|Torrente, Carella And Al-Shamlan Finish Fourth, Fifth And Ninth In Grand Prix Of Qatar|
|Sunday, 11 March 2012 00:18|
DOHA (Qatar): Shaun Torrente, Alex Carella and Khalid Saleh Al-Shamlan finished fourth, fifth and ninth for the Qatar Team in a thrilling 10th Grand Prix of Qatar in Doha Bay on Saturday.
Pre-race engine problems had prevented both Torrente and Carella from challenging from the start of the race, but Torrente produced a sensational performance after the green light to surge through the field from 19th to take an eventual fourth, after holding third for a few laps in between three yellow flag interruptions.
An engine change had pushed defending World Champion Carella down from second to 16th on the pontoon at the start and he eventually finished fifth. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan suffered a pre-race illness but managed to reach the chequered flag in a superb ninth on his F1 race debut.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli led from start-to-finish, despite the yellow flag stoppages, and started the season with a maximum points’ score. Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe passed Finland’s Sami Selio on the final lap to seal second position, but the race will be remembered for Torrente’s stunning surge through traffic from the rear of the field.
“Under the circumstances and the problems with the engines, I am delighted that we came away with this result,” 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.
“I am especially pleased for Khaled Al-Shamlan on his debut to finish ninth and take two championship points. It was an exciting race and now we can look forward to the next one in Kazan, where I am confident that Qatar will be back on the podium.”
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari began the second of the weekend’s UIM F-4s races from the back of the entry and eventually finished seventh overall in a race where England’s Matthew Palfreyman passed Sweden’s Jesper Forss near the start and went on to seal a second successive win.
10th Grand Prix of Qatar
The three Qatar Team DAC drivers had endured mixed fortunes during Friday’s qualifying and were spread out in second, seventh and 19th positions in the original line-up for the start of the first race of the new season. But they eventually lined up on the pontoon in sixth, 16th and 19th, with Al-Shamlan leading the way, despite missing the morning’s free practice because of illness, and Carella being punished for an engine change prior to the start.
The QMSF’s team was chasing a hat-trick of home Grand Prix successes, following Jay Price’s victories in 2010 and 2011, and a good start was critical. Torrente made a superb start and catapulted himself up from 19th to eighth at the end of lap one, as Al-Shamlan dropped to 10th and Carella climbed to 12th.
Torrente climbed to sixth through lap three and Carella passed 12th-placed Al-Shamlan to take 11th, as Al-Hameli began to pull away from Selio at the front of the field. Carella climbed to 10th on lap five and moved up to ninth on the next lap, but Al-Shamlan slipped to 13th.
Torrente continued his superb charge through the field and passed Jonas Andersson to snatch fifth position and began to close on Phillipe Chiappe through lap nine of 40. The Qatar Team driver passed the Frenchman on the next lap, but the yellow flag was raised on lap 11 when Andersson ground to a halt on the racing line with mechanical issues. Carella and Al-Shamlan held eighth and 13th.
Chiappe regained fourth from Torrente on the restart and Carella climbed to seventh, but Torrente was not to be denied and a fierce tussle waged between Torrente and the Frenchman over the next few laps.
By half-way, Al-Hameli led from Selio, Al-Qamzi, Chiappe and Torrente, with Carella in seventh and Al-Shamlan in 14th position. World Champion Carella passed the CTIC China Team boat to take sixth before the yellow flag was raised again on lap 22 and Al-Shamlan moved up to 12th.
The green flag was raised with 12 laps remaining; Carella passed Torrente to take fifth and Al-Shamlan retained 12th, with Al-Hameli staying out in front of Selio heading into the final 10 laps. Torrente re-passed his team-mate to snatch fifth, but Phillipe Tourre was troubled when his air bag activated.
Al-Qamzi was forced out of fourth position on lap 31, as Torrente and Carella climbed to fourth and fifth and Al-Shamlan held 13th heading into the remaining seven laps. Torrente continued his terrific pace and managed to pass Chiappe with six laps remaining and snatched third place. Al-Shamlan climbed into the top 10.
The race was yellow-flagged for the third time with four laps remaining, when Kuwait’s Yousef Al-Rubayan ground to a halt, but the green flag was raised in the closing seconds and action resumed with one and a half laps to go. Al-Hameli held on to take victory, but Chiappe regained third from Torrente and snatched second from Selio in the closing metres of the final lap. Torrente, Carella and Al-Shamlan finished fourth, fifth and ninth at the end of a dramatic start to the new season.
Torrente and Carella set the fourth and seventh quickest times in the second free practice session that was won by Ahmed Al-Hameli with a clean 45-second lap of the 2,060 metre Doha Bay course. Sickness forced Al-Shamlan to miss the practice session altogether.
F-4S – race 2
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari was desperate to improve on the eighth position he achieved in the first of the season’s F-4S races and the Qatari recorded the fifth quickest time in Saturday morning’s free practice session that was won by race one winner Matthew Palfreyman. But the Qatari eventually qualified in eighth position, with pole for the 24-lap race two falling to Sweden’s Jesper Forss with a best lap of 43.41s.
Palfreyman hit the front on the first lap and Al-Kuwari moved up to sixth position at the expense of Valts Silis and the Team Abu Dhabi boat, but a yellow flag was raised on lap three after an incident involving Xiong Ziwei.
Action resumed on lap eight and Al-Kuwari was running in fifth place behind Palfreyman, Forss, Tobias Munthe-Kaas and Kornel Vo, but he slipped to sixth on lap nine and was passed by Silis on lap 10.
The Qatari held his seventh position for the remainder of the race to continue the points-scoring start to his UIM F-4S career, as Palfreyman held off the challenge from Forss and Munthe-Kaas to take a second win of the weekend.
10th Grand Prix of Qatar – results
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 40 laps
2. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team @ 2.63s
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 @ 3.91s
4. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team @ 4.96s
5. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team @ 5.93s
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team @ 7.79s
7. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team @ 13.96s
8. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 @ 15.29s
9. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team 2 laps behind
10. Valerio Lagiannella (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 3 laps behind
2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship – standings after round 1
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 20 pts
2. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 15 pts
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 12 pts
4. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 9 pts
5. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 7 pts
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 5 pts
7. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team 4 pts
8. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 3 pts
9. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team 2 pts
10. Valerio Lagiannella (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 1 pt
2012 UIM F-4S Championship – standings after race 2
1. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Atlantic Team 40 pts
2. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden 30 pts
3. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica 24 pts
4. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha 13 pts
5. Kornel Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc 12 pts
5. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) CTIC China Team 12 pts
5. Mohamed Al-Maharbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 12 pts
8. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 7 pts
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