F1 Jay Price takes third overall for Qatar team in Grand Prix of Portugal
2007 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Portugal/Algarve, May 12th-13th, 2007
For immediate release
Sunday, May 13th, 2007
QATAR F1 TEAM DRIVER PRICE TAKES EXCELLENT
THIRD OVERALL IN GRAND PRIX OF PORTUGAL
Thrilling first win of the season for America's Scott Gillman;
Qatar F1 team newcomer Leo Bonelli takes solid 10th position
PORTIMAO (Portugal): The Qatar F1 Team took excellent third and 10th positions in Sunday's Grand Prix of Portugal/Algarve, round one of the 2007 UIM F1 World Championship. Team mates Jay Price and Leo Bonelli filled those respective positions after an action-packed and incident-filled race, which was won by Scott Gillman of the Emirates Team.
Gillman enjoyed a race-long tussle with the Italian Guido Cappellini, Price, Finland's Sami Selio and Emirates team mate Thani Al-Qamzi over the early laps.
Price and Bonelli began the race in sixth and 12th places on the grid after Saturday's time trials in Portimao. Defending World Champion Gillman started the opening round of the UIM F1 World Championship in Pole Position in his Emirates Team boat, followed by Thani Al-Qamzi, Selio and Sweden's Jonas Andersson. Yellow flag incidents, traffic and close racing were a feature of the afternoon's race, but the Qatar Team were delighted with the result after a series of minor set-backs during race weekend.
Price had been unable to take part in Saturday's six-boat Shoot-Out competition, because of a gear casing problem and the loss of an engine part, but he was confident that he could make an impression from sixth place out of the 23 boats that started Sunday's race. Neither Price nor Cappellini therefore scored Pole Position Championship points.
Last year's world title contenders were the men to beat on this opening European race, with California's Gillman and Cappellini taking the initiative, although Thani Al-Qamzi, Price, Selio and Frenchman Phillipe Dessertenne were well-placed. The Grand Prix developed into a frantic tussle between the leading quartet, once Al-Qamzi had been forced out of the hunt with mechanical problems. Gillman, the defending World Champion, edged into a slender lead with a mere 12 laps remaining.
Cappellini managed to hold off the advances of Price in the Qatar Team BaBa, although one mistake by the American would have seen him fall into the clutches of the hard-challenging Selio. Bonelli was enjoying a spirited first GP with the Qatar Team in the lower reaches of the top 10.
Over the closing laps the leading quartet suffered anxious moments lapping slower boats, but Gillman held on to take maximum points from Capellini and Price sealed the Qatar Team's first podium of the season. Bonelli was delighted with eighth place, but was later awarded two penalty laps for destroying two buoys and duly slipped to 10th.
~It was one hell of a race and a great start to the new season, not just for the Qatar Team but for the entire championship,~ said Sweden's Pelle Larsson, the Qatar F1 Team Manager at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, which is run under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani in Doha.
~We have worked very hard over the weekend to overcome some minor setbacks and a podium for Jay and a good finish for Leo is a fitting reward for our efforts. It was a very close race and this bodes well for our chances this season.~
In Sunday morning's free practice session, both Price and Bonelli took advantage of their time on the Arade River to record the first and second fastest times overall. Price led the way with a fastest lap time of 44.41s during his 17-lap stint. This was a mere 0.12 seconds ahead of his young team mate. Phillipe Chiappe of France was their nearest rival and the UAE's Thani Al-Qamzi was fourth for the Emirates Team.
GP of Portugal - race results (unofficial)
1. Scott Gillman (USA) Emirates Team
2. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1
3. Jay Price (USA) Qatar F1 Team
4. Sami Selio (FIN) F1 Team Energy
5. Phillipe Dessertenne (F) China Charente Maritime
10. Leo Bonelli (I) Qatar F1 Team
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