F1 Qatar's Carella and Torrente qualify second and fifth for Sharjah showdown
2014 UIM F1 H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
15th Grand Prix of Sharjah - round 5, December 18-19
For immediate release
Thursday, December 18th, 2014
QATAR’S CARELLA AND TORRENTE QUALIFY SECOND AND
FIFTH FOR FRIDAY’S SHARJAH TITLE SHOWDOWN
· Series leader Philippe Chiappe snatches pole position
· Alex Carella claims 2014 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position title
· Torrente and Carella fastest in first practice session for Qatar
· Al-Kuwari claims F-4S pole and takes first win; Szymura seals title
SHARJAH (UAE): The Qatar Team’s Alex Carella and Shaun Torrente qualified in second and fifth positions for what promises to be a fascinating showdown for the UIM F1 H2O World Championship title at Friday’s 15th Grand Prix of Sharjah on Khaled Lagoon.
Outright victory in Friday’s race will give Carella the title, but his team-mate needs to win and hope that pole position winner and series leader Philippe Chiappe does not finish second. Fractions of a second separated the leading six drivers throughout the three qualifying sections and this sets up the prospect of fireworks at the final race of the season.
The lead in qualifying swapped all afternoon, but Chiappe’s flying lap of 44.33sec in the Q3 shoot-out swung the advantage in the Frenchman’s favour heading into the race on Friday. Carella’s second place was sufficient for the Qatar Team driver to secure the UIM F H2O Pole Position Championship by a single point, but Torrente will start the race from fifth after suffering fuel problems in Q3.
“It is going to be very difficult for us now. Philippe was fast out there and this changes our strategy,” said Khalid bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). “Now the start is so important. Alex will need to try and hunt Philippe down at the first turn and try and get the lead. I am sure that Shaun will also be pushing hard and trying to make up the time. He had fuel feed problems in the Q3 qualifying and was not able to push hard.
“On a positive note, the whole team is delighted that Khalid (Al-Kuwari) secured his first win in F-4S and I am sure he will be pushing hard again on Friday. There is little damage to Mohammed’s (Al-Obaidly) boat, so he will be okay for the next race.”
Qatar’s Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari and Mohammed All-Obaidly qualified on pole position and in sixth place for the first of the weekend’s two F-4S Trophy races. Al-Obaidly was sidelined after an accident on the first turn after the rolling start lap, but Al-Kuwari went on to reach the chequered flag in front of all his rivals to claim a maiden F-4S victory and the biggest result of his career.
Germany’s Mike Szymura claimed the 2014 F-4S Trophy Championship title with one race to spare.
Never had pole position been more important than at the 15th Grand Prix of Sharjah on Thursday. Chiappe and Carella knew that an outright win would give them the world title, but they had to negotiate the Q1 session first – 20 minutes where the slowest four boats would be eliminated on the 2.2km, five-pin course.
Carella set the early pace with a lap of 47.97sec and that was matched by Ahmed Al-Hameli. Torrente surpassed the time with a tour of 46.65sec to virtually secure his place in Q2. Chiappe was quickest at the end of the 20-minute stint with a lap of 46.28sec, but Bartak Marszalak did not start and was joined by Duarte Benavente, Marit Stromoy and Jesper Forss on the list of eliminations.
Sami Selio laid down the gauntlet with a lap of 46.92sec at the start of Q2 and moved in front of Carella, Al-Hameli and Torrente with 15 minutes remaining. But Carella hit back with a time of 46.18sec, as Torrente slipped to seventh and needed to speed up in the remaining 10 minutes to get back into the top six.
Torrente eventually won the Q2 session with a last minute lap of 45.75sec and was joined in the shoot-out by Chiappe, Al-Hameli, Sami Selio, Jonas Andersson and Carella. Ziwei Xiong, Yousef Al-Rubayan, Filip Roms, Thani Al-Qamzi, Erik Stark and Francesco Cantando failed to reach Q3.
