F1 Qatar's Price faces race of his life in Sharjah after qualifying in fifth place

Grand Prix of Sharjah, UAE – December 9-10, round 8

For immediate release
Thursday, December 9th, 2010


· Pole Position for Italy’s Carella; Price’s rival Selio in third
· Qatar’s Andy Elliott set to start Sharjah race from 17th position
· Qatar’s Al-Shamlan seals sensational third in first F-4S race

· First blood to Qatar’s Jay Price with fastest lap in first practice

SHARJAH (UAE): Friday afternoon’s Grand Prix of Sharjah will decide the outcome of this year’s UIM F1 World Championship and Qatar’s Jay Price will start this final race of the season from fifth position after Thursday afternoon’s thrilling qualification session on Khalid Lagoon.

Price will be hoping to celebrate his 52nd birthday on Sunday with a second World Championship crown in three years. He takes a four-point lead over Finland’s Sami Selio into the race but his Finnish rival will start from third position on the pontoon along Sharjah’s Al-Buhaira Corniche. This was not the outcome that Price wanted and he faces a nervy race to the all-important first buoy in Friday’s showdown on the Gulf.

“It’s all to play for,” 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. “It would have been great to get the Pole Position, but it was not to be. Now we have to change the strategy and think about starting from behind and making sure we finish in front of Sami (Selio).

Qatar’s Khalid Saleh Al-Shamlan started his penultimate F-4S race of the season from fifth on the grid and managed to climb to a career-best third place. He now holds a comfortable sixth in the points’ standings with one race to run on Friday.

“We are also delighted with the performance of Khalid Shamlan in the F-4S race today,” added Al-Kuwari. “He started fifth and managed to get into third and stayed the course and drove very sensibly. We made some changes to the engine and he had more speed. This is very positive for him for the future.”

Qatar’s Andy Elliott celebrated his 55th birthday in Sharjah on Tuesday, but was not able to make the top 15 and the second qualifying session in his Dragon boat. He will provisionally start the final race of the season from 17th place.

Timed trials

Nineteen boats took to the water for the first qualifying session, although Marci Gambi was sidelined after his Abu Dhabi accident last weekend and Italy’s Ivan Brigada joined the fray in Team Skydive Dubai.

Four boats would be eliminated from the first 20-minute session, but Price quickly soared to the top of the leader board with a lap of 52.78s. Carella, Al-Hameli and Selio were within half a second of the Qatar Team driver, as Elliott took to the water in the middle of qualification one shortly before a yellow flag was raised.

The green flag was raised with around five minutes to go, but no-one was able to surpass Price’s time and Rinaldo Osculati, Elliott, Tomas Cermak and Francesco Cantando were eliminated from the timed trials before qualification two, with Elliott set to start Friday’s race from 17th position.

Five more drivers were to be eliminated in qualification two and Price set the early target time of 51.69s. Selio tried to pip his rival and got within 0.19s of the Qatar driver’s time on his fourth lap to hold second place, but he slipped behind Al-Hameli with several minutes remaining.

Davide Padovan, Fabian Kalsow, Phillipe Tourre, Fabio Comparato and Duarte Benavente failed to reach the final top-10 shoot-out, where Price needed to stay ahead of Selio at all costs.

Carella laid down the gauntlet with a 50.73s and Price settled into second with 51.77s, only for Al-Hameli and Brigada to pass the Qatar Team driver. He also slipped behind rival Selio and had it all to do in the closing five minutes. Matters were made even worse when Andersson managed to squeeze into fifth and push Price down to sixth position, but the Qatar driver reacted superbly to snatch back his fifth place immediately, just as the chequered flag was raised for the end of the session.

F-4S race 1

Newly-crowned UIM F-4S champion Oskar Samuelsson started on pole for the penultimate race of the season after setting the quickest lap of 54.84s in the morning’s qualifying session. Al-Shamlan was down in fifth position at the start of the race behind Stefan Hagin, Bimba Sjoholm and Filip Roms.

