|Qatar’s Price And Carella Clinch Sensational One-Two Finish In Qatar|
|Saturday, 05 March 2011 16:48|
DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Team’s Jay Price and Alex Carella clinched a stunning first and second overall in a thrilling 9th Grand Prix of Qatar in Doha Bay on Saturday afternoon.
Price had pressured pole winner and defending World Champion Sami Selio from the start of the 35-lap race and was never more than a couple of seconds behind the Finn for 29 laps.
Carella was backing up his team-mate superbly in third position when Selio suddenly ground to a halt on the 30th tour and Price stormed through to take a stunning victory, move into a five-point lead in the 2011 UIM F H20 World Championship and retain his Grand Prix of Qatar crown.
“This is an awesome feeling, a fantastic result, the perfect result for everyone in the Qatar Team,” said an ecstatic Price. “It is the dream start to a long season for us.”
“This is just unbelievable,” said Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). “I was in the television studio at the race with the TV crew and I saw what happened to Sami and then Jay was through and into the lead. It was one of those moments that I will never forget. I had a huge smile on my face on the television.
“The first and second positions prove that we made the right choice with Alex joining Jay. We have a great team now and will only get stronger and stronger. I am sure that we will win back the World Championship we lost after 2008. There are nine races to go and it looks like being a fantastic season.”
Khalid Saleh Al-Shamlan finished race two of the UIM F4-S Championship in third position and holds a similar place in the points’ standings. Sweden’s Bimba Sjoholm claimed her first ever race win and now holds a six-point advantage over Team Abu Dhabi’s Majed Al-Mansoori in the championship.
The 9th Grand Prix of Qatar was organised by the QMSF under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.
Price and Carella lined up on the starting pontoon in second and third positions behind Selio, knowing that a good start was critical on the four-pin course in calm conditions. Al-Hameli was forced to start at the rear of the grid after warm-up problems with his engine.
Selio managed to hold off the Qatar Team duo through the first turns and extended his advantage over Price to 2.15s through lap three of 35, but Price reduced the gap to 1.4s after another lap. Carella was a solid third.
By quarter distance, Selio maintained a 1.52s lead over Price, with Carella, Phillipe Chiappe and American Shaun Torrente completing the top five. The leading quintet held position through 16 laps, but Price continued to gnaw away at Selio’s advantage and the gap was just 1.32s after 17 laps.
As the race reached the half-way point, Selio’s lead over Price was 2.05s and Carella continued to keep the pressure on his Qatar team mate. Selio extended his advantage to 2.65s after 22 of the 35 laps
Al-Hameli was forced out of the race on lap 21, as the top five held station and Price and Carella were unable to make in-roads into Selio’s overall lead.
But the race took a dramatic turn on the 30th lap when Selio suffered technical problems and handed the lead to Price, with Carella climbing to second position to complete the dream classification for Al-Kuwari’s Qatar Team.
The duo held station over the nervous remaining laps to complete a sensational 1-2 finish for the Qatar Team. Chiappe finished third, Torrente was fourth and Sweden’s Jonas Andersson, who had rolled out of the timed trials on Friday, finished the weekend with fifth position.
F4-S race 2
The number three was appropriate for Khalid Saleh Al-Shamlan for the second race of the UIM F4-S Championship on Saturday. The Qatar Team driver finished third in the race behind new series leader Bimba Sjoholm, from Sweden, and Finland’s Filip Roms and now holds third in the points’ standings behind Sjoholm and Team Abu Dhabi’s Majed Al-Mansoori.
Al-Shamlan finished the race well clear of his fourth-placed Abu Dhabi rival and 30.63s behind the flying Swede in her Molgaard, who now holds a six-point championship lead after two races. Seven of the eight registered drivers finished the race; Britain’s Matthew Palfreyman was sidelined after his crash on Friday.
Al-Shamlan had set the second fastest lap in the morning’s free practice session behind Sjoholm, after running for 17 laps on the Doha Bay course. The BaBa driver had also qualified for the race in second position behind the Swede in the timed trials and missed out on pole position by a mere one-hundredth of a second.
Price and Carella set the third and fifth quickest times in the morning’s free practice session on Doha Bay. They ran for 12 and 18 laps respectively, setting fastest laps of 47.14s and 47.45s, but were unable to match Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli. He again dominated the session with a fastest tour of 46.45s during 13 laps on the water. Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe was second (47.05s).
9th Grand Prix of Qatar, Doha – results
2011 UIM F1 H20 World Championship – standings after round 1
2011 UIM F4-S Championship – race 2 results
2011 UIM F4-S Championship – standings after race 2
For further information:
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).www.qmsf.org