F1 Shaun Torrente sets Doha alight with victory in action-packed Grand Prix of Middle East
2014 UIM F1 H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Middle East, Doha - round 3, November 13-15
For immediate release
Saturday, November 15th, 2014
QATAR TEAM’S SHAUN TORRENTE SETS DOHA ALIGHT WITH
VICTORY IN ACTION-PACKED GRAND PRIX OF MIDDLE EAST
· Qatar’s World Champion Carella strikes turn buoy and retires
· Second place for Frenchman Chiappe; third for Finn Selio
· Kuwait’s Al-Rubayan rolls out; fires sideline Forss and Xiong
· Al-Obaidly and Al-Kuwari fourth and fifth in F-4S; Szymura on top
DOHA (QATAR): The Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente sealed victory from pole position in an action-packed and enthralling Grand Prix of Middle East, round three of the 2014 UIM F1 H2O World Championship, in Doha Bay on Saturday afternoon.
Torrente led from the start and survived three yellow flag incidents to claim victory for the Qatar Team by the margin of 10.32 seconds, but Qatar Team colleague Alex Carella swiped a turn buoy and retired. Frenchman Philippe Chiappe kept his title challenge alive with second position to close to within 10 points of Carella and Finland’s double World Champion Sami Selio finished third.
Kuwait’s Yousef Al-Rubayan barrel-rolled out of contention and fire damage forced both Sweden’s Jesper Forss and China’s Xiong Ziwei out of the thrilling race.
“The object of getting the pole is to get a good clean run from the start to the first turn and then have a smooth run. All the hard work is done before the race,” said a delighted Torrente. “It’s then a matter of staying put of trouble. Every yellow flag I was thinking, oh no not again. But the conditions were good and I was able to pull away again each time. I have an awesome feeling right now. I am so happy.”
“This race had everything for the crowd,” said Khalid bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). “It had fires, accidents and a fantastic result for Shaun and our team. The championship is wide open and it’s still all to play for.”
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari and Mohammed Al-Obaidly began the second 20-lap UIM F-4S Trophy race from pole and fifth positions but it developed into a disappointing race for the Qatar Team duo. Al-Obaidly crossed the finish line in fourth and Al-Kuwari slipped to fifth. Germany’s Mike Szymura claimed his fourth win from five starts to extend his UIM F-4S Trophy series lead to 41 points.
Grand Prix of Middle East
Fifteen drivers from 10 nations started the 36-lap race on Doha Bay. Kuwait’s Yousef Al-Rubayan was forced to start from 12th in the main field after changing an engine, with rookie Jesper Forss setting out five seconds behind in his first F1 H2O season. Duarte Benavente was a non-starter.
Torrente and Carella stormed away from the start pontoon from pole and third positions and it was Torrente who led through the first acute left-hand turn on to the course proper, as Chiappe came under pressure from Carella on lap one.
Torrente extended his lead to 3.78 seconds through lap five, as UIM F2 champion Stark climbed from 13th to sixth behind Torrente, Chiappe, Carella, Francesco Cantando and Yousef Al-Rubayan. The race was yellow-flagged after seven laps when the engines on both Xiong Ziwei’s and Jesper Forss’s boats caught fire almost simultaneously.
Action resumed on lap 11 of 36. Torrente stayed ahead and Carella sneaked inside Chiappe into the left-hand turn by the Corniche. But the race was yellow-flagged again soon afterwards when Al-Rubayan clipped a rogue wave and barrel-rolled spectacularly through the corner.
Al-Rubayan’s wrecked boat was removed from the course and the green flag was raised on lap 16. Torrente held off a fierce Carella challenge from the restart and headed into lap 17 with a lead of 1.88sec. But Carella crashed into a buoy at turn five, forced a third yellow flag and was forced out of the race.