Al-Shamlan didn’t make the best of starts, but he managed to get back into fifth place by the start of lap three, as Roms and Hagin led the way and Samuelsson was sidelined. The Qatari managed to pass Al-Mansoori and snatch fourth on lap five and began to challenge Sjoholm for third position.

The Swede slipped down the order on the next tour of the shortened course and Al-Shamlan found himself running in the final podium position behind Roms and Hagin. He began to pull away from Al-Mansoori, as Hagin closed to within one second of Roms at the head of the field.

Hagin managed to pass Roms and take the lead after 13 laps, as Al-Shamlan maintained third position and continued to run in the final podium place to the chequered flag.

Hagin had set the fastest time in the morning’s free practice session, with Al-Shamlan down in eighth position with a fastest tour of 58.25s.

Official practice

Price got the two days of racing off to a perfect start by setting the fastest lap of 50.39s in Thursday morning’s free practice session. The World Championship leader ran for 21 laps and was 0.89s quicker than Team Mad Croc’s Alex Carella. Arch series rival Selio clocked the seventh fastest lap of 52.42s, while Price’s Qatar colleague Elliott was down in 18th with a 56.95s during a troubled four-lap stint on the water.

The F1 Grand Prix of Sharjah starts at 15.00hrs (Qatar time) on Friday afternoon and will decide the outcome of the 2010 UIM F1 World Championship. After a second free practice session for the F1 boats, the F-4S runners conclude their season with practice, timed trials and the second 20-minute race from 13.30hrs (Qatar time).

Grand Prix of Sharjah – timed trial results
1. Alex Carella (I) Team Mad Croc 50.73s
2. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) F1 Team Abu Dhabi 50.84s
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc 50.89s
4. Ivan Brigada (I) Team Skydive Dubai 51.14s
5. Jay Price (QA) Team Qatar 51.15s
6. Jonas Andersson (S) Team Azerbaijan 51.73s
7. Phillipe Chiappe (F) CTIC China Team 51.76s
8. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) F1 Team Abu Dhabi 52.35s
9. Pierre Lundin (S) CTIC China Team 52.98s
10. Marit Stromoy (N) Team Azerbaijan 53.52s
17. Andy Elliott (GB) Team Qatar

2010 UIM F1 Pole Position Championship – final standings
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) F1 Team Abu Dhabi 118 pts
2. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc 94 pts
3. Jay Price (QA) Qatar Team 81 pts
4. Alex Carella (I) Team Mad Croc 80 pts
5. Francesco Cantando (I) Singha F1 Racing Team 56 pts
6. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 22 pts
7. Phillipe Chiappe (F) CTIC China Team 20 pts
8. Jonas Andersson (S) Team Azerbaijan 17 pts
9. Fabio Comparato (I) 88 Doctor 14 pts
10. Duarte Benavente (P) F1 Atlantic Team 12 pts
11. Pierre Lundin (S) CTIC China Team 9 pts
11. Ivan Brigada (I) Team Skydive Dubai 9 pts
13. Davide Padovan (I) Rainbow Team 7 pts
14. Marit Stromoy (N) Team Ajzerbaijan 5 pts

2010 UIM F-4S Championship – standings after race 8 of 9
1. Oskar Samuelsson (S) Team Rainbow 124 pts
2. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc 89 pts
3. Bimba Sjoholm (S) Team Azerbaijan 81 pts
4. Stefan Hagin (D) Team Atlantic 79 pts
5. David Del Pin (I) Team 800 Doctor 69 pts
6. Khalid Saleh Al-Shamlan (QA) Qatar Team 50 pts
7. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) Team China 37 pts
8. Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 26 pts
9. Rashid Al-Tayer (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 21 pts
10. Matthew Palfreyman (GB) Team Nautica 17 pts
11. Kristoffer Fjelde (N) Team Singha 12 pts
12. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (N) Team Singha 8 pts


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



Date issued: 09/12/2010

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