F1 Thani Al Qamzi takes pole as Selio and Price crash in Doha
2007 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Qatar 1, Doha – November 23rd-24th, round 5 of 8
Grand Prix of Qatar 2, Doha – November 26th-27th, round 6 of 8
For immediate release
Friday, November 23rd, 2007
QATAR TEAM’S JAY PRICE TAKES FOURTH BUT
CRASHES OUT OF QATAR GRAND PRIX SHOOT-OUT
Shoot-out success and Pole Position fall to UAE’s Thani Al-Qamzi
Qatar’s Leo Bonelli sidelined for Saturday’s race by accident damage
Finland’s series leader Sami Selio suffers high-speed roll in shoot-out
DOHA (Qatar): Thani Al-Qamzi from the Emirates F1 Team won Friday afternoon’s dramatic six-boat Shoot-Out competition at the 3rd Grand Prix of Qatar, round five of the 2007 UIM F1 World Championship, and will start Saturday’s race in an advantageous pole position.
The Qatar Team’s Jay Price qualified for the shoot-out in fifth position and eventually finished fourth with an opening lap of 51.78s in deteriorating weather conditions. But the American flipped his boat at high-speed in choppy water on the far side of the circuit on his second tour and the Qatar Team face a race against time to repair the hull for Saturday’s race.
The drama did not stop there and once Russian Stanislav Kourtenovsky had recorded his best lap of 52.97s to put him in an eventual fifth place, Finland’s Sami Selio set about posting a flier. The front of his BaBa was lifting down the straight in front of the grandstand and he duly flipped over spectacularly at the left-hand turn.
Al-Qamzi had opened proceedings in slightly calmer conditions with a fastest lap of 48.95s and it was enough to see off the challenge of third-placed Italian Ivan Brigada and Guido Cappellini, who posted a late lap of 49.80s to claim second position.
“We’ve had a look at Jay’s boat and it is normal accident damage,” said Qatar Team Manager Pelle Larsson. “We should be able to repair it.”
Twenty-two boats and drivers from 12 countries registered for qualifying for the first of the back-to-back Doha races, but the first session was delayed 30 minutes because the wind strengthened markedly in the minutes before the start and then cancelled altogether on safety grounds.
“I don’t mind when there is a little wind and some rougher water,” admitted Price before the shoot-out. “Our boat is slightly heavier and it can be an advantage. Getting a good starting position is so important. In Class One racing a boat will race and hold a line. In Formula One we are weaving all over the place to try and get the best position, so running in someone else’s dirty water can cause problems. We started qualifying at a big disadvantage this afternoon after our practice was cut short.”
The second timed session started on time and Price again set the first competitive time to move to the top of the leaderboard. But his lap of 51.20s was soon beaten by Cappellini (49.65s), Brigada and Kourtenovsky, with Selio joining the top group soon afterwards. Neither Al-Qamzi or Ahmed Al-Hameli could make in-roads into Price’s time, however, and when the weather turned for the worse later in the session it looked unlikely that anyone would move up the qualification tables and displace the Qatar Team driver.
Price, like his Italian Tamoil rivals, returned to the pontoon to play a waiting game and the strategy worked when there were no major dramas in the dying minutes. Cappellini, Brigada, Selio, Kourtenovsky, Price and Al-Qamzi qualifying for the six-boat shoot-out.
Leo Bonelli endured a miserable morning. He was involved in a collision with Ahmed Al-Hameli from the Emirates F1 Team and was forced to return to the pits with a damaged boat. The team realised that the damage was substantial and Bonelli will not be able to take part in the first race on Saturday. Majeed Al-Mansoori gave his seat to Al-Hameli to allow the Emirati to race after the accident.
“We have a spare part off a race boat at the workshop in Italy and the plan is for one man to fly out with the spare and we will be able to get Leo’s boat ready in time for the second race,” said Larsson. “It’s not an ideal situation, but this is Formula One and this is our home race.”
The official practice session on Friday morning was the first opportunity for teams to test out the new Doha Bay course in calm weather conditions. Selio eventually posted the fastest lap of 46.98s, followed by Cappellini, Cantando, Brigada, Al-Qamzi and Bob Trask, but it was a frustrating morning for eighth-placed Price. The Qatar Team driver laid down the gauntlet with an early run of 48.49s and returned to the pit to change propeller settings. But the American was not happy with the way the boat was running and the team discovered that a plug was not attached properly and the BaBa was taking in water.
“It was frustrating,” quipped Price. “We were not able to carry out a full test session and had to go to the Pole qualifying without knowing which was the best set-up. This is not the race to be experimenting with one setting. We really needed a chance to get our set-up sorted properly.”
Bonelli posted a best lap of 52.42s, which was the 17th fastest time, before damaging his BaBa and returning to the pits. Fabrizio Bocca’s test was curtailed by a small fire and both David Trask and Stanislav Kourtenovsky were towed back to the pits with mechanical problems.
Timetable of events - Saturday, November 24th
11.30-12.15 Free practice on race course
15.15-15.30 Opening parade lap
15.30-17.00 Qatar Grand Prix 1
2007 Grand Prix of Qatar 1 - Pole Position shoot-out results:
1. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Emirates F1 Team 48.95s
2. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 49.80s
3. Ivan Brigada (I) Tamoil F1 50.28s
4. Jay Price (USA) Qatar Team 51.78s
5. Stanislav Kourtenovsky (RUS) F1 Team Energy 52.97s
6. Sami Selio (FIN) F1 Team Energy DNF
2007 UIM F1 Pole Position Championship - positions after round 5 of 8:
1. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 69 pts
2. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Emirates F1 Team 68 pts
3. Sami Selio (FIN) F1 Team Energy 48 pts
4. Scott Gillman (USA) Emirates F1 Team 40 pts
5. David Trask (AUS) XPV Racing 29 pts
6. Jay Price (USA) Qatar Team 24 pts
7. Jonas Andersson (S) F1 Team Sweden 21 pts
8. Ivan Brigada (I) Tamoil F1 19 pts
9. Phillipe Dessertenne (F) CTIC Charente Maritime 15 pts
10. Stanislav Kourtenovsky (RUS) F1 Team Energy 7 pts
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: email@example.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).