F1 Qatar's Shaun Torrente claims last gasp pole position for Grand Prix of Middle East


Grand Prix of Middle East, Doha - round 3, November 13-15

For immediate release
Friday, November 14th, 2014


· Qatar’s Carella qualifies third; Chiappe deprived of first ever pole
· Al-Kuwari and Al-Obaidly third and fifth in F-4S; Szymura wins

DOHA (QATAR): The Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente and Alex Carella claimed pole position and third place for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Middle East, round three of the 2014 UIM F1 H2O World Championship, after a thrilling third qualifying session in Doha Bay on Friday afternoon.

Carella laid down the gauntlet from third place in the Q3 shoot-out with a second lap of 49.56sec, despite later complaining of a minor engine issue. That was surpassed within minutes by a lap of 49.16sec set by Philippe Chiappe, the Frenchman bidding to claim his first ever F1 pole position. But the Qatar Team’s Torrente was not to be denied and, in fading light on Doha Bay, Torrente carded a stunning time of 48.65sec on his first run to claim pole position.

“That was some finish, great to watch and very exciting,” said His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF).

“Alex maybe had a little issue with his boat, but then Philippe (Chiappe) posted that time of 49.16 and it looked as though that was enough. Then up stepped Shaun and he goes under 49 seconds. Incredible. It was a great spectacle and that sets the scene nicely for the race tomorrow.”

Qatar Team efforts to build two new Molgaard boats for the F-4S races paid off. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari and Mohammed Al-Obaidly qualified in second and fourth places for the first of the races, with Al-Kuwari missing out on pole position by a mere 8/100ths of a second.

After a battle with Australia’s Briney Rigby during the early stages of the 20-lap race, Al-Kuwari found a fast late rhythm and reached the chequered flag in third place after closing on runner-up Jan Andre Landsnes over the last few laps. Germany’s Mike Szymura claimed his third win from four starts and led from start-to-finish to extend his series lead to 36 points.


Five of the 16 entrants from 10 nations would be eliminated from the 20-minute Q1 session on the revised Doha Bay course. Kuwait’s Yousef Al-Rubayan set the early target time of 51.63sec before a yellow flag was raised when Caudwell Racing’s Ivan Brigada stopped on the racing line.

Qatar’s Torrente and Carella had already posted competitive times of 51.70sec and 52.12sec and returned to the pits to prepare for Q2. Action resumed with nine and a half minutes remaining.

Al-Rubayan’s earlier time wasn’t surpassed and Tomas Cermak, Duarte Benavente, Jesper Forss, Brigada and Bartek Marszalak were eliminated after Cantando posted a late time of 53.02sec to stay in the hunt for the shoot-out.

A further five drivers would fall by the wayside in Q2 leaving six boats to take part in a two-lap shoot-out for pole position. Torrente laid down the gauntlet with two stunning laps of 50.49sec and 49.97sec to book his place in Q3. Carella survived with a lap of 50.97sec, but Erik Stark, Xiong Ziwei, Sami Selio, Francesco Cantando and Filip Roms missed out.

Marit Stromoy posted a Q3 target lap of 52.37sec as Jonas Andersson took to the course for the first of his two laps and stopped the clocks on 49.86sec. Al-Rubayan recorded a 50.39sec before Carella entered the course and moved up to second with a first lap of 49.91sec before claiming provisional pole with a stunning time of 49.56sec.

As the sun set over Doha, Chiappe slotted into third with a time of 50.37sec and stunned Carella with an awesome second lap of 49.16sec. This left Torrente to try and deprive Chiappe of a first ever pole position and the American produced a stunning opening tour of 48.65sec to smash the opposition and claim pole position.

The Qatar Team dominated the first official practice session after Chiappe had set the early pace in his new boat. Torrente topped the one-hour stint with a best lap of 49.70sec, with Chiappe in second on 49.95sec and Carella in third (50.25sec), despite feeling the effects of a ‘flu virus.

