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Fifth place for Qatar Team in Boat GP of Russia

FORMULA 2000 UIM CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 5 - Grand Prix of Russia - Dubna, September 4-5th

For immediate release
Sunday, September 5th, 2004

QATAR TEAM TAKES FIFTH PLACE IN GP OF RUSSIA

Qatar's Jay Price plagued by engine problems; Britain's Owen Jelf takes Boat GP and Match Race wins

DUBNA (Russia): The Qatar Team's Jay Price finished fifth in the Boat GP of Russia, at the International Water Stadium in Dubna, to maintain his challenge for the overall 2004 Formula 2000 UIM Championship title today (Sunday).

Price, at the helm of a 2.0-litre DAC, enjoyed a mixed weekend's racing in Dubna after failing to compete in both the Match Race and Speed Record competitions, which were held on Sunday morning when poor weather conditions caused them to be rescheduled from Saturday afternoon.

In the absence of Doha-based team mate Mohamad Al-Ali, Price was solely responsible for continuing the run of excellent form shown so far this season by the Qatar Team in Boat GP races in Croatia, France and Latvia. A poor quality fuel used in the race boats ruined the team's chances of success in the Boat GP of Italy back in July.

The New Orleans-based racer arrived in Dubna a mere 10 points behind the Formula 2000 series leader Ivan Brigada, from Italy, and seven points adrift of Sweden's Jonas Andersson. Twenty-two teams entered the final European round of the series, including the UAE driver Arif Al-Zafeen.

Both the Match Race and Speed Record competitions were held on the second morning of the two-day meeting. Price was bidding to extend his slender lead over Britain's Owen Jelf and Brigada in the respective categories, but he was unable to register a competitive time in the first of Saturday's time trials, where strong winds prevailed. Andersson, Brigada and Britain's Mark Rolls set the quickest three times.

Price's build-up to a hectic Sunday's action was hindered still further when he sustained a pair of engine failures in warm-up and time trials in preparation for the Match Race, which was eventually won by British arch rival Owen Jelf.

~We are sure it was a fuel problem again,~ said Team Manager Mohamed Al-Jaidah. ~The fuel for the race boats arrived at the venue in an old truck and we were not the only team to suffer engine failures. The mechanics took the engine from Mohamad Al-Ali's boat, becaise we did not have much time to source the problem, and Jay was able to carry on. But we were not able to get the boat ready in time for the Speed Record or the Match Race.~

The Qatar Team's mechanics worked frantically over the next few hours to ready the boat for Boat GP qualifying and Price managed to put in a couple of quick qualifying laps, before he flipped the DAC upside down in a minor accident. The team again worked against the clock to repair the damage and Price duly lined-up for the Boat GP race in ninth position on the grid.

He managed to move up the field during the race to fifth position, where calmer conditions prevailed and the low sun caused visbility problems. The Boat GP was won by Britain's Owen Jelf, with Andersson, Rolls and
Brigade filling the top four positions. Andersson now moves ahead of Brigada in the Formula 2000 points tables with two Middle East races remaining.

~Under the circumstances we are pleased with the way the race went,~ said Qatar Team spokesman Dai Morgan. ~It was a race against time to get everything ready after the engine problems and Jay was lucky to make the start after a spectacular 360 degree roll in qualifying. We are never happy with fifth position, but at least we put some points on the board.~

The weekend's action took place on an impressive brand new six-point, 1905 metre course at the International Water Stadium, in Dubna, near Moscow, and was inaugurated on Saturday morning by Pyotr Katsiv, the Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Regional Government, and Valeriy Prokh, the Mayor of Dubna.

The Doha-based team now takes a well-earned breather from international competition before the Formula 2000 UIM series resumes in Abu Dhabi in November. QMSF President Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Tahni returns to Class One UIM action in Mumbai at the start of November, where he will be hoping to repeat his recent triumph in the Scandinavian Grand Prix.

Ends

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Date issued: 05/09/2004

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