|Qatar’s Carella Claims Start-To-Finish Victory In Grand Prix Of Tatarstan|
|Tuesday, 19 July 2011 16:48|
KAZAN (Russia): The Qatar Team’s Alex Carella led Sunday’s Grand Prix of Tatarstan on the Nizhny Kaban Lake in Kazan from start to finish to record a stunning victory and close the gap on team mate Jay Price to just two points in the 2011 UIM F1 H20 World Championship.
Price moved up from 15th at the start of the 40-lap race to record a stunning third overall in an afternoon where two yellow flag incidents produced some thrilling racing and enabled the Qatar Team to continue their early season domination of the F1 H20 racing scene.
Qatar’s Khalid Saleh Al-Shamlan finished second in the weekend’s second F-4S race and moved 11 points ahead of Bimba Sjoholm at the top of the points standings for the 2011 Eurofin Trophy when the Swede was disqualified from the race for hitting a buoy. Britain’s Matthew Palfreyman won the 25-lap F-4S race by 23.96 seconds.
“This was just unbelievable,” said Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), which runs under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.
“Another fantastic result for our team. Jay was the star of the movie by being able to come back from 15th to finish third and fulfil one of his dreams of being able to overtake Scott Gillman in an F1 race. It was a superb win for Alex too. He drove so very well. Khalid (Al-Shamlan) now has a good lead in his championship, so these are very happy times for the QMSF at this stage of the season.”
Price’s fears about the engine in the final qualifying session were realised and the former World Championship was forced to start the 40-lap race from the back of the grid, with Carella leading the way from pole in warm, sunny conditions.
Carella held his lead through lap one and Price climbed from 15th to 11th and then headed up to 10th on lap two and ninth on lap three. The 2008 World Champion passed Marit Stromoy on lap five to take eighth position, but a yellow flag was raised on lap eight when Jonas Andersson crashed and Price climbed to seventh.
Action resumed on lap 11 and Carella maintained his lead at the restart. Price began to pressurise Pierre Lundin and managed to pass the Swede on lap 14 to take sixth position and close in on Phillipe Chiappe. Torrente was forced out on lap 18 and Price climbed to fifth behind Carella, Al-Qamzi, Gillman and Chiappe.
By lap 22, Carella’s lead over Al-Qamzi was 11.63s and Price began to close in strongly on Chiappe. The margin was just 0.74s with 15 laps to go, but the race was yellow flagged again when Torrente flipped his BaBa on lap 25 in strengthening wind conditions.
The green flag was raised on lap 30 and Carella and Price maintained first and fifth places, but Price managed to squeeze past Gillman and Chiappe on the next lap to take third overall. Carella held a five second lead with six laps to run and maintained his lead to the chequered flag to record a superb third successive victory for the Qatar Team in the opening three races of the year. Price could not catch Al-Qamzi and settled for a hard-earned third and maintained his championship lead.
Shaun Torrente had set the fastest lap in the morning’s free practice session, the American carding a lap of 44.71s to pip Qatar’s Price by 0.18s. Carella, like Price, ran for just 11 laps and recorded the third quickest lap of the 16 drivers who took to the water.
Khalid Saleh Al-Shamlan qualified in second position for the second of the weekend’s F-4S races. The Qatari notched up a quickest lap of 46.73s to slot in behind pole winner Matthew Palfreyman. Series leader Bimba Sjoholm was fourth heading into the 20-minute race. Qatar’s Nations Cup entrant Khaled Al-Kuwari had started the first race on Saturday in the spare Abu Dhabi boat, but was unable to start race two.
Al-Shamlan maintained his position through lap one, as Sjoholm moved into third and began to apply the pressure. Palfreyman gradually extended his advantage over the Qatari through the opening 10 laps, as Al-Shamlan held off the Sjoholm challenge to maintain second position.
The Briton continued to pull away to the chequered flag and Al-Shamlan defended his second position bravely to the end to edge Sjoholm by just 3.25s seconds, but the Swede was eventually disqualified and Al-Shamlan duly cruised into a comfortable championship lead.
12th Grand Prix of Russia, Kazan – results
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 40 laps
2. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @ 4.55s
3. Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team @ 5.91s
4. Scott Gillman (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @ 16.02s
5. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team @ 17.58s
6. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica @ 25.77s
7. Stanislav Kurtsenovsky (RUS) Jetech Tool F1 Racing @ 28.98s
8. Francesco Cantando (I) Singha F1 Racing Team @ 32.22s
9. Phillipe Tourre (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team @ 45.38s
10. Rinaldo Osculati (ITA) Team Nautica 3 laps behind
2011 UIM F1 H20 World Championship – standings after round 3
1. Jay Price (QA) Qatar Team 52 pts
2. Alex Carella (QA) Qatar Team 50 pts
3. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 31 pts
4. Phillipe Chiappe (F) CTIC China Team 21 pts
5. Francesco Cantando (I) Singha F1 Racing Team 12 pts
6. Davide Padovan (I) Team Mad Croc F1 10 pts
7. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Sweden 9 pts
7. Scott Gillman (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 9 pts
7. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 9 pts
10. Marit Stromoy (N) Team Nautica 8 pts
11. Jonas Andersson (S) Team Sweden 7 pts
12. Duarte Benavente (P) F1 Atlantic Team 5 pts
12. Phillipe Tourre (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 5 pts
14. Stanislav Kurtsenovsky (RUS) Jetech Tool F1 Racing 4 pts
15. Ivan Brigada (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 1 pt
15. Rinaldo Osculati (ITA) Team Nautica 1 pt
2011 UIM F-4S Championship – standings after race 6
1. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team 86 pts
2. Bimba Sjolholm (SWE) Team Sweden 75 pts
3. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Team Atlantic 63 pts
4. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc 61 pts
5. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica 44 pts
6. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) Team China 41 pts
7. Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 33 pts
8. Christian Carlsen (NOR) Team Singha 19 pts
9. Kristoffer Fjelde (NOR) Team Singha 5 pts
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