F1 Qatar Team set to start Grand Prix of Portugal in sixth and 12th places
2007 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Portugal/Algarve, May 12th-13th, 2007
For immediate release
Saturday, May 12th, 2007
QATAR F1 TEAM SET TO START SUNDAY’S GP OF PORTUGAL IN SIXTH AND 12th PLACES
• Pole Position victory for Scott Gillman in season Grand Prix opener on the Algarve
• Accident damage in testing thwarts Massimo Roggiero’s challenge in Portugal
• Trim problems cost Qatar’s Leo Bonelli a position inside the top six
PORTIMAO (Portugal): The Qatar F1 Team will start Sunday’s 9th Grand Prix of Portugal/Algarve in sixth and 12th positions, after Saturday’s Pole Position competition and time trials in Portimao. Scott Gillman will start the opening round of the UIM F1 World Championship in Pole Position after a six-boat Shoot-Out.
American Price and newcomer Bonelli represented the Qatar Team in Portugal without the support of 42-year old Italian Massimo Roggiero. He had looked set to take part in his 13th season of top class powerboat racing and this morning’s time trials should have marked his 100th career start in this racing discipline.
But Roggiero damaged his new boat during last week’s test session in Italy and was not able to start the time trials this morning. The BaBa boats have been fitted with new crash boxes for the first time in Portugal. These boxes are fitted to the sides of the cockpit to give additional lateral protection to drivers.
New Orleans-based Price has only started six F1 races, but made a name for himself in the Qatar F2000 team. He was second in China last season and was relishing the start of this weekend’s action.
“I have an aggressive driving style,” said Price. “It stood me in good stead in F2000 and I am sure that it will do the same in F1. We have a new team manager in Pelle Larsson and I am confident that we have the right package to be competitive this year. We will see.”
Twenty-two drivers from 10 countries started the day’s action in ideal weather conditions on the Arade River in Portimao. Scott Gillman set the fastest timesof 42.39s in the first of the two time trials in his Emirates Team boat, with Sweden’s Jonas Andersson and Price (43.14s) following closely in second and third places. Australia’s David Trask and Italy’s Guido Cappellini completed the top five. Qatar’s Bonelli was running down in 19th position with a time of 52.58s after suffering problems with the trim on his BaBa.
The second time trial followed after the space of one hour and Cappellini set the fastest time from Thani Al-Qamzi and Sami Selio. Price and Bonelli were sixth and 11th overall. When the two times were compared, Cappellini, Gillman, Andersson, Al-Qamzi, Selio and Price made the Shoot-Out.
In the official one-hour free practice session on Saturday morning, former champion Cappellini set the pace with a fastest lap of 42.75s, with Gillman and Price in second and third places. Price’s time was encouraging, as was that of fifth-placed team mate Bonelli on his Qatar Team debut. Both Qatar drivers were comfortably quicker than the likes of the UAE’s Thani Al-Qamzi and Finland’s Sami Selio, with Price a mere 1.31 seconds behind the flying Cappellini.
Grand Prix race day (tomorrow) on Sunday starts with a driver’s briefing and free practice in the morning, with the Grand Prix of Portugal/Algarve 2007 firing into life at 14.00hrs (local time).
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