F1 Torrente and Carella qualify third and fourth for GP of Qatar
2014 UIM F1 H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
10th Grand Prix of Qatar - round 1, March 12-15
For immediate release
Friday, March 14th, 2014
TORRENTE AND CARELLA QUALIFY IN THIRD AND
FOURTH FOR OPENING GRAND PRIX IN QATAR
· Pole Position in Doha falls to Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson
· Fourth and sixth for Al-Kuwari and Al-Obaidly in F-4S race
· Team Sweden’s Jesper Forss wins first F-4S race; Landsnes rolls
· Torrente wins practice session for Qatar with lap of 46.37sec
DOHA (QATAR): The Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente and Alex Carella began the defence of the host nation’s UIM F1 H20 World Championship crown on Doha Bay on Friday afternoon and the pair qualified in third and fourth positions for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Qatar.
The dominant force in single hull marine sport racing last season, the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF)-supported team has left nothing to chance in the close season and the newly-liveried DACs were in fine form, but the Qatar pair were not able to stop Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson from claiming pole position with a lap of 41.34sec and two-time World Champion Sami Selio of Finland from taking second position.
“Third and fourth puts us in a good position for tomorrow, although it would have been nice to start the year with pole position, especially here in Qatar,” said Khalid bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) that runs under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.
“The conditions were changeable out there,” said Torrente. “I wasn’t too unhappy with Q3 but I struggled to find some clear water for Q2. Jonas (Andersson) was fast all day to be fair to him, but I am looking forward to the race now.”
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari and Mohammed Al-Obaidly entered two boats in the first of two Doha races that kick-started the 2014 UIM F-4S Championship for the Eurofin Trophy.
After struggling in morning practice and qualifying in fourth and seventh positions, the Qatari duo finished the first of the weekend’s races in fourth and sixth. Team Sweden’s Jesper Forss drew first blood with a 1.81-second win over defending champion Mike Szymura of Germany. Norwegian Jan Andre Landsnes barrel-rolled out of fourth place.
In the absence of Team Abu Dhabi and Caudwell Racing, 14 drivers from 10 countries lined up for the opening race of the season. An hour’s free practice was permitted on Friday morning after the extra session on Thursday had been cancelled.
The stint was yellow-flagged at the start while a turn buoy was positioned correctly and, when the action was given the green light, Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson set the target lap of 47.10sec. Torrente and Carella ran for 30 and 25 laps and Torrente topped the times in the dying minutes with a flying lap of 46.37sec.
The leading five protagonists in the title race all showed their hands early with top six practice times. It set the scene for a potentially thrilling qualifying session. Four boats would be eliminated in Q1, another four in Q2 and the top six would go through to the Q3 shoot-out.
Drivers were permitted several minutes extra practice after the course was slightly revised. Yousef Al-Rubayan was in good form early on and set the target time of 44.55sec, only for Jonas Andersson to steal top spot with a flier of 43.32sec. Torrente and Carella were clearly struggling in sixth and 10th positions until the Italian nailed a lap of 44.20sec and climbed to third and was then displaced by Torrente.
Andersson won the 20-minute Q1 session with that lap of 43.32sec, with the Qatar Team duo in third and fifth places. Marco Gambi, Bartek Marszalek, Erik Stark and Francesco Cantando failed to reach Q2.
Four more drivers would be eliminated in Q2. Andersson leapt to the top of the leader board again with a tour of 42.42sec as just over one second separated the top seven. The Swede won the session with that lap at the chequered flag, as Ziwei Xiong, Marit Stromoy, Filip Roms and Duarte Benavente were eliminated. Carella and Torrente reached the six-boat shoot-out with the third and fifth quickest times.
Philippe Chiappe set the target time of 43.43sec on his first lap. Torrente was next up for the host nation and posted a storming time of 41.72sec to snatch the lead and then improved with a time of 41.44sec.
Sami Selio clocked 41.81sec on his opener and then slipped ahead of Torrente with a stunning time of 41.41sec. Carella’s first lap of 42.03sec fell just short and he was not able to improve on his second run and slipped into the rankings behind Selio and Torrente.
Yousef Al-Rubayan was next on to the water and the Kuwaiti recorded an opener of 46.25sec but an improved second tour of 43.77sec was not enough. Andersson was the only driver left to go and he snatched pole in dramatic fashion with a flying first lap of 41.34sec.
Sweden’s Jesper Forss qualified on pole position for the first of the weekend’s two F-4S races. The Team Sweden driver edged top spot by 0.36sec from the talented young Latvian Nikita Lijcs and gained the best starting position for the 20-minute race.
Both Qatar Team drivers had struggled in the earlier free practice and Al-Kuwari was pushed down into fourth during the timed trials by defending champion Mike Szymura of Germany. Al-Obaidly started the race from seventh in the number 96 boat.
Forss and Szymura were the class of the field from the start and began to pull away from the rest, as a battle developed between Nikita Lijcs and Jan-Andre Landsnes for third. The race became a procession for 13 laps until Landsnes barrel-rolled out of fourth place at the end of lap 14 and forced a yellow flag.
The remaining five laps saw the six boats tightly bunched, but Forss held on to take the win from Szymura, with the Qatar duo of Al-Kwsari and Al-Obaidly scoring points for fourth and sixth.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the timetable kicks off with free practice for the F-4S drivers from 09.00hrs and then Carella and Torrente take to the water from 10.00hrs. The second of the F-4S races for the Eurofin Trophy takes centre stage at 14.00hrs and the 2014 Grand Prix of Qatar begins at 15.45hrs.
10th Grand Prix of Qatar – qualifying results
1. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 41.34sec
2. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 41.41sec
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 41.44sec
4. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 42.03sec
5. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 43.43sec
6. Yousef Al-Rubayan (KWT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 43.77sec
2014 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – positions after round 1
1. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 20 pts
2. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 15 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 12 pts
4. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 9 pts
5. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 7 pts
6. Yousef Al-Rubayan (KWT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 5 pts
2014 F-4S Eurofin Trophy – positions after race 1
1. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Forss 20 pts
2. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team 15 pts
3. Nikita Lijcs (LVA) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 12 pts
4. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 9 pts
5. Morgan Jernfast (SWE) Team Nautica 7 pts
6. Mohammed Al-Obaidly (QAT) Qatar Team 5 pts
7. Jan Andre Landsnes (NOR) Motorglass F1 Team 4 pts
Bincheng Wu (CHN) China CTIC Team DNS
10th Grand Prix of Qatar - timetable of events
Saturday, March 15
09.00 – 09.20 Free practice
09.30 – 09.50 F-4S time trials
10.00 – 11.00 F1 Free practice
14.00 – 14.20 F-4S race 2
15.45 – 16.30 Grand Prix of Qatar
16.45 Prize giving podium
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