|Qatar Team Seals Stunning One-Two In Qualifying For Grand Prix Of Tatarstan|
|Friday, 22 June 2012 21:11|
KAZAN (Tatarstan): Qatar’s Shaun Torrente and defending UIM F1 H20 World Champion Alex Carella recorded pole position and the second fastest time in qualifying for Saturday’s Grand Prix of the Republic of Tatarstan on the Nizhny Kaban Lake in Kazan on Friday afternoon.
The pair managed to fend off a fierce last gasp challenge from Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli, with Torrente’s fastest lap of 42.65s sufficient to pip his team-mate by just 0.13 seconds in a thrilling pole shoot-out.
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari qualified fifth for the third F-4S Eurofin Trophy race of the season with his BaBa but flipped his boat out of fifth position on the 15th lap of a race where series leader Matthew Palfreyman of England led from start-to-finish to extend his championship lead over Sweden’s Jesper Forss to 15 points.
“I cannot believe it,” 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 knew we had two young and ambitious drivers but it is fantastic for us to get first and second in qualifying. Last year we finished the race first and third and now it would be great to go even better with a one-two finish.
“This performance is down to the hard work of the entire team, the mechanics, the management, everyone. Last night the mechanics worked until midnight and they were the first in the pit area this morning at 06.00hrs. It has been a fantastic all-round performance and I thank them all for that.”
Eighteen boats lined up for the first of three qualifying sessions and the slowest three would be eliminated in the 20-minute stint held in bright, blustery conditions. Francesco Cantando set the early target lap of 46.25s but this was soon surpassed by Al-Hameli, as Torrente and Carella moved into third and fifth positions with 11 minutes remaining.
Carella moved in front with a stunning tour of 45.16s and was soon passed by Chiappe’s lap of 44.89s, as the Qatar Team duo held second and fifth heading into the remaining six minutes. Andersson eventually won the session with a lap of 44.82s with the Qatar boats in third and sixth. Filip Roms, Brett Stuart and Ivan Brigada were eliminated.
Five boats would fall by the wayside in Q2 and Emirati Al-Hameli set the target time of 43.98s. Carella and Torrente slotted into fifth and sixth heading into the final 10 minutes. Sami Selio and Andersson pushed the Qatar duo down to sixth and eighth with seven minutes to run.
Carella improved with a tour of 44.86s and the Qatar duo finished the session in second and fourth places with Torrente clocking 44.53s late on. Rinaldo Osculati, Valerio Lagianella, Yousef Al-Rubayan, Phillipe Tourre and Stanislav Kourtsenovsky were eliminated.
Ten boats remained and each ran for two laps with the fastest tour counting in the shoot-out. Marit Stromoy set the target time of 45.84s, Duarte Benavente improved with a 45.30s and Cantando went even better with a 43.73s lap. Al-Qamzi posted the provisional pole with a 43.58s on his second lap and Selio almost flipped his boat to record a 43.80s on his first lap.
Torrente stormed into provisional pole position with a first lap of 42.65s and Carella’s first run of 43.18s pushed him into second place, but a second run of 42.78s was not enough to beat his team-mate.
Only Al-Hameli could prevent Torrente from sealing pole position, but his two laps fell just short and the Qatar Team managed to seal a superb one-two finish, with Torrente sealing his first career F1 pole.
First official practice
Torrente and Al-Qamzi were the first two riders to break through the sub 45-second barrier in the first free practice session. Torrente held the edge by 0.2 seconds from his Emirati rival, with Carella a mere 0.22 seconds behind in third – although the World Champion had been on the pace in Thursday’s unofficial practice once the Qatar Team’s equipment had eventually arrived in Kazan.
A yellow flag stopped proceedings for several minutes and Al-Hameli set the fastest lap of 43.59s soon afterwards to take the top of the leader board from Chiappe, Carella (44.28s) and Torrente. Al-Hameli held on to claim the fastest time of the session, with Torrente (44.18s) and Carella holding fourth and fifth behind the Emirati, Chiappe and Selio.
F-4S Eurofin Trophy
England’s Matthew Palfreyman claimed pole position for the F-4S race with a quickest lap of 50.42s during his 11 laps on the water in qualifying. Jesper Forss pushed the Briton close and Al-Kuwari settled into fifth place after using the session to run for 17 laps.
Palfreyman and Forss led through lap one of the race and Al-Kuwari maintained his fifth position and continued to run in position. By the halfway point, after 11 laps, Palfreyman led Forss by 10.13 seconds and Al-Kuwari remained in fifth. But the race was yellow-flagged on lap 16 when Al-Kuwari flipped his boat without injury and Palfreyman held on to take the chequered flag, with Forss finishing second when action resumed for the remaining two laps.
Only six of the eight boats took to the water for the first free practice session and Palfreyman topped the timings with a lap of 50.29s. Al-Kuwari ran for just five laps near the end and slotted into fifth with a best run of 55.82s.
There will be another free practice session on Saturday morning and the second of the weekend’s F-4S races starts at 15.00hrs after further timed trials at 13.00hrs. The Grand Prix of the Republic of Tatarstan starts at 17.00hrs (16.00hrs Doha time).
2012 Grand Prix of Tatarstan – qualifying results
1. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 42.65s
2. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 42.78s
3. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 43.08s
4. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 43.49s
5. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 43.58s
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 43.73s
7. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc F1 Team 43.80s
8. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 43.87s
9. Duarte Benavente (POR) F1 Atlantic Team 45.30s
10. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 45.84s
2012 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – standings after round 2
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 32 pts
2. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 30 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 20 pts
4. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 16 pts
5.Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 14 pts
6. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 12 pts
7. Yousef Al-Rabayan (KUW) F1 Atlantic Team 7 pts
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 5 pts
2012 F-4S Drivers Eurofin Trophy – standings after race 3
1. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Atlantic Team 60 pts
2. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden 45 pts
3. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica 33 pts
4. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) CTIC China Team 21 pts
5. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha 13 pts
6. Kornel Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc 12 pts
7. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 11 pts
8. Mohamed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 7 pts
8. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 7 pts
10. Viktor Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc 5 pts
11. Erik Danielson (NOR) Team Singha 3 pts
For further information:
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).