|Qatar’s Price And Carella Qualify Second And Fourth For Friday’s World Title Showdown In Sharjah|
|Saturday, 17 December 2011 03:39|
SHARJAH (UAE): The Qatar Team’s Jay Pirice and Alex Carella prepared for their showdown for the world title in Friday’s Grand Prix of Sharjah by qualifying for the race in second and fourth positions on Khalid Lagoon on Thursday afternoon.
With a Qatar Team member guaranteed to win the 2011 UIM F1 H20 World Championship title, Price needs to stay in front of Carella or at least win the race to claim his first title. Price was the form driver in the qualifying sessions, even if he did miss out on pole position to Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli. Qatar’s Shaun Torrente qualified the third boat in eighth place.
Carella also confirmed the UIM F1 H20 World Championship title for the Qatar Team but Price, who trails Carella by five points, knows he will need to stay well ahead of his team-mate in what promises to be a thrilling race on Friday. “It was all about good concentration and a clean lap to try and get the Pole Position today,” said Price.
“It will certainly be very interesting in the race,” said Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the (QMSF), which runs under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.
“Never in 30 years of Formula One racing has a team finished first and second in the championship, so we are on target to make our own piece of history. Alex also claimed the world title in Pole Position today. He knows he has to finish just behind Jay to win the championship and Jay knows he needs to push hard and try and win the race.”
In the event of a tie between the two drivers, the number of victories each has amassed in the season may be used. With both drivers on two wins apiece, it could well be a winner-takes-all showdown in Sharjah.
Qatar’s Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan qualified second for the penultimate F-4S race of the season, but had to fight his way back up the field after problems dropped him to seventh overall in the timings.
The Qatari eventually finished third, but Matthew Palfreyman’s victory makes him a clear favourite to beat Sweden’s Bimba Sjoholm to the F-4S title in Friday’s deciding race. Al-Shamlan’s result means that he confirms third place in the UIM F-4S Championship.
Three of the 18 boats would be eliminated in the 15 minutes of Q1 and Price posted the first sub-50 target lap of 49.34s and returned to the pit with Carella tucked into second position with a lap of 50.47s. Pierre Lundin split the Qatar Team duo with a lap of 50.15s and pushed Shaun Torrente down to fifth position.
Price and Carella eventually finished the first session in first and fourth overall, with Torrente in seventh and Bartek Marszalek, Rinaldo Osculati and Valerio Lagiannella eliminated from Q2.
Price again set the target time of 48.91s and Carella slotted into third behind Al-Hameli with nine minutes remaining. The duo held first and fourth heading into the final four minutes, but Torrente was struggling down in 12th place. He managed to improve to an eventual 10th, but Carella slipped to sixth, as Rhys Coles, Duarte Benavente, Phillipe Tourre, Jonas Andersson and Marit Stromoy were eliminated.
Price made the most of clean water at the start of Q3 to lay down the gauntlet with a stunning lap of 47.84s, as Al-Hameli slotted into second with a 49.00s tour. But the Emirati passed him with a lap of 47.72s to snatch provisional pole. Carella was languishing in eighth and Torrente had moved up to sixth.
The young Italian overtook Torrente with a 49.20s lap to move up to sixth and climbed to fourth with a better lap of 48.84s. He maintained fourth with a better tour of 48.47s, but the session was yellow flagged in the dying seconds when Davide Padovan inverted his boat.
Price signalled his intent from the start of the weekend’s action and topped the times in the psychologically important free practice session. His DAC recorded a lap time of 47.28s of the Khalid Lagoon course and that was 0.27s quicker than Phillipe Chiappe. Carella slotted into third position, 0.61s behind his series rival, and Torrente was down in 14th with the third Qatar boat.
Al-Shamlan qualified in second position for the first of the weekend’s two races, courtesy of a fastest lap of 46.26s that out him just 0.07s behind pole sitter and series leader Palfreyman. Filip Roms lined up in third and Sjoholm was fourth.
The Qatari had been the fastest of all the eight boats in the morning’s practice session, Al-Shamlan topping the times with a best lap of 45.62s during his 15 laps on the water. Palfreyman and Sjolholm were his closest rivals, but it was imperative he made a good start to the 20-minute race.
Palfreyman was the man in form in the race and he edged into a slender lead over Sjoholm, with Al-Shamlan slipping down the leader board to seventh. Sjoholm reduced Palfreyman’s lead to 1.74s after lap 12, although Al-Shamlan’s troubles had cost him the slim chance of catching the leading duo in the championship.
Sjoholm began to apply the pressure on the leader and the margin was just 0.61s after 15 laps. Al-Shamlan passed China’s Xiong Ziwei to retake sixth place and Palfreyman began to put a little daylight between him and Sjoholm heading into the final few laps. Al-Shamlan was now on a charge and he passed Christian Carlsen to take fifth and then moved up to third, as Palfreyman held on to take victory by just 1.95s after 25 laps and a 14-point lead in the championship.
F1 boats take to the water at 09.15hrs on Friday morning and the second of the F-4S races starts at 14.30hrs after practice and time trials. The 2011 Grand Prix of Sharjah is set for the slightly later time of 16.00hrs.
Grand Prix of Sharjah – qualifying results
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 47.72s
2. Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team 47.84s
3. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 47.89s
4. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 48.47s
5. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 48.72s
6. Pierre Lundin (SWE) CTIC China Team 48.93s
7. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 49.20s
8. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 49.36s
9. Davide Padovan (ITA) Team Mad Croc F1 49.68s
10. Yousef Al-Rabayan (KUW) Team Mad Croc F1 51.05s
2011 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – final standings
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 94 pts
2. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 87 pts
3. Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team 83 pts
4. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 47 pts
5. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 43 pts
5. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 43 pts
7. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 35 pts
8. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Sweden 20 pts
9. Davide Padovan (ITA) Team Mad Croc F1 12 pts
10. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 7 pts
11. Pierre Lundin (SWE) CTIC China Team 5 pts
2011 UIM F-4S Championship – standings after race 13 of 14
1. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Team Atlantic 190 pts
2. Bimba Sjolholm (SWE) Team Sweden 176 pts
3. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team 146 pts
4. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc 123 pts
5. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) Team China 104 pts
6. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica 76 pts
7. Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 33 pts
7. Christian Carlsen (NOR) Team Singha 33 pts
9. Kristoffer Fjelde (NOR) Team Singha 14 pts
10. Carl-Hampus Lundberg (SWE) Team Nautica 12 pts
11. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha 12 pts
12. Salem Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 9 pts
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