Benavente borrowed the spare Francesco Cantando DAC boat to set the 13th quickest time after his original hull had delaminated during Thursday afternoon’s free practice.

Al-Rubayan was running as high as sixth before stopping on the racing line and forcing a yellow flag with just under 18 minutes of the session remaining.

F-4S Trophy – race one

Mike Szymura pipped Qatar’s Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari to pole position for the first of the Qatar races in the closing few minutes before the session was yellow flagged when Al-Kuwari stopped on the racing line with no fuel. Jan Andre Landsnes qualified third and Mohammed Al-Obaidly slotted into fourth.

“I was very happy with the time trials, the boat is perfect, much better,” said Al-Kuwari.

Szymura was not to be denied a third win of the season from four starts and, despite being pressured by Landsnes for much of the race, he reached the chequered flag with a winning margin of 17.34 seconds. Al-Kuwari lost second on the opening lap, slipped to fourth and eventually regained third after closing to within 1.31sec of Landsnes over the last few circuits. Al-Obaidly ran a lonely race in fifth position to claim valuable championship points.

Sterling work by the Qatar Team mechanics ensured that the pair of Danish-built Molgaards were ready for the first official practice session. Al-Obaidly and Al-Kuwari ran for nine and 16 laps respectively and set best times of 1min 05.28sec and 1min 06.44sec in a 20-minute session won by Szymura with a lap of 1min 02.28sec.

Tomorrow (Saturday) free practice precedes the second time trials and UIM F-4S race. The 2014 Grand Prix of Middle East takes centre stage on Doha Bay from 15.30hrs.

2014 Grand Prix of Middle East – qualifying results
1. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 48.65sec
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 49.16sec
3. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 49.56sec
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 49.86sec
5. Yousef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 GC Atlantic Team 50.39sec
6. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 52.37sec

2014 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – positions after round 3:
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 41 pts
2. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 36 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 32 pts
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 30 pts
5. Yousef Al-Rubayan (KWT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 24 pts
6. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 22 pts
7. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 9 pts
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Motorglass F1 Team 5 pts
8. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 5 pts

2014 Grand Prix of Middle East – F-4S Trophy race one results:
1. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team 20 laps
2. Jan Andre Landsnes (NOR) Motorglass F1 Team @ 17.34sec
3. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team @ 19.05sec
4. Briney Rigby (AUS) Team Sweden @ 40.33sec
5. Mohammed Al-Obaidly (QAT) Qatar Team @ 62.66sec
6. Bincheng Wu (CHN) China CTIC Team 1 lap behind
7. Ronny Mathys (SUI) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 3 laps behind
8. Mickus Sigitas (LIT) Team Nautica 4 laps behind

2014 F-4S Trophy – latest positions:
1. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team 75 pts
2. Briney Rigby (AUS) Team Sweden 39 pts
3. Jan Andre Landsnes (NOR) Motorglass F1 Team 36 pts
4. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 26 pts
5. Joakim Halvorsen (NOR) Team Nautica 21 pts
6. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden 20 pts
6. Mohammed Al-Obaidly (QAT) Qatar Team 20 pts
8. Nikita Lijcs (LVA) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 12 pts
8. Bincheng Wu (CHN) China CTIC Team 12 pts
10. Morgan Jernfast (SWE) Team Nautica 7 pts
10. Mohamed Al-Mehairbi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 7 pts
12. Rashed Al-Remeithi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 4 pts
12. Ronny Mathys (SUI) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 4 pts
14. Mickus Sigitas (LIT) Team Nautica 3 pts

2014 Grand Prix of Middle East - timetable of events

Saturday, November 15
09.15-10.15 F1 free practice
10.30-10.50 F-4S free practice
11.00-11.20 F-4S time trial
13.30-13.50 F-4S race two – 20mins
15.30-16.15 Grand Prix of Middle East
16.30 F1 and F-4S awards ceremony


For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com,
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases). Twitter: @LordPerkins



Date issued: 14/11/2014

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