|Price Sets Target Of Outright Race Victory For Qatar Team In Home Grand Prix|
|Friday, 26 November 2010 11:19|
DOHA (Qatar): This weekend’s 8th Grand Prix of Qatar could be one of the most exciting in UIM F1 World Championship history. A mere 15 points separate five drivers in the race for the prestigious 2010 title and the high-speed racing action on the demanding Doha Bay course could reach fever pitch on Saturday afternoon.
The Qatar Team’s Jay Price trails Italy’s Francesco Cantando by 11 points heading into Friday morning’s first official practice session and the all-important qualifying stint on Friday afternoon.
Italy’s Alex Carella of Team Mad Croc is a further two points behind the 2008 World Champion and Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi and Finland’s Sami Selio are tied for fourth place, four points behind Price and 15 behind Cantando.
An accident and mechanical issues cost Price the chance to start the Grand Prix of Qatar at the head of the points’ tables. The DAC driver finished fourth in Portugal, third in Russia, fifth in Linyi and sealed a superb victory in Liuzhou. But the return to a single race per meeting format means that DNFs prove very costly indeed this year and a non-finish in Shenzhen was a crucial blow to the Qatar Team.
Price has also recorded a pair of second places and a third in qualifying this season and lies fourth in the UIM F1 Pole Position Championship prior to Friday’s time trials. He holds a similar position in the 2010 Fast Lap Slam Trophy for the driver who sets the fastest lap at each race meeting.
“We are back in Qatar, raring to go and looking forward to the race immensely,” said Price, who failed to finish both Doha races last season and lists second position in 2008 as his best result on home waters – the year he won the world title for the Qatar Team. “This is a long, challenging course and we will have the pressure of racing at home, but the win is there for the taking.”
Andy Elliott has offered support to Price’s challenge this season and holds 12th position in the points’ standings. The Qatar Team’s second driver does not have the benefit of the development that has gone into the DAC and BaBa boats, but has achieved some useful results in his Dragon boat nonetheless. He collected top 10 points in both Portugal and Russia, but was unable to add to his seven-point tally at three Chinese races in October.
“Obviously there is a little pressure to do well here, because this is Qatar and I am part of the Qatar Team,” said Elliott. “I will do my best. I come here on the back of my worst combination of three races ever. We broke two engines in Linyi and my team took two engines back to the UK and we have just found out that the job carried out in England was not good. We have another new engine that we can use as a stand-by.
“I finished 12th in Shenzhen in the last race and just out of the points. The competition is very good now and there seems to more reliability across the entire entry. I must admit that I prefer the shorter courses with more turn buoys, but we have done our homework and got a good set-up, so we’ll see on the longer course here in Doha.”
Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan currently occupies equal fifth position in the standings of the new UIM F-4S Championship, but the Qatar Team’s young rookie is relishing the prospect of challenging for victory on home waters. Sweden’s Oskar Samuelsson leads the championship after three races.
The 8th Grand Prix of Qatar is being organised by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani. Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari manages the formula racing on behalf of the QMSF.
Tomorrow (Friday) the F1 boats hit the water for the first time from 09.15hrs for a one-hour free practice session. Al-Shamlan and his F-4S rivals follow on to the course for their practice stint at 10.30hrs and the smaller boats take part in their own time trials from 11.30hrs.
The first of the weekend’s two 20-minute F-4S races gets underway at 14.00hrs and this will be followed by the exciting new one-hour Formula One car-style F1 qualifying format from 15.00hrs.
Timetable of events – Friday, November 26th
2010 UIM F1 World Drivers’ Championship – standings after round 5
2010 UIM F1 Pole Position Championship – standings after round 5
2010 UIM F-4S Championship – standings after race 3
For further information:
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).