|Qatar’s Price And Carella Qualify In Third And Fourth For Saturday’s Grand Prix|
|Friday, 04 March 2011 18:59|
DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Team’s Jay Price and Alex Carella will start Saturday’s 9th Grand Prix of Qatar from third and fourth positions after an action-packed set of timed trials in Doha Bay on Friday afternoon.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli, the winner of last year’s UIM F1 H20 Pole Championship, had been the pacesetter in the morning’s free practice and the first two qualifying sessions, but was deprived of pole position by the defending World Champion Sami Selio in a yellow-flag interrupted final qualifying session.
“I am very happy with the way everything has panned out today,” said Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). “Jay has third, Alex has fourth and we have a great starting position for the race. I am pleased for Alex that he settled quickly into the new team.
“We know that our two main rivals are going to be Sami and Ahmed, so we know the strategy for tomorrow. It will certainly be a big day.”
Khalid Saleh Al-Shamlan claimed a fine third position and 12 valuable championship points in the first of the weekend’s two F4-S races. Team Abu Dhabi’s Majed Al-Mansoori won the race and Sweden’s Bimba Sjoholm finished second.
“Khalid was leading and could have won the race had he not been given a lap penalty,” added Al-Kuwari. “He drove very well and that is so encouraging.”
The 9th Grand Prix of Qatar is being organised by the QMSF under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.
Phillipe Chiappe posted the first lap of the new season in the opening 20-minute session and laid down the gauntlet with a 51.61s tour. But the front-runners soon took to the water and Al-Hameli surged to the top of the leader board with a 49.00s lap, as Carella settled into fourth (51.95s) and Price held seventh (52.71s).
One of the 16 runners was to be eliminated in the opening session and that unfortunate fate befell Frenchman Phillipe Tourre, who had damaged his boat’s engine in the morning’s warm-up. Carella and Price coasted into the second session with the seventh and eighth fastest times. Rinaldo Osculati had not started the opening stint and was also sidelined before the second session.
American Shaun Torrente was forced out with engine issues before the start of the 15-minute Q2 stint where a further three drivers would be eliminated. Price was quickly into a better pace and slotted into third behind Al-Hameli and Selio with a lap of 49.53s. Carella held seventh at the halfway point with a lap of 50.47s.
Duarte Benavente, Stefano Paoletti and Francesco Cantando joined Tourre, Osculati and Torrente on the list of drivers eliminated from the final 10-boat shoot-out, with Cantando sidelined with engine problems before the start of Q2.
The wind gathered a little strength heading into the crucial final qualifying session. Norway’s Marit Stromoy and Al-Qamzi failed to start, as eight remaining boats took to the water.
Al-Hameli surged into an early lead shortly before Jonas Andersson barrel-rolled his boat and forced a yellow flag to be raised. Action resumed soon afterwards and Al-Hameli extended his advantage with a lap of 47.22s, only to be overtaken by Selio’s hot lap of 47.05s. Carella slotted into third with 49.11s but was passed by Price’s lap of 48.50s who improved with a 48.01s tour.
Chiappe managed to sneak passed Price with a lap of 47.95s, but Price again snatched third position with a best lap of 47.37s and held on to the finish to sewal third behind Selio and Al-Hameli. Carella continued to improve his lap times and confirmed fourth position.
F4-S race one
Al-Shamlan had only managed to set the fifth fastest time from the eight drivers in the morning’s free practice session, but he bounced back with a superb performance in the timed trials to claim pole position for the first race of the season.
The Qatari raced for 16 laps in the timed trials to pip Team Abu Dhabi’s Majed Al-Mansoori to pole by 0.34s. But the Abu Dhabi driver managed to nip passed during the first of the 20 minutes races, when Al-Shamlan was awarded a lap penalty, and the Qatar Team driver reached the chequered flag in third overall behind Sweden’s Bimba Sjoholm. Seven of the eight drivers scored points; only Norway’s Kristoffer Felde missed out after retiring on the ninth lap.
Price and Carella ran for 34 and 30 laps respectively in the morning’s one hour free practice session and set the third and seventh fastest times of the session that was won by Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli with a fastest lap of 46.41s. Phillipe Chiappe of the CTIC China Team, surprisingly, clocked the second fastest lap of 46.67s in the session where all 16 boats took to the water and newcomer Stefano Paoletti brought up the rear of the field.
Tomorrow (Saturday) F1 teams will be permitted a second one-hour free practice session on Doha Bay before the F4-S crews benefit from their second free practice and the timed trials for the second of the weekend’s F4-S races. The 9th Grand Prix of Qatar gets underway at 15.30hrs (Doha time) on Saturday afternoon.
9th Grand Prix of Qatar, Doha – timed trial results
2011 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – standings after round 1
2011 UIM F4-S Championship – standings after race 1
Timetable of events
Saturday, March 5
09.15 – 10.15 Free practice F1
10.30 – 10.50 Free practice F4-S
11.00 – 11.20 Timed trials F4-S
13.30 – 13.50 F4-S race 2 (20 mins)
15.30 – 16.15 F1 H20 Grand Prix of Qatar
For further information:
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).