F1 Qatar Team's Carella cruises to emphatic victory in home Grand Prix
2014 UIM F1 H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
10th Grand Prix of Qatar - round 1, March 12-15
For immediate release
Saturday, March 15th, 2014
QATAR TEAM’S ALEX CARELLA CRUISES TO
EMPHATIC VICTORY IN HOME GRAND PRIX
· Qatar’s Shaun Torrente loses race lead after electrical fire
· Second position for Frenchman Chiappe; Benavente in third
· Gusting winds force cancellation of second F-4S race in Doha Bay
DOHA (QATAR): The Qatar Team’s Alex Carella and Shaun Torrente produced a pair of top class performances to crush the opposition in Saturday’s Grand Prix of Qatar, round one of the 2014 UIM F1 H20 World Championship, on Doha Bay.
But Torrente’s run of cruel luck continued when he was forced to remove his DAC’s canopy within sight of the finish after a wire to the power steering caught fire. His abrupt demise handed the race win to his team-mate.
Torrente, a winner of his first ever F1 H20 Grand Prix in Qatar last November, hit the front on the opening lap and managed to fend off Carella, the eventual winning three-time World Champion, for 31 laps.
Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe finished second in his CTIC China Team Moore, Portugal’s Duarte Benavente was third, Italian veteran Francesco Cantando took fourth and Finland’s Filip Roms completed the top five.
There was a high rate of attrition in the difficult racing conditions. Pole sitter Sami Selio was sidelined on lap two, pole winner Jonas Andersson joined him a lap later with engine issues and Yousef Al-Rubayan and Erik Stark also retired early on.
“Obviously it would have been fantastic to get the one-two here and we showed that this could so easily have happened,” 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. “I feel for Shaun. His luck must change soon. We wanted to get maximum points with both drivers. But it was not to be.
“We had to be careful all weekend and not take any risks because we did not have a spare boat available. The third boat has been shipped to the US for testing purposes.”
“It was not so easy to catch Shaun at all,” said a triumphant Carella. “He had a very good pace. I did not know that I was ahead until the next lap because we were both in traffic passing other boats. This is a great result for me. A perfect way to start the year with a win in Qatar.”
Torrente was obviously disappointed: “We put a ridiculously amount of effort into this weekend and then we had a fire from the power steering wiring, there was smoke and I had to take the canopy off.”
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari and Mohammed Al-Obaidly were scheduled to start the second of the UIM F-4S races from fourth and sixth places, but race officials deemed that gusting westerly and north-westerly winds blowing across Doha Bay were too dangerous and the race for the rookies was cancelled after the drivers had waiting at the start pontoon for 15 minutes while the unfortunate decision was made.
GP of Qatar
Thirteen of the original 14 entrants started the race after Francesco Cantando took charge of Marco Gambi’s Motorglass F1 Team DAC at the rear of the field and Gambi was withdrawn.
Torrente and Carella began the race from second and third places after pole winner Jonas Andersson, winner of the Grand Prix of Qatar in 2008, was forced to change an engine after the morning’s practice session and slipped down to 11th. Sami Selio duly moved up to pole position. “It’s a shame for Jonas, You work so hard to get the pole and then you break an engine. We have all been there,” said Torrente.
After an inspection of the course and the changeable wind conditions, the contest was given the green light and Torrente made a superb start to displace Selio and edge into the lead of the 40-lap race from Carella and Selio.
Torrente extended his lead to 2.51sec on the second lap, but Selio ground to a halt on the course with technical problems, as Chiappe and Yousef Al-Rubayan moved up to third and fourth. Andersson and Al-Rubayan joined Selio on the list of retirements on the next lap, as Torrente continued to edge away from Carella.
By lap 10, Torrente’s lead was 3.06sec, but there were only nine boats remaining in the race; Erik Stark had retired on lap five. Chiappe maintained third and Duarte Benavente and Francesco Cantando rounded off the top five.
The Qatar Team duo were in a class of their own. Torrente led Carella by 4.08sec through lap 15 and the pair were comfortably clear of Chiappe, Benavente and the veteran Cantando.
Nine boats remained in the race at the halfway point and Torrente led by just over two seconds. The lead stretched to three and a half seconds after 28 laps and the Qatar duo remained well clear. But drama struck on the 32nd lap when a wire caught fire in Torrente’s cockpit and the Miami driver was forced to remove his canopy and retire from the race.
Carella was able to cruise to the chequered flag to begin the defence of his world title in perfect style. The Italian’s winning margin was 34.61 seconds over Chiappe, with Benavente rounding off the podium.
Carella and Torrente ran for 16 and 13 laps during the morning’s official practice session and clocked quickest laps of 42.42sec and 42.50sec to settle into second and third positions. Frenchman Philippe Chiappe topped the morning’s times with a lap of 41.99sec.
F-4S race 2
Latvia’s talented rookie Nikita Lijcs qualified on pole position for the third time in his career for the second of the UIM F-4S races.
Lijcs clocked a time of 47.52sec to snatch the positional advantage from race one winner Jesper Forss. Al-Kuwari lined up for the race in fourth and Al-Obaidly was sixth. But race officials cancelled the race on safety grounds with gusting winds affecting water conditions in Doha Bay.
10th Grand Prix of Qatar – results
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 40 laps
2. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team @ 34.61sec
3. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 GC Atlantic Team L1
4. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Motorglass F1 Team L2
5. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team L2
6. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica L3
7. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) China CTIC Team L3
8. Bartek Marszalek (POL) Motorglass F1 Team L3
2014 UIM F1 H20 World Championship – positions after round 1:
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 20 pts
2. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 15 pts
3. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 12 pts
4. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Motorglass F1 Team 9 pts
5. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 7 pts
6. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 5 pts
7. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) China CTIC Team 4 pts
8. Bartek Marszalek (POL) Motorglass F1 Team 3 pts
2014 F-4S Eurofin Trophy – positions after round 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
8. Bincheng Wu (CHN) China CTIC Team 0 pts
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