an average speed of 146.427 mph Thursday to claim the top qualifying position for the 2009 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship, the final stop on the newly renamed H1 Unlimited series.
The Auburn driver is chasing his 60th victory in unlimited hydroplane racing, which would put him two behind the late Bill Muncey, the all-time leader.
Standing in Villwock's way is Steve David in the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto. The defending national high points champion finished second on the qualification ladder with a speed of 145.096 mph.
Jeff Bernard in the U-5 Formulaboats.com could only manage the sixth qualification spot with a speed of 126.957.
The three leaders in the high points chase -- David, Villwock and Bernard -- will face off head-to-head in Heat 1B today.
Jean Theoret in the U-37 Peters & May Racing finished the qualification session in third place with an average speed of 137.654. J. Michael Kelly in the U-7 Graham Trucking followed in fourth, turning 135.320 mph.
Brian Perkins struggled with a lack of power in the U-48 Go Fast Turn Left, managing a best lap of 124.776, good for seventh position.
Heats 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B will be held early this morning. The final is set for 5 a.m. PST Saturday.