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F1 Air pipe problems force Roggiero out of Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, round 5 of 6
December 8th, 2006

For immediate release
Friday, December 8th, 2006

AIR PIPE PROBLEMS THWART QATAR TEAM’S
CHALLENGE IN GRAND PRIX OF ABU DHABI

Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi victory for Italy’s Cappellini;
Boat damage forces Qatar Team’s Price to miss race

ABU DHABI (UAE): The Qatar Team’s Massimo Roggiero was forced to withdraw from the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, round five of the UIM F1 World Championship, after 35 laps with problems with the Mercury engine’s air pipe box.

The race was held off the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Friday and was won by Italy’s Guido Cappellini, who now heads to the final round of the season along the UAE coast in Sharjah next weekend to fight out a thrilling showdown with rival Scott Gillman for the 2006 UIM F1 World Championship title.

Cappellini began the race as he had left off in qualifying by setting the pace at the head of the field in the Tamoil Oil-backed DAC, with American Scott Gillman fighting to stay in his wake and maintain his slender World Championship advantage for the Emirates Team on the 2.23 km course.

Roggiero started the race immediately behind championship leaders Gillman and Cappellini on the grid, with the Como-based Italian on pole, courtesy of his domination of the time trials and a third consecutive pole position win. Cappellini now has a seven-point lead in the Pole Position Championship over Californian Gillman, with Qatar’s Roggiero moving up to equal third place, tied with Thani Al-Qamzi, prior to the final race of the year in Sharjah.

Roggiero was unable to hold on to third position from the start of today’s race in ideal race conditions and slipped behind the second Emirates Team driver Thani Al-Qamzi. The Qatar Team racer experienced minor problems with his Baba’s trim and began to slip into the clutches of Italian rookie Ivan Brigada as the race progressed.

A yellow flag incident put paid to Cappellini extending his advantage towards the mid-point of the race, as Roggiero continued to lose touch with the leading trio and slipped behind the German Fabian Kalsow in another Mercury-engined Tamoil DAC into seventh and then eighth position, before finally returning to the pits with engine-related problems, which were later traced to a pipe from the air box. Roggiero completed 35 laps and had slipped to 11th when he retired.

~Massimo started well, but then he had a problem with his trim and wasn’t able to push as hard as he wanted,~ said Mohammed Al-Jaidah, Head of Formula racing at the Doha-based Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). “He was not able to keep up with the leading boats and slipped back a little. Then we had this other problem and was forced to come back to the pits.

Over the closing laps of the tricky eight-point turn course, Cappellini managed to fend off Gillman to take a hard-earned victory and the pair now head to Sharjah set for what promises to be a thrilling winner-takes-all contest for the 2006 World Championship title. Al-Qamzi was third and Britain’s Andy Elliott was an unofficial fourth.

Roggiero had set the fastest time in the free practice session on Friday morning, posting a 51.64s lap, which was 0.54s quicker than Germany’s Fabian Kalsow. The Qatar Team performed miracles to repair Jay Price’s boat, following his spectacular flip during Thursday’s time trials, and the New Orleans-based racer posted a sixth-fastest time of 53.05s. He had been unable to complete Thursday’s time trials and was not able to make the start of today’s race, thus spoiling his chances of beating Brigada and Sweden’s Jonas Andersson to the ‘Rookie of the Year’award.

~We managed to get Jay back on the water this morning for some free practice, but there was still some damage to the boat and he was not able to start the Grand Prix,~ added Mohammed Al-Jaidah, after the second Qatar Team boat had been placed 25th at the back of the original starting line-up for the race.

2006 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – results (unofficial)
1. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil Team
2. Scott Gillman (USA) Emirates Team
3. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Emirates Team
4. Andy Elliott (GB) Atlantic Team
5. Jonas Andersson (S) Rainbow Team, etc

Ends

For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Qatar Mobile: + 974 5435185, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).

www.f1boat.com
www.qmsf.org

Date issued: 08/12/2006

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