Al-Hameli set the target time of 47.53sec on his only lap and that was beaten by Selio’s second lap of 46.56sec. But Sweden’s Andersson was even faster on his opening lap and improved still further on his second tour to clock a 45.55sec.
The championship top three remained and Carella was first up. He stormed to the top of the rankings with an opening lap of 45.24sec and improved with a second lap of 45.12sec. Chiappe was not to be denied and the Frenchman slammed the door on Carella with a tour of 44.33sec.
But Torrente struggled to an opening time of 47.94sec and opted for a second run in a desperate attempt to claim pole, but the disappointed Qatar driver only improved to 47.15sec and settled into fifth position.
The Qatar Team had made their statement of intent as early as the official practice session on Thursday morning. Torrente and Carella ran for 33 and 36 laps respectively and Torrente topped the session times with a hot lap of 45.33sec. It was the first psychological blow for the American, but Carella and Chiappe were a mere 0.14sec and 0.16sec behind. The three were the class of the 16-boat field.
F-4S race one
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari and Mohammed Al-Obaidly continue to improve at every race they tackle and Al-Obaidly won the morning’s free practice session with a quickest lap of 56.69sec. He couldn’t repeat the feat in the time trials, however, and it was Al-Kuwari who claimed pole position with a lap of 57.18sec to head Bingchen Wu and series leader Mike Szymura into the 20-lap race. Al-Obaidly lined up in sixth of the nine starters.
Al-Kuwari has struggled from the start in recent races and he fell behind his Chinese rival on the start lap. Al-Obaidly climbed to fifth, but the yellow flag was raised soon afterwards after the Qatari flipped his boat out of contention. Four laps later the green flag was raised and Al-Kuwari regained the race lead from Wu, Szymura and Briney Rigby.
The Qatari maintained a lead of 3.2sec over Szymura through lap nine and retained his composure through the middle of the race and into the latter stages to snatch his first ever F-4S victory and the best result of his career. Second place for Szymura was sufficient for the German to claim a second successive F-4S Trophy title. Rigby came home in third place.
Further free practice and F-4S time trials are scheduled for Friday morning and the final F-4S Trophy race fires into life at 14.30hrs. The Grand Prix of Sharjah will bring down the curtain on the season from 16.00hrs (15.00hrs Qatar time).
2014 Grand Prix of Sharjah – qualifying results:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 44.33sec
2. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 45.12sec
3. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 45.55sec
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 46.56sec
5. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 47.15sec
6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 47.53sec
2014 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – final positions:
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 63 pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 62 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 54 pts
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 48 pts
5. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 44 pts
6. Yousef Al-Rubayan (KWT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 24 pts
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 14 pts
8. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Nautica 12 pts
9. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 9 pts
10. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Motorglass F1 Team 5 pts
10. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 5 pts
2014 F-4S Trophy – Sharjah race 1 result:
1. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 20 laps
2. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team @ 3.34sec
3. Briney Rigby (AUS) Team Sweden @ 8.26sec
4. Ronny Mathys (SUI) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team @ 33.37sec
5. Mickus Sigitas (LIT) Team Nautica @ 42.37sec
6. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi L1
7. Jan Andre Landsnes (NOR) Motorglass F1 Team L1
Bingchen Wu (CHN) China CTIC Team DNF
Mohammed Al-Obaidly (QAT) Qatar Team DNF
2014 F-4S Trophy – latest positions:
1. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team 134 pts
2. Briney Rigby (AUS) Team Sweden 106 pts
3. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 68 pts
3. Jan Andre Landsnes (NOR) Motorglass F1 Team 68 pts
5. Mohammed Al-Obaidly (QAT) Qatar Team 48 pts
6. Bingchen Wu (CHN) China CTIC Team 24 pts
7. Ronny Mathys (SUI) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 23 pts
8. Joakim Halvorsen (NOR) Team Nautica 21 pts
9. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden 20 pts
10. Mickus Sigitas (LIT) Team Nautica 19 pts, etc
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases). Twitter: @LordPerkins