|Qatar’s Carella And Price Collide On Lap One In Sharjah As Carella Claims 2011 Uim F1 H20 World Championship Title|
|Saturday, 17 December 2011 04:05|
SHARJAH (UAE): The Qatar Team’s Alex Carella was crowned as 2011 UIM F1 H20 World Champion in Friday’s Grand Prix of Sharjah, even before the opening lap of his showdown with Qatar team-mate Jay Price had been completed.
The pair came together spectacularly at a buoy on turn three and took each other out of the race in dramatic circumstances. With neither driver able to continue and both boats destroyed, it meant that young Carella clinched the title for the first time and Price, the 2008 World Champion, had to wait for the outcome of the race before he could be guaranteed his second position in the championship.
“I got a decent launch and my team-mate got a really good start. I got a good line to the next buoy and, unfortunately, we were too close together,” said a disappointed Price. “Those things happen but we are both okay. That is the main thing.”
Shaun Torrente began the race from the back of the field and climbed through the back-markers to snatch fifth position, but the race will be remembered for years for the Qatar Team’s ‘Prost-Senna’ style collision on lap one.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli and Thani Al-Qamzi controlled the race in the absence of the Qatar Team duo to take first and second places, with Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe in third place.
“This is the price you pay when you have two drivers fighting for the World Championship,” 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. “You have two determined drivers who know the target. I am still very happy. Both are okay and we have first and second in the World Championship. I can’t say more than that.”
The Qatar Team missed out on the Fast Lap Slam Trophy for the winner of the fastest lap at each race. Price led Carella by three points heading into the ‘Sharjah showdown’ and, with neither driver scoring, the door was open for Al-Hameli to pip Price by two points.
Qatar’s Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan qualified in second place behind Tobias Munthe-Kaas for the last UIM F-4S race of the season and eventually finished in second position. England’s Matthew Palfreyman claimed the title with his second victory of the weekend.
The Grand Prix of Sharjah showdown
The Qatar Team trio lined up in second, fourth and 16th positions for the ‘Sharjah showdown’, with Price shadowing pole winner Ahmed Al-Hameli off the pontoon. Torrente slipped from eighth after requiring an engine change before the race started on the revised two-kilometre course.
Carella made the much better start and began to close in on Price, but neither driver was prepared to give a metre into turn three on lap one and the two drivers took each other out in a fierce collision virtually before the race had started. A yellow flag was raised, Carella was crowned as World Champion and Al-Hameli, Chiappe and Al-Qamzi moved through under a yellow flag.
The race resumed on lap seven and Al-Hameli maintained a 2.42s lead over Chiappe through lap 10, with Al-Qamzi and Francesco Cantando filling third and fourth places. Torrente climbed to eighth and moved up to seventh on lap 20.
Al-Hameli and Al-Qamzi stayed out in front but Torrente lost seventh to Pierre Lundin as the race headed into the remaining 14 laps. A second yellow flag was raised after a boat collided with a turn buoy on lap 25.
Action resumed on lap 31 of 37 and Torrente settled into seventh position, with Al-Hameli, Al-Qamzi and Chiappe retaining the top three positions. Stromoy was penalised for the buoy collision and her misfortune promoted Torrente to fifth place, as the Team Abu Dhabi duo held on to take the win.
Sweden’s Jonas Andersson topped the times in the largely irrelevant second free practice session on Friday morning. He ran for 27 laps and clocked a best tour of 49.07s, with Qatar’s Torrente, Price and Carella in second, third and sixth places.
Al-Shamlan qualified in second position for the final F-4S race of the season. The Qatari set a quickest lap of 46.99s during his 19 laps on the water and that was sufficient for him to slot in behind surprise pole winner Tobias Munthe-Kaas. Title rivals, Sjolholm and Palfreyman, qualified in third and fifth respectively.
The Qatari had been third quickest behind the two championship protagonists in the morning’s free practice session, but all focus switched to the final 20-minute race of the season, as Al-Shamlan targeted victory to end a successful year.
Palfreyman managed to sneak through into the lead at the end of lap one, as Al-Shamlan maintained second position and Sjoholm plummeted to seventh. The Briton extended his lead to 3.19s through four laps, but Al-Shamlan began to pull away from third-placed Filip Roms.
The Qatari maintained close contact with Palfreyman through lap 11 and remained in a comfortable second overall, as Sjolholm’s title dream began to fade with the Swede down in sixth place. Al-Shamlan reduced Palfreyman’s lead to 1.91s after lap 13 and to 1.63s after 14 laps and a frantic tussle was on the cards to the chequered flag.
But the Briton managed to fend off the Qatari’s challenge to seal a 7.58s victory and the 2011 title, with Al-Shamlan taking second on the day and third in the 14-race series behind Sjoholm.
Grand Prix of Sharjah – results
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 37 laps
2. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @ 3.30s
3. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team @ 7.75s
4. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team @ 17.36s
5. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team @ 19.67s
6. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica @ 44.87s
7. Duarte Benavente (POR) F1 Atlantic Team 1 lap behind
8. Rhys Coles (AUS) Team Sweden 1 lap behind, etc
Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team DNF
Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team DNF
2011 UIM F1 H20 World Championship – final standings
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 84 pts
2. Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team 79 pts
3. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 75 pts
4. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 70 pts
5. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 47 pts
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 42 pts
7. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 21 pts
8. Davide Padovan (ITA) Team Mad Croc F1 20 pts
9. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 18 pts
10. Pierre Lundin (SWE) CTIC China Team 16 pts, etc
2011 UIM F-4S Championship – final standings
1. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Team Atlantic 210 pts
2. Bimba Sjolholm (SWE) Team Sweden 181 pts
3. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team 161 pts
4. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc 135 pts
5. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) Team China 113 pts
6. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica 83 pts
7. Christian Carlsen (NOR) Team Singha 36 pts
8. Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 33 pts
9. Kristoffer Fjelde (NOR) Team Singha 14 pts
10. Salem Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 13 pts
11. Carl-Hampus Lundberg (SWE) Team Nautica 12 pts
11. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha 12 pts
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