F1 Qatar Team makes final preparations for 12th Grand Prix of Portugal
2010 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Portugal, Portimao – May 8th-9th, round 1 of 8
For immediate release
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
QATAR TEAM MAKES FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR
THIS WEEKEND’S 12th GRAND PRIX OF PORTUGAL
· Qatar’s Jay Price aims for second world title in three years
· Experienced Andy Elliott bolsters Qatar Team’s title bid
· Single race format and new time trial set-up for 2010 series
PORTIMAO (Portugal): The Qatar F1 Team starts its campaign for success in the 2010 UIM F1 World Championship in Portimao this weekend. Former World Champion Jay Price and Qatar Team colleague Andy Elliott will take part in Sunday’s 12th Grand Prix of Portugal on the Arada River on Portugal’s Algarve coast.
The team have left nothing to chance in their pre-season preparations for the revised eight-round series, which features only one race per meeting this year, instead of the two-race format used for the first time in 2009.
“We carried out some testing in Doha in March and that allowed us to refine some of the systems and get ourselves prepared for the new season,” enthused Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, Head of Formula Racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), which is run under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani.
“It enabled Jay to get some time in the boat and the team to ensure that we had everything ready for Portugal. Brendan Power, our engine guru and Jay’s engineer, has worked hard on the engine set-up and we are confident that we have the balance between performance and reliability right to be competitive from the start of the season. Andy will give us that extra experience. Both he and Jay will be able to share their knowledge, but we need to put some points on the board this weekend.”
Price won the world title in 2008 and claimed outright victories last season in Finland, Russia and the UAE. He finished fourth in the overall title race in 2009 and second in the UIM F1 Pole Position Championship, but is confident that he can claim a second overall title in 2010.
“I’m raring to go now,” enthused Price. “Guido (Cappellini) has retired now, but there are many strong drivers out there this time and they will all be looking to capitalise on the first round and make a good start to the season. I suppose the pressure is on me to get good results and to finish first or second. It’s going to be so important to gain points on every round this year and the early rounds can be a big boost to the team’s moral if you finish well. Both Andy and I are working for the same goals - to finish strong, to collect points and to keep the Qatar Team at the head of the championship and in the media headlines.”
Elliott, 54, has just recovered from serious injuries sustained in an accident last season and the Briton is determined to start the year with a positive result. “I suppose I am a little apprehensive, as I am not back to full fitness just yet,” said Elliott. “I will do my best and try not to take any risks on the first two races. Safety is the most important aspect to me now.”
Elliott was unable to practice in the build-up to the Portugal race, but admitted that this had given him more time to recuperate. “I think that the Qatar Team can win the title this year. Jay has a chance of the Drivers’ title, but I will need to perform some miracles with my older Dragon boat and standard engines.
“It is more important than ever that we have a reliable set-up, because there is only one race per weekend this year. The UIM has introduced new measures to make us all more reliable and closer to each other in terms of performance. We now have rev limiters and the UIM changes have reduced the necessary budgets.”
The Grand Prix of Portugal gets underway with scrutineering and registration on Friday morning, before drivers are permitted to take to the water for the first time for a one-hour free practice session from 10.30hrs (12.30hrs Qatar time) on Saturday. The Qatar Team will then have three and a half hours to finalise the race set-up after practice before the all-important time trials fire into life from 15.00 hrs (17.00hrs Qatar time).
A new FIA Formula One-style elimination format for the time trials will determine the starting order for Sunday’s 12th Grand Prix of Portugal, which gets underway at 14.00hrs (16.00hrs Qatar time), although teams will be allowed to carry out a further one hour of free practice on Sunday morning.
For further information:
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