F1 Gillman confirms F1 World Championship in Sharjah

Grand Prix of Sharjah, round 6 of 6
December 15th, 2006

For immediate release
Friday, December 15th, 2006


Technical problems force Qatar Team's Price out of seventh place;
GP win for Thani Al-Qamzi; Qatar's Roggiero suffers engine problems

SHARJAH (UAE): Technical problems forced the Qatar Team's Jay Price out of the 7th Grand Prix of Sharjah, the final round of this year’s UIM F1 World Championship, as American Scott Gillman clinched the World Championship title for the Emirates Team in a dramatic final to the season on Khaled Lagoon in downtown Sharjah.

Emirates team mate Thani Al-Qamzi claimed the biggest result of his career with a stunning Grand Prix victory on home waters to confirm third overall in the UIM F1 Drivers' Championship.

The Qatar Team’s Jay Price and Massimo Roggiero began the day’s race in 11th and 12th on the grid, but all eyes were on the potentially-explosive clash between American Scott Gillman of the Emirates Team and his Italian rival Guido Cappellini from the Tamoil Team.

The pair headed into the race, tied on 65 points, and Cappellini held the advantage of a slightly better starting position on Khaled Lagoon in better weather conditions than they had faced in Thursday's time trials.

Gillman’s 28-year-old Emirates team mate Thani Al-Qamzi had taken Pole Position for the race – his first ever in F1 racing - after the six-boat Shoot-Out competition on Thursday.

Twenty-four boats began the race and Cappellini quickly headed into the lead, although a yellow flag slowed his progress shortly after the start, as the Italian was trailed by Al-Qamzi, Saudi Arabia's Laith Pharaon, Gillman, Australia's Bob Trask and Jay Price.

The Qatar Team driver had managed to climb five places in the opening laps and was already threatening the leaders, but luck deserted team mate Roggiero: the Italian was forced to return to the pits when his Mercury-engined Baba developed engine problems for the second successive day.

But drama was just around the corner for the defending World Champion. Cappellini slowed to a halt and Abu Dhabi driver Thani Al-Qamzi sped into the lead, as the Italian's title dream vanished on the blue waters of Khaled Lagoon.

Behind Al-Qamzi, Pharaon, Italy's Ivan Brigada, champion-elect Gillman and Sweden's Jonas Andersson were fighting for the remaining places on the podium, while Finland's Sami Selio pushed Qatar Team's Price into seventh place.

Over the closing laps, Pharaon crashed out of second place and this left Brigada, Andersson, Selio, the Australian Trask brothers – Bob and David - and Gillman as his nearest rivals.

The American was coasting around the course to preserve his place in the race and the points needed to confirm the title. He eventually finished seventh overall. But the Qatar Team's disappointing weekend reached a conclusion when Price was forced to return to the pits with mechanical problems.

~Massimo was forced to stop with engine problems, but Jay raced well early on today and managed to push his way up the leaderboard after the problems he had in the time trials on Thursday,” said Mohammed Al-Jaidah, Head of Formula racing at the Doha-based Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF).

~We just need to work a little on the reliability of the boats and we will be in a very strong position for the start of the new F1 season in 2007.~

In this morning’s final free practice session, Saudi Arabia’s Laith Pharaon set the fastest time of 53.80s, with Finland’s Sami Selio and Australian David Trask following closely behind.

Roggiero set the fifth fastest time of 55.25s on the six-turn course, although team mate Price was 11th in 56.45s. Arch rivals Gillman and Cappellini failed to shine, the pair deciding instead to save their speed and their boats for the small matter of the race itself.

Grand Prix of Sharjah – final positions (unofficial)
1. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE)
2. Ivan Brigada (I)
3. Jonas Andersson (S)
4. Sami Selio (FIN)
5. David Trask (AUS)
6. Bob Trask (AUS)
7. Scott Gillman (USA) – 2006 World Champion


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).


Date issued: 15/12/2006

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