F1 Ninth place for Leo Bonelli in Grand Prix of Shenzhen
2007 UIM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - POWERBOATS
Grand Prix of Shenzhen, China – October 21st, round 4 of 8
For immediate release
Sunday, October 21st, 2007
QATAR F1 TEAM’S LEO BONELLI FINISHES
SHENZHEN GRAND PRIX IN NINTH PLACE
Grand Prix of Shenzhen victory falls to Italian Guido Cappellini
Qatar’s Jay Price forced out of Shenzhen race with electrical trouble
SHENZHEN (China): The Qatar F1 Team endured mixed fortunes in the Grand Prix of Shenzhen, round four of the UIM World Championship, in China on Sunday. Jay Price began the race in sixth position on the grid, but had complained of delamination problems before the start and slipped to eighth overall before retiring on lap 11 with a mystery electrical fault.
Qatar team mate Leo Bonelli began the race in 19th overall and eventually finished in ninth place, but the event was dominated by multiple World Champion Guido Cappellini, who clinched his first success of the season for the Tamoil F1 Team. The UAE’s Thani Al-Qamzi finished second and Finland’s Sami Selio maintained his championship lead with third place.
“We had a delamination problem at the front of the boat from the constant pounding of the water and that was a big problem for us before the race,” said Price. “Then we made a good start and were lying in sixth or seventh position and then the engine just died on me. It was just not my weekend. Now we must look ahead to the next four races and I will focus on trying to finish in the top three in the championship.”
“Jay had a mystery electrical problem,” admitted Qatar F1 team manager Pelle Larsson. “It may have started before the race, because we had problems this morning when we discovered a small hole in the boat. It took around two and a half hours to repair. When we lifted the boat on to its side and turned it upside down in the pits to make the repairs there is a good chance that we disturbed a wire or something and that may have caused the problem. But Leo drove a good race and we are pleased that he managed to finish.”
Thousands of spectators lined the shores of Shenzhen Bay’s inner lake for the start of the 70-lap race on the short, five-pin course. Pole winner Cappellini was fastest out of the blocks and began to edge away from Al-Qamzy, Selio, Australian David Trask, the UAE’s Ahmed Al-Hamli and Italy’s Ivan Brigada, with Price losing two places and dropping to eighth overall. After seven laps Cappellini continued to lead, but Trask was sidelined with mechanical problems and both Phillippe Tourre and Fabrizio Bocca had been lapped.
Disaster struck the Qatar Team on the 11th lap when Price ground to a halt and was forced out of the race with a mystery electrical problem. It capped a disappointing end to the two race meetings in China for the New Orleans driver and cost him a crucial opportunity to make up ground on the championship leaders. Cappellini continued to lead from Al-Qamzi, Selio and Al-Hamli, as the Italian started lap 21 ahead of a field of 19 drivers, with only Trask, Pierre Lundin and Price out of the running at this stage.
Cappellini continued to lead at the half-way point, although it was difficult to overtake back-markers on the short course and a yellow flag caused a disruption on lap 35 when Lin Wu Peng spun out of the event and a rescue boat was summoned. The yellow flag was raised for three laps before racing resumed.
Bonelli had begun his gradual climb through the field from 19th position. Before Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe and Sweden’s Jonas Andersson were involved in a dramatic yellow flag collision on lap 52, the Italian held 11th place and duly moved up to ninth with 16 laps to go.
Cappellini maintained the initiative through the subsequent laps, although Al-Qamzi maintained the pressure in second place. Neither third-placed Selio nor Al-Hamli could make any in-roads into the Italian’s lead, as Brigada and Frenchman Phillipe Dessertenne moved into contention. Al-Hamli dropped out of the race near the end, as Bonelli continued to edge towards a points-scoring finish.
There were no dramas for the leading trio over the closing laps and Cappellini clinched his first victory of the season to move into second place in the championship, with Al-Qamzi taking second place and Selio maintaining his world title challenge and a slender lead in the championship with third. Brigada, Dessertenne and Italian Francesco Cantando completed the top six. Bonelli was unable to improve on his ninth place over the closing laps.
Championship leader Selio had set the fastest lap of 38.02s in Sunday morning’s second free practice session, with Francesco Cantando and Cappellini setting the second and third quickest times. The Qatar Team were pleased with the fifth-placed performance of Price and a resurgent Bonelli, who set the ninth fastest time.
The UIM World Championship circuit will now switch its attentions to the Middle East for the final four races of what promises to be a thrilling end to the season. The Qatar F1 Team will be at home in Qatar for the next two back-to-back races in Doha Bay on November 24th and 27th.
2007 Grand Prix of Shenzhen – results:
1. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 57m 39.11s
2. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Emirates F1 Team @ 11.50s
3. Sami Selio (FIN) F1 Team Energy @ 14.53s
4. Ivan Brigada (I) Tamoil F1 L1
5. Phillipe Dessertenne (F) CTIC China Charente Maritime L1
6. Francesco Cantando (I) Singha F1 Racing L1
9. Leo Bonelli (I) Qatar F1 Team L2
UIM F1 World Championship - positions after round 4 of 8:
1. Sami Selio (FIN) F1 Team Energy 53 pts
2. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 50 pts
3. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Emirates F1 Team 35 pts
3. Scott Gillman (USA) Emirates F1 Team 35 pts
5. Jay Price (USA) Qatar Team 21 pts
6. Pierre Lundin (S) Comparato Racing 14 pts
6. Phillipe Desertenne (F) CTIC China Charente Martime 14pts, etc
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).