F1 Jay Price seals second place in Grand Prix of Shenzhen

Grand Prix of Shenzhen - October 26th, round 6 of 8

For immediate release
Sunday, October 26th, 2008


Grand Prix of Shenzhen victory falls to Finland's Sami Selio
Qatar's Yousef Al-Khulaifi forced out with engine problems

SHENZHEN (China): The Qatar Team's Jay Price finished a superb second overall in Sunday's Grand Prix of Shenzhen, but will have to wait until the race in Abu Dhabi in December to clinch Qatar's first ever UIM F1 World Championship title.

Price drove a polished race on Shenzhen's Houhai Lake to shadow race winner and defending World Champion Sami Selio to the chequered flag and he now leads the championship by 36 points. He needs to score just five points on the final two races to prevent Sweden's Jonas Andersson from pipping him to the world title and just three to stop Selio winning a second successive title. Qatar's Yousef Al-Khulaifi suffered the disappointment of retiring after the opening lap with a blown engine.

"We had a race strategy and it worked perfectly for us today," said a delighted Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, which is run under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.

"We said yesterday that we wanted to finish in the top three, but it was not easy out there. Sami was playing the game of changing his pace to try and get Jay to make a mistake or damage the boat. He was putting in faster laps and then slower laps, but we played the same game and it worked perfectly. Now we are in a superb position to claim the world title in Abu Dhabi."

Sixty-five laps of the course were scheduled and the intense heat was predicted to cause some mechanical problems. Starting from third on the grid, it was important that Price stayed out of the scramble for positions at the first buoy and was not involved in someone else's incident. Qatar's Al-Khulaifi lined up in 16th position and in a similar place in the points' standings, while Ivan Brigada was supposed to replace the suspended Italian Guido Cappellini in the Tamoil F1 team, but failed to make the start.

The race was yellow flagged as soon as it had started, with Al-Khulaifi sidelined after lap one with engine problems and Stromoy and Phillipe Tourre failing to make the start.

Al-Qamzi led from Selio and Price after 11 laps and had built up a 5.76 second advantage over the Finn. But Al-Qamzi's bad luck continued on the 13th tour and he was pushed out of the running, with Selio inheriting the lead and Price tucking into second position, a mere three seconds behind the Finn. Cantando, Al-Hameli and Andersson completed the top five.

A hard-charging Price had reduced Selio's lead to 1.84 seconds through lap 17, but Al-Qamzi had joined Fabio Comparato on the list of retirements, as Price's main rivals began to fall by the wayside. Fifteen boats remained in the race, as Selio completed lap 23 with a 2.06 second lead over Price, who was perfectly positioned to strengthen his hold on the world title. The Finn and the Qatar Team driver were beginning to pull away from the field, as the Qatar Team did calculations to see whether second position would be sufficient to give Price the world title with two races remaining.

Al-Hameli and Andersson were hanging on to their coat tails in third and fourth in a desperate bid to maintain a title challenge, but Cantando retired on lap 23, as Selio and Price headed for the half-way point, with Selio four seconds ahead and Al-Hameli slowly beginning to eat into Price's hold on second overall. The Abu Dhabi driver needed to beat Price to give himself a chance of taking the world title and the pressure was mounting over the closing laps.

Selio was 5.44s clear of Price after lap 36, with Al-Hameli a mere 1.41 seconds behind the Qatar Team driver and beginning to mount a real challenge for second. But, by lap 41, Al-Hameli had drifted a little and trailed Price by nearly seven seconds, with Selio maintained his grip on the race and the Swedish pair of Andersson and Pierre Lundin completing the top five. Australian David Trask withdrew and lost his place in the top 10.

Price began to close on Selio for the race win. Mathematics suggested that the outright victory would be sufficient to clinch his first world title, but he would have to wait for the next race in Abu Dhabi if he retained second overall. He was within two seconds of the Finn after lap 47 and setting up a thrilling finale to the race. Al-Hameli was now over 11 seconds adrift and looking as though his title dream was over. It had been a sensational drive by the Qatar Team pilot under the most intense of pressure, as the race headed into the final 15 nail-biting laps on the Houhai Lake course.

By lap 55, Price was a mere 1.67 seconds behind Selio's tail and charging in an attempt to win Qatar's third race of the season. There were just 10 boats still running as the race entered the final five laps, with Price now running just 2.17 seconds behind Selio and three in front of Al-Hameli. The trio settled into sequence through lap 63 and the Finn ultimately had done enough to fend off Price's onslaught and take the potential world title celebrations to Abu Dhabi in December.

In intense heat and temperatures in thirties, Cantando set the pace for the Singha Team in the second and final practice session, the Italian running for 27 laps and posting a 35.47s tour. Selio and Al-Qamzi were his closest challengers and Price was fourth for the Qatar Team in 36.44s. Al-Khulaifi was 16th, but Norwegian Marit Stromoy was forced to abandon her boat and swim ashore when it caught fire on the course. The damage meant she was certain to miss the race. 

2008 Grand Prix of Shenzhen - final results
1. Sami Selio (FIN)   Woodstock Red Devil Racing  65 laps
2.  Jay Price (QA)   Qatar Team   @ 1.77s
3. Ahmad Al-Hameli (UAE)  F1 Team Abu Dhabi   @ 4.32s
4.  Jonas Andersson (S)  F1 Team Sweden    @ 19.17s  
5. Pierre Lundin (S)   China CTIC Team    @ 30.88s
6. Phillipe Chiappe (F)  F1 Atlantic Team    @ 31.80s
7. Phillipe Dessertenne (F)  China CTIC Team   1 lap behind
8. Uvis Slakteris (LV)   F1 Team Sweden   1 lap behind
9. Valerio Lagiannella (I)  Rainbow Team   2 laps behind
10. Duarte Benavente (P)  F1 Atlantic Team   2 laps behind

2008 UIM F1 World Championship - Drivers (positions after round 6 of 8):
1. Jay Price (QA)   Qatar Team    85 pts  
2. Jonas Andersson (S)  F1 Team Sweden    49 pts             
3. Sami Selio (FIN)   Woodstock Red Devil Racing   47 pts   
4. Ahmad Al-Hameli (UAE)  F1 Team Abu Dhabi    40 pts    
5. David Trask (AUS)   Trask Brothers Racing   32 pts
6. Fabio Comparato (I)   800 Doctor Team     31 pts  
6. Pierre Lundin (S)   China CTIC Team    31 pts   
8. Phillipe Chiappe (F)  F1 Atlantic Team    29 pts 
9. Guido Cappellini  (I)  Tamoil F1 Team    27 pts, etc
Yousef Al-Khulaifi (QA)  Qatar Team    8 pts

2008 UIM F1 World Championship - Teams (unofficial positions after round 6 of 8):
1. Qatar Team   90 pts 
2. F1 Team Sweden   58 pts   
3. China CTIC Team   48 pts 
4. Woodstock Red Devil Racing  48 pts   
5. Tamoil F1   43 pts    
6. Trask Brothers Racing  41 pts 
7. F1 Team Abu Dhabi  40 pts 
8. F1 Atlantic Team   39 pts 
9. Doctor 800   31 pts   
10. Singha Team   14 pts 
11. Rainbow Team   2 pts


For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).



Date issued: 26/10/2008

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