Qatar Team forced out of Grand Prix of Italy
FORMULA 2000 UIM CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 3 - Grand Prix of Italy
For immediate release
Sunday, July 25th, 2004
QATAR TEAM FORCED OUT
OF GRAND PRIX OF ITALY
Engine failures wreck Qatar Team's Italian weekend;
Qatar's Jay Price takes second in Speed Record competition
MILAN (Italy): The Qatar Team suffered a major set-back in its quest to win the 2004 Boat GP World Championship by being forced to withdraw from the Grand Prix of Italy at the renowned Idroscalo Aquatic Park, near Milan, on Sunday.
Qatar Team members Jay Price and Mohamad Al-Ali began the weekend's action with a 16-point lead in the overall Boat GP championship over their nearest rivals the Pabri Tech Racing Team, headed by the Italian local favourite Ivan Brigada. No less than 27 drivers from 11 countries entered the event, including newcomers from Latvia, Hungary, Germany, Italy and the UAE debutant Arif Al-Zafeer.
But the Qatar Team suffered a catastrophic series of four engines failures over race weekend and this destroyed 40-year-old Mohamad Al-Ali's chances of qualifying and wrecked Jay Price's bid to bolster his personal Boat GP championship challenge. Price did, however, finish second overall in the Speed Record competition on Saturday.
~It is very disappointing~ said Doha-based Qatar Team Manager Mohamed Al-Jaidah. ~Mohamad had an engine fail in qualifying on Saturday and two engines go in total. That meant that he could not race at all over the weekend. Jay lost his first heat in the Match Race competition and then set the second fastest time in the Speed Record, but we lost one of his engines on Saturday and another failed on Sunday.
~We had two other engines with us, but these were new and need to be tried and tested. We didn't want to risk them in the Grand Prix. We are sure that all the failures were caused by a problem with poor fuel. Each unit will be stripped down and examined at the workshops in Hungary and we will make sure that we learn from this set-back and are fully prepared for the next race in Latvia.~
New Orleans-based Price won the Match Race in France last month and finished third overall in the F2000 Grand Prix race the following day. The Qatar Team star began this weekend's competition four points clear of Norway's Rich Hakonsen in the Match Race statistics, with Brigada and Britain's Mark Rolls tied for third position, a point ahead of England's Owen Jelf.
The Italian F2000 Speed Record holder Matteo Turati continued to lead this section of the competition. He arrived in Italy 11 points clear of Price and 13 ahead of Brigada, although Price leapt back into contention after his second place on Saturday. Brigada headed the Grand Prix competition from Price, Sweden's Jonas Andersson and Owen Jelf.
Held in conjunction with the Italian Motonautical Federation (FIM) and the Woodstock Yacht Club, the weekend's action took place over a 1600-metre, four-pin rectangular course. Time trials, free practice and the Match Race took place on Saturday, before the GP of Italy took place on Sunday afternoon. The next round of the series takes place in Riga, Latvia, in August.
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