Racing resumed again on lap 21 and Torrente stayed out in front and extended his lead over Chiappe to 2.50sec through lap 24. The gap was 6.97sec after 30 laps but Torrente was not to be denied and he stayed out of trouble over the final six laps to reach the chequered flag and record his second ever GP victory.
Carella was fastest in the morning’s practice session with a time of 50.38sec, but Torrente opted to carry out some practice starts and testing rather than lap times in the slightly windier morning conditions on Doha Bay.
F-4S Trophy – race two
Al-Kuwari claimed pole position for the race with a best lap of 1min 02.73sec, the Qatari’s performance pushing runaway series leader Mike Szymura down to second place on the grid. Al-Obaidly qualified in fifth.
“I felt confident in practice and it worked out perfectly in the time trial,” said Al-Kuwari. “It was a good start, but the goal is to keep it going for the race.”
Al-Kuwari made a ‘fast’ start, but the Qatari was soon passed by Szymura in any case and he began to edge clear of the Molgaard driver. As the German pulled away from the field, Al-Kuwari slipped behind Rigby and then Landsnes and was running in fourth when a roll involving Ronny Mathys forced a yellow flag on lap 13.
After the restart, with four laps to go, Szymura held off Rigby to take the chequered flag and his fourth win from five starts. Landsnes rounded off the podium and Al-Obaidly and Al-Kuwari reached the finish in fourth and fifth places.
Al-Kuwari ran the new Molgaard for 10 laps in Saturday morning’s free practice session and topped the times with a lap of 1min 02.90sec. Al-Obaidly slotted into fourth with a lap of 1min 03.76sec.
2014 Grand Prix of Middle East – results
1. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 36 laps
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team @ 10.32sec
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team @ 14.77sec
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden @ 17.74 sec
5. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Motorglass F1 Team @ 23.49 sec
6. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Nautica @ 25.60 sec
7. Ivan Brigada (ITA) Caudwell Racing 1 lap behind
8. Bartek Marszalek (POL) Motorglass F1 Team 1 lap behind
9. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 1 lap behind
10. Tomas Cermak (SVK) Caudwell Racing 2 laps behind
11. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 3 laps behind
2014 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – positions after round 3 of 5:
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 40 pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 30 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 29 pts
4. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Nautica 20 pts
5. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Motorglass F1 Team 16 pts
6. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 15 pts
7. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 13 pts
7. Bartek Marszalek (POL) Motorglass F1 Team 13 pts
9. Thani Al-Qamzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 12 pts
9. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 12 pts, etc
2014 Grand Prix of Middle East – F-4S Trophy race two results:
1. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team 20 laps
2. Briney Rigby (AUS) Team Sweden @ 3.92sec
3. Jan Andre Landsnes (NOR) Motorglass F1 Team @ 11.61sec
4. Mohammed Al-Obaidly (QAT) Qatar Team @ 48.71sec
5. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 1 lap behind
6. Mickus Sigitas (LIT) Team Nautica 1 lap behind
7. Bincheng Wu (CHN) China CTIC Team RET
Ronny Mathys (SUI) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team RET
2014 F-4S Trophy – latest positions:
1. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team 95 pts
2. Briney Rigby (AUS) Team Sweden 54 pts
3. Jan Andre Landsnes (NOR) Motorglass F1 Team 48 pts
4. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 33 pts
5. Mohammed Al-Obaidly (QAT) Qatar Team 29 pts
6. Joakim Halvorsen (NOR) Team Nautica 21 pts
7. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden 20 pts
8. Bincheng Wu (CHN) China CTIC Team 16 pts
9. Nikita Lijcs (LVA) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 12 pts
10. Mickus Sigitas (LIT) Team Nautica 8 pts
11. Morgan Jernfast (SWE) Team Nautica 7 pts
11. Mohamed Al-Mehairbi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 7 pts
13. Rashed Al-Remeithi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 4 pts
13. Ronny Mathys (SUI) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 4 pts
For further information:
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www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases). Twitter: @LordPerkins