F1 Q3 session at Grand Prix of France postponed on Lac Leman on safety grounds



19th Grand Prix of France, June 26-28


Boat damage thwarts Team Abu Dhabi’s David Del Pin at start of Q1; Al-Hameli crashes out of Q2
American Shaun Torrente fastest in first official free practice; Team Abu Dhabi’s Carella in third

ÉVIAN-LES-BAINS (FRANCE): Saturday, June 27: Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella will start Sunday’s 19th Grand Prix of France inside the top six, but the Q3 qualifying shoot-out at Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session and time trials on Lac Leman in Évian-les-Bains was postponed until Sunday on safety grounds.

Carella’s Team Abu Dhabi team-mate David Del Pin suffered front end damage to his Mercury-engined BaBa on the opening lap of Q1 and retired under a yellow flag. He will now start Sunday’s race near the rear of the field, along with the Austrian Bernt Enzelhofer.

Carella’s former team-mate Shaun Torrente pieced together a deal to run a Victory Team BaBa in the days building up to the race and the American also reached Q3 alongside Carella, Finland’s Sami Selio, Kuwait’s Youssef Al-Rubayan, Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe and Sweden’s Jonas Andersson.

Ahmed Al-Hameli of the Emirates Team flipped spectacularly in the dying seconds of Q2, whilst trying to improve on his seventh place and reach the final six-boat shoot-out. Fortunately the former Team Abu Dhabi driver was not injured in the incident, but his team faces a long night to repair his boat for Sunday’s race.

“We still have work to do to find the pace that we need to be truly competitive, but tomorrow is another day and we all hope for better water conditions,” said Carella.

Time trials

Eighteen of the 19 drivers lined up at the start of the three-stage qualifying session, but it was a disastrous start for Team Abu Dhabi’s David Del Pin, who pulled up on the opening lap and forced a yellow flag situation even before several of the entrants had taken to the course. Austria’s Bernt Enzenhofer of the Motorglass F1 Team was also sidelined in the incident.

Q1 eventually got underway in choppy and difficult water conditions and Torrente set the target lap of 54.98sec, with Carella and Ahmed Al-Hameli of the Emirates Team in close contention. Kuwait’s Youssef Al-Rubayan hit the front with a 54.33sec tour and safely reached Q2 with the fastest time for the F1 GC Atlantic Team. Jonas Andersson and Torrente were his closest challengers and Carella reached Q2 in ninth, but the session spelt the end of the road for Bartek Marzsalak, Ziwei Xiong, Marit Stromoy and Cedric Deguisne, as the field was reduced to 12.

A further six boats would be eliminated in Q2 to leave six boats for a two-lap shoot-out to determine pole position, but the session was yellow flagged almost immediately when Francesco Cantando stopped on the course and was towed to safety. Only a couple of minutes were lost and Al-Rubayan hit the front again with a 57.13sec lap. Carella moved up to third with 10 minutes remaining with a lap of 57.50sec.

Sami Selio, Torrente, Carella, Al-Rubayan, Chiappe and Andersson made it to the shoot-out, but Christophe Larigot, Filip Roms, Jesper Forss, Erik Stark and Ahmed Al-Hameli were eliminated, with Al-Hameli flipping spectacularly in the closing seconds and forcing the session to end under a yellow flag.

The decision was taken by race officials to delay Q3 until Sunday morning in the hope of running on smoother and safer water conditions.

Shaun Torrente of the Victory Team set the quickest lap of 47.50sec in the morning’s one-hour practice session on Lac Leman. Defending World Champion Philippe Chiappe had set the pace through the first half of the session with a lap of 48.43sec before the stint was yellow-flagged with Carella and Del Pin down in fourth and sixth places. Carella eventually moved up to third with a lap of 48.47sec, but Del Pin slipped to eighth.

Team Abu Dhabi is supported by Etihad Airways as the official carrier and sponsor and runs under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).

The team is managed by the Italian nine-time UIM F1 H20 World Champion Guido Cappellini and recruited the services of former Qatar Team engine builder Brendan Power shortly after the opening race in Doha in March.

Further free practice is permitted from 10.15hrs on Sunday and the Grand Prix of France fires into life at 15.00hrs.

2015 Grand Prix of France – Q3 line-up for Sunday:
1. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team
2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team
3. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi
4. Youssef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 GC Atlantic Team
5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team
6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden

- Ends -

For further media information and information about Team Abu Dhabi:
Please contact: Khalid Al Saadi, Media Incharge, Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, P.O. Box 45656, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Mobile Telephone: + 971 50 768 6761, E-mail: alsaadi@adimsc.ae.


Date issued: 27/06/2015

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