|Qatar Team’s Alex Carella Clinches Grand Prix Of Tatarstan Victory|
|Sunday, 24 June 2012 01:49|
KAZAN (Tatarstan): Qatar’s defending UIM F1 H20 World Champion Alex Carella led from the second lap to the chequered flag of Saturday’s Grand Prix of the Republic of Tatarstan on the Nizhny Kaban Lake in Kazan.
In a race interrupted by three yellow flag incidents, Carella stormed into contention to retain his world title with a professional performance and fended off a fierce challenge from Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli.
Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe finished third in a race that ended under a third yellow flag and enabled Carella to move into joint second place in the championship, eight points behind Al-Hameli.
Qatar’s pole position winner Shaun Torrente held his line through the opening turns to hold the outright lead after lap one, but the Qatar Team driver was forced out with a blown engine on the second lap.
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari qualified in seventh for the second of the F-4S Eurofin Trophy races and finished in a similar position in a contest where England’s Matthew Palfreyman overtook Sweden’s Jesper Forss to clinch his fourth successive race win this season and a 20-point lead in the title race.
“This was a good result for the Qatar team, although it would have been nice to take a one-two finish,” 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.
“Mechanical problems can happen to any boats anywhere and anytime. It’s just a shame it happened here to Shaun. Now we can look ahead to the next race and hope to continue where we left off here and get as many points as we can to make sure that the Qatar Team regains the title.”
GP of Tatarstan
Seventeen drivers from 11 countries took the start of the 40-lap race, with Torrente and Carella determined to maintain their qualifying advantage into the first turn buoy. Bright and blustery conditions prevailed and Torrente made a perfect start in clear water to finish the first lap 1.48 seconds in front of Carella, with Al-Hameli in third and Cantando moving up to fourth.
But Torrente was forced to pull off the racecourse on lap two with engine failure and duly handed the lead to Carella from Al-Hameli, Chiappe and Al-Qamzi. Carella completed lap four just 2.44 seconds in front of Al-Hameli and extended his lead to 3.16 seconds through nine laps.
A yellow flag was raised on lap 11 when Brett Stuart’s Caudwell Racing boat broke down and the delay enabled Al-Hameli to close in on Carella’s tail before the restart.
The race restarted on lap 14 and Carella managed to maintain a 2.08 second lead. He extended that advantage to 3.78 seconds through lap 15. By the halfway point, after lap 20, the World Champion’s lead had risen to 5.52 seconds, as Ivan Brigada and Marit Stromoy fell by the wayside.
The race was yellow-flagged again to remove Duarte Benavente’s and Brigada’s stricken boats from the race course and restarted on lap 29. Carella managed to hold off Al-Hameli challenge once again and finished the lap 1.16 seconds in front.
He extended that lead to 4.58 seconds through lap 32 and began to close in on a vital victory, only for the race to be yellow-flagged for a third time when Rinaldo Osculati dug in at speed and flipped his boat over. There was no time to restart the race and the chequered flag was raised under a yellow flag situation, much to the delight of the Qatar Team.
Carella and Torrente ran for 12 and six laps in Saturday morning’s second practice session and were classified in third and seventh places, respectively. Al-Hameli won the practice stint with a lap of 43.66s.
F-4S Eurofin Trophy
Al-Kuwari qualified seventh for the second of the F-4S Eurofin Trophy races in his repaired boat, with Jesper Forss and Matthew Palfreyman filling the top two positions in the starting line-up. Forss managed to fend off Palfreyman’s challenge through the opening laps and Al-Kuwari brought up the rear of the seven-boat field with Erik Danielson not taking the start.
All seven drivers maintained their positions through 11 laps, although Forss and Palfreyman began to pull away from the rest of the field and Palfreyman found a way passed the Swede heading into the final seven laps. He began to pull away from Forss from then on and reached the chequered flag with a race lead of 11.16 seconds. Al-Kuwari finished seventh.
Palfreyman won the morning’s practice session with a best lap of 50.42s. Al-Kuwari was classified sixth of the seven starters after running for just seven laps.
2012 Grand Prix of Tatarstan – results
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 40 laps
2. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @ 4.73s
3. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team @ 5.47s
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc F1 Team @ 7.00s
5. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden @ 7.83s
6. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @ 8.98s
7. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team @ 10.86s
8. Valerio Lagiannella (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 1 lap behind
9. Phillipe Tourre (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 1 lap behind
10. Rinaldo Osculati (SUI) Team Nautica DNF
2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship – standings after round 2
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 35 pts
2. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 27 pts
2. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 27 pts
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 21 pts
5. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 9 pts
6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 7 pts
6. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team 7 pts
8. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 pts
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 5 pts
10. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 4 pts
10. Valerio Lagiannella (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 4 pt
12. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team 2 pts
12. Phillipe Tourre (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 2 pts
14. Rinaldo Osculati (SUI) Team Nautica 1 pt
2012 F-4S Drivers Eurofin Trophy – standings after race 4
1. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Atlantic Team 80 pts
2. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden 60 pts
3. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica 45 pts
4. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) CTIC China Team 30 pts
5. Mohamed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 16 pts
6. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha 13 pts
7. Kornel Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc 12 pts
8. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 11 pts
9. Viktor Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc 10 pts
10. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 7 pts
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