F1 Pole position and fifth place for Qatar Team in Abu Dhabi qualifying session

20th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - round 6, December 8-9

For immediate release
Thursday, December 8th, 2011


· Shaun Torrente misses Q3 and qualifies 12th for Friday’s race
· Qatar’s Al-Shamlan qualifies third and finishes fourth in F-4S race
· Price and Carella dominate weekend’s first practice session

ABU DHABI (UAE): The Qatar Team’s Alex Carella and Jay Price will start the 20th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the penultimate round of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship, from pole position and fifth place at the Breakwater on the Corniche in the UAE’s commercial capital on Friday.

Needing to fend off the challenge of the host Team Abu Dhabi boats of Ahmed Al-Hameli and Thani Al-Qamzi, the duo had mixed fortunes in a thrilling final 15 minutes of qualifying, with Carella out in front from the start and Price forced to settle for fifth position behind his team-mate, Norway’s Marit Stromoy, Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli and Phillipe Chiappe.

“I am quite happy with a pole position and fifth,” said Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the (QMSF), which runs under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.

“The objective was to stay well ahead of Thani (Al-Qamzi) and we have achieved that. This was our goal. Ahmed (Al-Hameli) was very fast in the last two races and has nothing to lose, but Alex is in front of him. Now I would like to see Alex go out there and win the race tomorrow and Jay get as many points as possible.”

Qatar Team rookie Shaun Torrente settled well into his new team, qualified in 12th place but was upbeat about his chances on Friday. "I want to thank not only Khalid Al-Kuwari of the QMSF for bringing me on the team but my sponsors Peters & May for having faith in my programme and helping me make a run for Rookie-of-the-Year honours," said Torrente. “After qualifying today, I would love to push for sixth, seventh or eighth in the race on Friday.”

Qatar’s Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan qualified in third place for the first of the weekend’s two F-4S races, but slipped to fifth after the start and was unable to get back on terms with his closest rivals over the 20-minute race.

Victory fell to England’s Matthew Palfreyman, who overtook Sweden’s Bimba Sjolholm at the top of the points’ table when the Swede was penalised and slipped from second to fifth. Al-Shamlan maintains third in the series after being handed fourth place following Sjolholm’s infringement.

Qualifying and practice

Three of the 18 drivers would be eliminated in Q1 and the Qatar Team duo of Carella and Price were quickly into a top pace and held first and third with seven minutes to run. Torrente held ninth heading into the remaining five minutes of Q1, but Carella and Price had done enough to seal their place in Q2 with second and fifth places after Jonas Andersson surged through to win the stint late on. Torrente qualified in 10th place, but Valerio Lagiannella, Rhys Coles and Phillipe Tourre were eliminated.

The Qatar Team began Q2 strongly but were placed in second, fifth and 11th with four minutes remaining of the session. Carella was the fastest of the trio with a lap of 50.62s, although he trailed Phillipe Chiappe by 0.08s. Carella and Price qualified for Q3 in second and seventh places, but Rinaldo Osculati, Yousef Al-Rubayan, Duarte Benavente, Bartek Marszalek and Torrente missed the cut for the top 10.

Carella set the fastest time of the day of 50.06s to storm into the Q3 lead and Price moved up to third behind Al-Hameli before slipping behind Chiappe. But Carella extended his lead still further with a 50.04s and then a stunning 49.66s lap and held on to take a stunning pole position. Price qualified in fifth.

Eighteen entrants took to the Arabian Gulf course for the morning’s free practice session and Price and Carella dominated for the Qatar Team, with the 2008 World Champion running for 26 laps posting the session-winning tour of 51.75s. Carella was a mere 0.35s adrift of his colleague and Torrente was down in 10th position on his Qatar Team debut with a best tour of 53.86s.


Bimba Sjoholm was the fastest of the F-4S runners in the morning’s practice session, the Swedish championship leader running for just nine laps and posting a best time of 48.70s. Al-Shamlan slotted into third with a quickest tour of 49.27s of the eight runners in the ever-improving field.

It was a similar story in the qualifying session for the afternoon race – Sjoholm maintained the form she had shown in the early morning runs to claim pole position with a lap of 48.78s. Al-Shamlan earned third on the grid for the race behind Matthew Palfreyman, after running for 18 laps and posting a best time of 49.14s.

Palfreyman managed to sneak through to take the lead from Sjoholm on lap one and Al-Shamlan slipped to fifth behind the leading duo, Filip Roms and Xiong Ziwei. The Qatari began to pressurise the Chinese as the race progressed, as Sjoholm whittled Palfreyman’s lead down to just 0.89s after lap nine, having lapped two of the back-markers.

Al-Shamlan closed to within less than a second of the Chinese through lap 13, but the procession continued to the chequered flag, with Palfreyman claming the maximum points haul to close within four points of Sjoholm in the title race. Al-Shamlan finished fifth and maintained third in the championship, but Sjolholm was later penalised for hooking her boat at a turn buoy and slipped to fifth, her demise promoting Al-Shamlan to fourth and Palfreyman into the championship lead.

Friday’s action begins with F-4S practice at 09.15hrs. The second F-4S race is pencilled in for 13.30hrs and the 20th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi is set for lift off at 15.30hrs (14.30hrs Qatar time).

Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – qualifying results
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 49.66s
2. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 50.16s
3. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 50.33s
4. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 50.34s
5. Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team 50.55s
6. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 50.72s
7. Davide Padovan (ITA) Team Mad Croc F1 50.91s
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 50.96s
9. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 50.97s
10. Pierre Lundin (SWE) CTIC China Team 51.55s
12. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 51.84s

2011 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – standings after round 6
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 85 pts
2. Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team 68 pts
3. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 67 pts
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 43 pts
5. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 36 pts
6. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 35 pts
6. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 35 pts
8. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Sweden 20 pts
9. Davide Padovan (ITA) Team Mad Croc F1 12 pts
10. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 7 pts

2011 UIM F-4S Championship – standings after race 11 of 14
1. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Team Atlantic 150 pts
2. Bimba Sjolholm (SWE) Team Sweden 146 pts
3. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team 122 pts
4. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc 105 pts
5. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) Team China 93 pts
6. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica 65 pts
7. Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 33 pts
8. Christian Carlsen (NOR) Team Singha 23 pts
9. Kristoffer Fjelde (NOR) Team Singha 14 pts
10. Carl-Hampus Lundberg (SWE) Team Nautica 12 pts
11. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha 12 pts
12. Salem Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 3 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: 08/12/2011

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