F1 Swede Jonas Andersson takes pole position in Qatar
2008 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Qatar Grand Prix – March 29th, round 1 of 9
For immediate release
Friday, March 28th, 2008
QATAR’S JAY PRICE SET TO START
HOME GRAND PRIX IN FIFTH POSITION
Qatar shoot-out success for Sweden’s Jonas Andersson
Competent F1 baptism for Qatar’s Al-Fayyad and Al-Khulaifi
DOHA (Qatar): Jonas Andersson of F1 Team Sweden won Friday afternoon’s six-boat shoot-out and will start Saturday afternoon’s Qatar Grand Prix in pole position. The Qatar Team’s Jay Price finished in fifth place in his new Mercury-engined DAC and both Qatar’s Yousef Al-Khulaifi and Ahmed Al-Fayyad enjoyed encouraging F1 race debuts, both gaining vital experience in a competitive environment.
Italy’s Massimo Roggiero was the first on to the course for the shoot-out in improving water conditions on Friday afternoon, but the former Qatar Team member could only manage a best lap of 47.13s on his first tour and finished in sixth place. Reigning World Champion Sami Selio smashed his rival’s time with a 45.30s first lap and nipped inside with a better 45.04s second pass. Price had admitted that he would not take risks after last year’s spectacular shoot-out flip in Doha, but the Qatar Team driver set two impressive laps of 45.15s and 45.13s nonetheless and eventually secured fifth spot.
Andersson was in scintillating form, however, and stormed into a provisional pole position with a first lap of 43.64s, which was the fastest lap of both the time trial and shoot-out sessions. Multiple World Champion Guido Cappellini clipped a buoy on his way to a best time of 45.11s to hold a provisional third. There was a delay while the buoy was replaced before Thani Al-Qamzi could bring the day’s action to a close with the second fastest lap of 44.08s to move into second position and push Selio and Cappellini down the order.
“There was no way I was going to risk the new boat out there in those conditions, just to gain a place or two on the grid,” said Price. “I remember what happened last year. But we had a good day and it should be a great race on Saturday.”
Al-Qamzi had posted the fastest lap in a yellow-flag interrupted first time trial with a tour of 44.65s, 0.30 seconds quicker than Cappellini. Andersson was third in 45.39s and Price slotted into fourth in 45.62s. Yousef Al-Khulaifi enjoyed his first taste of F1 mid-way through the session, but was only able to complete three full laps at speed because of two yellow flag incidents. He was 19th in a time of 51.76s. Ahmed Al-Fayyad’s spell on the water was also restricted to three laps by trim problems, but both Qatari drivers had performed admirably in ‘race traffic’ on their F1 racing debuts.
Deteriorating water conditions marred the second time trial and neither David Trask nor Phillipe Dessertenne thought it advisable to challenge for the top six with rollers blowing in from the open sea. Only Cappellini (48.78s) and Price (49.40s) broke the 50-second barrier, although the end of the session was a useful learning curve for both Al-Khulaifi and Al-Fayyad. They ran for nine and seven laps respectively and set several competitive laps. Russian Stan Kourtenovski rolled out at speed exiting a tricky left-hand turn, but was uninjured in his Tamoil F1 DAC.
“It would have been silly to risk wrecking the boat by trying to push in those conditions,” admitted Price, who used the session to test a propeller that he may have been forced to use for the shoot-out. Al-Qamzi, Cappellini, Andersson, Price, Selio and Roggiero eventually made the shoot-out, courtesy of their first time trial times.
Frenchman Phillipe Tourre had been the first man on the water for the opening practice session, but Price was the first racer to break the 53-second barrier. It soon became clear that this could be one of the closest championships on record, however, with a mere 0.93 seconds separating pace setter David Trask’s time of 46.85s and seventh-placed Price (47.78s) after the first hour of the new season. Twelve boats broke the 50-second barrier.
“The main thing this morning was to go out there and get a feel for the boat and the balance,” said Price. “The new DAC accelerates much better and we have managed to shed around 100kgs off the weight of the old boat. I had a good finish to last season and will, obviously, have to dismiss what happened when I was here and driving near the limit in the shoot-out last year. It should be a great race, because we have Guido, Sami, Thani and several drivers with new boats who could feature strongly. It can either be a 100% advantage to them or a disadvantage. We will see.”
Qatari Ahmed Al-Fayyad made a promising start to his GP career and ran for 25 laps. He posted an opening lap time of 51.33s to catapult him into 11th overall and bettered that during the session with a fastest lap of 49.93s, although he had a smooth and consistent racing style throughout. Al-Khulaifi did not appear for the first practice session.
Teams will be permitted a final 45-minute practice session on the course from 10.45hrs on Saturday morning, prior to the race getting underway at 16.00hrs. The parade lap will start at 15.45hrs.
2008 Qatar Grand Prix – shoot-out results
1. Jonas Andersson (S) F1 Team Sweden 43.64s
2. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 44.08s
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Woodstock Red Devil Racing 45.04s
4. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 Team 45.11s
5. Jay Price (USA) Qatar Team 45.13s
6. Massimo Roggiero (I) Woodstock Red Devil Racing 47.13s
2008 UIM F1 Pole Position Championship - positions after round 1 of 9 (unofficial):
1. Jonas Andersson (S) F1 Team Sweden 20 pts
2. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 15 pts
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Woodstock Red Devil Racing 12 pts
4. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 Team 9 pts
5. Jay Price (USA) Qatar Team 7 pts
6. Massimo Roggiero (I) Woodstock Red Devil Racing 5 pts
Timetable of events
Saturday, March 29th
10.45 -11.30 Free practice on race course
15.45 -16.00 Opening parade lap
16.00 -17.30 Qatar Grand Prix
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).