F1 Superb second place for Qatar Team in home GP
2008 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Qatar Grand Prix – March 29th, round 1 of 9
For immediate release
Saturday, March 29th, 2008
QATAR’S JAY PRICE TAKES STUNNING
SECOND PLACE IN HOME GRAND PRIX
Sweden’s Jonas Andersson clinches his first ever GP win
Qatar’s Al-Khulaifi and Al-Fayyad make F1 debuts
DOHA (Qatar): Sweden’s Jonas Andersson clinched a dramatic maiden F1 victory in the Qatar Grand Prix, round one of the UIM F1 World Championship, in Doha Bay on Saturday. But the F1 Team Sweden driver came under fierce pressure from the Qatar Team’s Jay Price over the closing laps but managed to hang on to take victory by a mere 1.76s, with Price equalling his best ever F1 finish with second position and Australian David Trask securing third place near the end.
The race was organised by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani.
“It was a really exciting day and I am delighted that we have been able to give the team second position on their home race,” enthused Price. “It is a new boat for us and this is a fantastic result for the entire team,” added team manager Pelle Larsson. “It has given us a great start to what could be a superb year.”
Andersson had the slight advantage of pole position in the sprint for the first corner, but Thani Al-Qamzi managed to sneak into the lead and began to pull away from the pack over the opening laps, as Andersson, Price, defending World Champion Sami Selio and Cappellini led the pursuit. Duarte Benevente and Bob Trask called it a day on the sixth lap, as Price came under fierce pressure from Selio on lap 13.
Ahmed Al-Hameli was withdrawn on lap 11, as Andersson, Price, Selio and Cappellini closed up together behind Al-Qamzi. Cappelini forced his way past Selio on lap 16 and Phillipe Dessertenne retired. But the top five had pulled away from the rest of the field at the 25-lap mark. Italian Francesco Cantando had withdrawn by the time that Price began to lose time to Al-Qamzi and Andersson behind the Russian Stan Koutsenovski.
By lap 30, Al-Qamzi led from Andersson, Price, Cappellini, Selio, David Trask and Massimo Roggiero, but engine-related problems dramatically sidelined the leading boat on the 31st tour and Andersson found himself in the outright lead for the first time, with Price breathing down his neck and less than a second behind.
An incident involving Norway’s Marit Stromoy forced a critical yellow flag situation on lap 34 and the pace boat kept the surviving hulls in order until the coast was clear for Andersson to resume his quest for a first F1 GP win. The Swede was able to benefit from clear water and pulled four seconds ahead of the Qatar Team driver, but Price dug deep into reserves of determination and managed to shadow him through the closing laps to clinch a superb second place, with the Swede gaining a first GP win. Cappellini hit trouble late on, was docked a lap and David Trask duly secured the final podium place with Selio, Cappellini, Latvian Uvis Slakteris and Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe followed the leaders to the finish of a thrilling race.
Qatar’s Yousef Al-Khulaifi and Ahmad Al-Fayyad were permitted to start from the rear of the 23-boat grid of drivers from 13 countries, but it was always the intention of the team to withdraw them after a lap taken to gain more race experience.
“Yousef and Ahmed are well prepared for handling the boats in a speed environment, but we want to make sure that they have more experience in race traffic before we permit them to take part in a full race,” admitted Qatar’s F1 team manager Pelle Larsson. “I have only driven in F1 for just two days, so I am very happy with the progress so far,” added Al-Khulaifi.
Team Abu Dhabi driver Ahmed Al-Hameli set the pace in the morning’s final practice session with a potent best lap of 44.06s, but his problems on Friday afternoon meant that Qatar’s Al-Fayyad was deprived of a boat in which to carry out practice on Saturday morning. Al-Hameli also hit engine trouble later in the session.
Price was immediately on a competitive pace in his new DAC and set three sub 45-second laps before he noticed a problem with the Mercury engine. “It seemed to stick coming out of a turn and I backed off and coasted back to the pits,” said Price. Unfortunately for Price, like rivals Cappellini and Al-Qamzi, the engine was damaged beyond repair and the mechanics had to change the unit before the Grand Prix. His second fastest time remained throughout the remainder of the session though.
Several boats were towed back to the pits, but the clearer water was a benefit to Al-Khulaifi. He managed to run for 25 laps and set several sub 50-second tours towards the end of the session, with a best of 49.39s. “He is getting faster all the time, learning the feel of the boat and gaining in confidence,” said a delighted Larsson.
The next stop on the 2008 UIM F1 championship tour will be the Grand Prix of Portugal in Portimao on the Algarve from May 3rd-4th.
2008 Qatar Grand Prix – results
1. Jonas Andersson (S) F1 Team Sweden 43m 10s
2. Jay Price (QA) Qatar Team @ 1.76s
3. David Trask (AUS) Trask Brothers Racing @ 18.20s
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Woodstock Red Devil Racing @ 23.25s
5. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 Team 1 lap behind
6. Uvis Slakteris (LV) F1 Team Sweden 2 laps behind
7. Phillipe Chiappe (F) F1 Atlantic Team 3 laps behind
8. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) Tamoil F1 Team 3 laps behind
9. Phillipe Tourre (F) F1 Team Sweden 3 laps behind
10. Massimo Roggiero (I) Woodstock Red Devil Racing retired
2008 UIM F1 World Championship - positions after round 1 of 9 (unofficial):
1. Jonas Andersson (S) F1 Team Sweden 20 pts
2. Jay Price (QA) Qatar Team 15 pts
3. David Trask (AUS) Trask Brothers Racing 12 pts
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Woodstock Red Devil Racing 9 pts
5. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 Team 7 pts
6. Uvis Slakteris (LV) F1 Team Sweden 5 pts
7. Phillipe Chiappe (F) F1 Atlantic Team 4 pts
8. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) Tamoil F1 Team 3 pts
9. Phillipe Tourre (F) F1 Team Sweden 2 pts
10. Massimo Roggiero (I) Woodstock Red Devil Racing 1 pt
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