F1 Jay Price begins defence of UIM F1 world title in Portugal
2009 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Portugal - April 4th-5th, round 1
For immediate release
Monday, March 30th, 2009
TEAM QATAR'S PRICE BEGINS DEFENCE
OF UIM F1 WORLD TITLE IN PORTUGAL
·Qatar's Yousef Al-Khulaifi set for second season of F1 racing
·Exciting new two-race format set to kick-start new UIM F1 season
DOHA (Qatar): Team Qatar's Jay Price heads to Portugal to begin the defence of the Doha-based team's UIM F1 World Championship title this weekend in the two new races that will make up the opening meeting of what promises to be a thrilling F1 racing season. The two races will take place at Portimao on Saturday, April 4th and Sunday, April 5th and Price will be returning to the venue where he claimed his maiden F1 victory last May.
The sport's governing body has revised the format for this year's provisional nine rounds and teams will tackle two shorter races at each meeting, coupled with a pair of free practice sessions and two time trials to determine race start orders. Twenty points will be awarded to the winner of each race.
Price clinched last year's UIM World Championship title with one race to spare and teams up with Doha's Yousef Al-Khulaifi for a second season, as Team Qatar - which is managed by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani - bids to retain the UIM F1 Teams' Championship.
"I wish Yousef, Jay and all Team Qatar a safe and successful season of F1 racing," said Sheikh Hassan, who is also putting the finishing touches to his 2009 Class One racing programme. "Team Qatar is the World Champion. We know it will not be easy, but our team will try and retain the title."
"We are coming back with our same boat that we won the title with last season and I am happy with that since it did a great job for me a year ago," insists a revved-up Price. "It's almost like an old shoe, it fits well and I like it. However, I won't be able to sneak up on everyone this time around. My crew will be ready as we defend our title and hopefully grab another win in Portimao, or maybe two!"
Price has been busy in the close season getting his auto sales business back up and running in New Orleans. "I have not raced in the USA, because of my important commitments with the QMSF. It feels great to come back as the World Champion, but I feel all eyes will be on me for 2009, so I will need to present myself as champion. It will be much harder this year. When you are at the top everyone is gunning for you. My main rivals will be the same as last year - the Emirates Team, Team Sweden and the Red Devil Team, but I do feel that many other drivers will be a lot stronger this year."
The 11th Grand Prix of Portugal takes place on the Arade River and has attracted another strong field of racers keen to dislodge Price from the top echelon of world powerboat racing. Italian Guido Cappellini will be bidding to win his 10th UIM F1 title in a new DAC and has renewed enthusiasm to beat Team Qatar's Price and the Team Abu Dhabi duo of Ahmed Al-Hameli and Thani Al-Qamzi.
Finland's Sami Selio returns to try and win the title for a second time in three years with the Mad Croc F1 team and Sweden's Jonas Andersson heads the new Team Azerbaijan with a new DAC boat. There have been several changes in the driver line-up for the opening race, including a new Dragon boat, built by former World Champion Jonathan Jones, for Portugal's Duarte Benevente.
"It's great to be back with the new season," said Team Qatar's F1 manager Khalid Al-Kuwari. I have been busy in the close season with work in Doha and business at the QMSF, but we are ready and raring to go. It feels great to be starting as World Champions and we are optimistic that we can retain the title and make it all happen again.
"The new two-race format is interesting and new to everyone. Jay is ready for the big challenge and we are sure that Yousef will do much better this season after a full year gaining experience. Portimao is a great venue for an F1 race. It is popular with all the teams."
Race weekend gets underway on Friday, April 3rd with technical scrutineering and registration in Portimao, before Team Qatar is permitted to take to the water for the first time during the opening free practice session from 9.15hrs (local time) on Saturday morning. Free practice will be followed by the first time trial at 11.00hrs to determine qualifying order for the afternoon's first 30-minute race of the season, which fires into life at 14.15hrs.
There will be a second free practice session from 09.00hrs on Sunday morning and a second time trial from 10.30hrs to determine starting order for the second race, which begins at 14.15hrs.
"Portugal is a challenging course," admits Price. "I like the race here for many reasons. It is where I won my first Grand Prix last year, but it is a demanding course with its tight turns and long straights. It is a very fast course where an experienced driver can work his way through the traffic."
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).