F1 Jay Price takes stunning win for Qatar Team in Portugal
2008 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Portugal – May 4th, round 2 of 9
For immediate release
Sunday, May 4th, 2008
QATAR’S PRICE TAKES OUTRIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH STUNNING GRAND PRIX WIN IN PORTUGAL
Team Abu Dhabi’s Al-Hameli takes second;
UIM licence criteria forces Qatar’s Al-Khulaifi to miss Portugal race
PORTIMAO (Portugal): Qatar’s Jay Price finished a stunning first overall in the 10th Grand Prix of Portugal on the Rio Arada, near Portimao on Sunday and now leads the UIM F1 World Championship by 14 points after the biggest win of his illustrious powerboat racing career.
The result also gave the Qatar Team the advantage in the Teams’ Championship after a memorable afternoon for the Doha-based team in Portugal. The UAE’s Ahmad Al-Hameli finished second and World Champion Sami Selio was third, before losing five places after colliding with a buoy.
“This is a fantastic result for the whole team,” said a delighted Price. “It was an exciting race, but we have been knocking on the door now for the last two races with two second places. It gives us a great position in the championship.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmad Al-Hameli had the slight advantage of his first ever Pole Position at the start of what promised to be a thrilling race, but the race was yellow flagged on the opening lap when championship leader Jonas Andersson stopped on the course and Thani Al-Qamzi also hit mechanical trouble.
Al-Hameli led through the yellow flag laps from Price, with David Trask, Sami Selio and Phillipe Chiappe their nearest rivals, as the leaders waited for the green flag and the race to begin in earnest for the 17 surviving boats. The green flag was raised on lap six and Al-Hameli began to pull away from his Qatar Team rival.
Through 15 laps the Emirati continued to lead the pack, but his lead had been reduced to 1.55s, as Price maintained the pressure. Trask, Selio, Chiappe and Lundin were all running less than 15 seconds behind. Price had reduced the gap to 0.76s after lap 20 and there were no changes in the running order between the top six racers, although Guido Cappellini was creeping up the leaderboard into 10th after a poor start.
Trask slipped out of contention on lap 23 and Al-Hameli increased his lead over Price to just 1.37s after lap 25, with Selio, Chiappe, Lundin and Francesco Cantando completing the top six. A yellow flag again disrupted race proceedings, but Al-Hameli, Price, Selio and Chiappe retained their top four places through lap 32 as Lundin lost touch with the leaders and Cappellini was sidelined.
Al-Hameli’s lead was just 0.42s after 40 laps, as Price closed in on the outright World Championship lead for the Qatar Team. But Price sensationally hit the front after fierce pressure on the 46th lap and looked on course for his first ever F1 Grand Prix victory. Al-Hameli recovered to hold second position, as he shadowed Price and headed Selio, Chiappe and Cantando through the final laps. There were no late dramas for Price, who duly clinched a sensational win for the Qatar Team.
“This is a great result for the entire team and a reward for all our hard work,” said Mohammed Al-Jaidah of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), which is run under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani. “Jay was the fastest of all the drivers on the course today and deserved this win.”
Qatar’s Ahmad Al-Fayyad was forced to sit out day two of the race meeting, although team mechanics had worked late on Saturday to try and rectify the engine-related problems that had dogged Yousef Al-Khulaifi’s progress in the time trials on Saturday. But UIM officials refused to recognise the races that Al-Khulaifi had run in the United States recently and he was not permitted to start the Grand Prix on the grounds that he had not completed sufficient races to qualify for his upgraded racing licence.
“We got the boat sorted out and the UIM permitted Yousef to carry out the practice this morning, but the American races were not recognised for licence purposes,” added Al-Jaidah. “Now we will take him to Abu Dhabi next week, so that he gains more experience and fulfils the necessary criteria to return to F1 on round three in Finland next month.”
Qatar’s Price was in blistering form in the final practice session on Sunday lunchtime, the DAC driver posting the overall fastest time of 43.39s, with Italian Fabio Comparato his nearest rival with a quickest lap of 43.61s. Trask, Cappellini and the Team Abu Dhabi duo of Thani Al-Qamzi and Ahmad Al-Hameli followed close behind. Qatar’s Al-Khulaifi ran for 21 laps and his best time of 48.53s was the 20th fastest time.
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