F1 Thani Al Qamzi wins in Qatar as Price loses second place
2007 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Qatar 1, Doha – November 24th, round 5 of 8
Grand Prix of Qatar 2, Doha – November 26th-27th, round 6 of 8
For immediate release
Saturday, November 24th, 2007
EMIRATES TEAM’S THANI AL-QAMZI TAKES
DRAMATIC QATAR GRAND PRIX VICTORY
Second position for Guido Cappellini, Sweden’s Pierre Lundin takes third
Qatar Team’s Jay Price loses second position with electrical problems
DOHA (Qatar): Emirates F1 driver Thani Al-Qamzi won a gripping 3rd Grand Prix of Qatar, round five of the 2007 UIM F1 World Championship, at the helm of his Mercury-engined DAC on Saturday afternoon. Italian runner-up Guido Cappellini now holds a five-point lead in the eight-round championship heading into the second Doha race on Tuesday, after former series leader Sami Selio could only finish fifth overall.
Qatar’s Jay Price delivered a sensational performance in his BaBa and had moved up to second overall behind the Emirati after 30 laps, but electrical problems dropped him out of contention on lap 32 to cap a disappointing and action-packed weekend for the Qatar Team.
“Jay was driving a fantastic race and after all our ups and downs this weekend it could have been a superb result,” said a disappointed team manager Pelle Larsson. “But these things can happen in racing. We will just have to make amends on the next race on Tuesday.”
“I had a really good feeling about the race and thought I had the measure of Thani, once I’d got past Cappellini,” said Price. “Then the engine died on me and I managed to get going again. Then it died again and Guido passed me back and it was all over. It was not meant to be. Just an electrical problem. Very disappointing.”
The wind had strengthened again for the start of the 45-lap race on the five-pin course by the Doha Corniche. Al-Qamzi held the advantage at the end of the first lap, from Cappellini, Brigada, Price and Stanislav Kourtenovsky, with Selio and Chiappe in close attendance. But Brigada nose-dived in front of the grandstand on lap two and caused a yellow flag situation for the next 10 laps, within which time Bob Trask and Duarte Benavente returned to the pontoon and retired.
Al-Qamzi maintained the initiative after the restart and began to edge away from Cappellini, who began to come under intense pressure from Qatar’s Price over the next dozen laps. Both Kourenovsky and Selio began to slip back and, by lap 24, Al-Qamzi led from Cappellini, Price, Chiappe, Sweden’s Pierre Lundin and Selio.
But Price was closing in on the multiple World Champion and managed to slip past and into second position on lap 28, much to the delight of the roaring crowd on the Corniche. Price held second position for four laps, but he noticed something amiss with the engine and eventually ground to a halt in front of the pits, as Cappellini, Lundin and Chiappe raced past.
The incident forced a second yellow flag situation, but Al-Qamzi maintained his lead on the resumption of high-speed action, although Lundin managed to sneak past Cappellini on lap 41, only for the Italian to slip back into second place on lap 42. The leading trio held station over the final three laps and Al-Qamzi clinched an historic win in failing light to leap into contention for the world title by moving up to third position in the points’ standings, despite a fierce final effort by Cappellini.
“It took me a couple of laps to get back on to the pace again this morning after the accident,” said Price. “But we had a good test session and gave ourselves a couple of propeller options for the race. I expected the weather to be the same as yesterday, so the crucial decision was what propeller option would work better latter in the race where we would be lighter and the conditions would be rougher. I wanted to leave the final decision right until the last minute.”
The Qatar Team mechanics worked around the clock to ensure that Jay Price’s BaBa was repaired after his spectacular crash on the second lap of Friday’s shoot-out session and the American was able to start the race in fourth position on the grid. “We saw sunrise this morning fixing the boat, but we made it,” said his American team chief. “We could sure do with some sleep.”
Teams used Saturday morning’s practice session to test various propellers and Larsson admitted that the Qatar Team started the stint with 78 litres of fuel on board to simulate mid-race weight conditions. Ten of the 19 race boats broke the 50-second barrier during the session, but only Cappellini (47.58s) managed to get under 48 seconds, although Price and the Qatar Team were confident after a positive test that saw the American sixth quickest in a time of 49.14s. Championship leader Selio was unable to start the session, but the Finn was confident that his damaged boat would be ready for the main race.
2007 Grand Prix of Qatar 1 results (unofficial):
1. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Emirates F1 Team 54m 30s
2. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 @ 1.36s
3. Pierre Lundin (S) Comparato Racing @ 13.63s
4. Phillipe Chiappe (F) Atlantic Team @ 27.70s
5. Sami Selio (FIN) F1 Team Energy @ 30.70s
6. Phillipe Tourre (F) F1 Team Sweden @ 73.50s, etc
2007 UIM F1 World Championship - positions after round 5 of 8:
1. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 65 pts
2. Sami Selio (FIN) F1 Team Energy 60 pts
3. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Emirates F1 Team 55 pts
4. Scott Gillman (USA) Emirates F1 Team 35 pts
5. Pierre Lundin (S) Comparato Racing 26 pts
6. Jay Price (USA) Qatar Team 21 pts,
7. Phillipe Chiappe (F) Atlantic Team 19 pts, etc
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