F1 Jay Price fights back from 18th to take second in Finland
2008 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Finland - June 8th, round 3 of 9
For immediate release
Sunday, June 8th, 2008
QATAR'S PRICE BATTLES BACK FROM 18TH TO TAKE
STUNNING SECOND PLACE IN GRAND PRIX OF FINLAND
Qatar's Al-Khulaifi finishes excellent eighth and collects points
Grand Prix of Finland victory for Guido Cappellini
LAHTI (Finland): The Qatar Team's Jay Price fought back from 18th position on the starting pontoon to seal a sensational second place in Sunday's Grand Prix of Finland on Lake Vesijärvi in Lahti, as he produced one of the greatest fight backs in F1 Grand Prix racing history.
The 55-lap race on the scenic Finnish course was marred by rough weather conditions and yellow flag incidents and was won by Italy's Guido Cappellini, although Price unofficially extended his overall lead for the Qatar Team in the UIM F1 World Championship to a handsome 23 points after three rounds.
Qatar Team rookies Yousef Al-Khulaifi and Ahmed Al-Fayyad endured mixed fortunes. Al-Fayyad was sidelined on lap 10 with trim problems, but Al-Khulaifi drove superbly to take eighth place and his first ever World Championship points on his first full Grand Prix race weekend.
"This is a stunning result for our team," said a delighted Mohammed Al-Jaidah, head of formula racing at the QMSF. "Jay was superb today. We did not have the best start to the weekend, but his fight back through the field was thrilling and we are all very proud of Yousef for his performance out there in difficult conditions."
"I got down to business and delivered what I knew we were capable of," said Price. "After the problems on Saturday, this was a dream result and puts us in a strong position in the championship."
The Qatar Team is run under the auspices of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.
Price, Al-Khulaifi and Al-Fayyad were forced to start the race from 18th, 20th and 21st places on the 23-boat grid. Guido Cappellini, Ahmed Al-Hameli, Thani Al-Qamzi and David Trask started at the front of the pack after success in Saturday's shoot-out, but it promised to be a thrilling race for the Qatar trio as they attempted to force their way through the pack.
Strong winds prevailed in the build-up to the race, four turn buoys moved in the choppy waters and two hospitality tents were blown into the sea. The race started on a yellow flag, with boats taking up their qualifying position order in a bid to avoid an incident in the rough conditions. Pole winner Cappellini duly headed Al-Hameli and Al-Qamzi through the first lap, although Price moved up to 15th place when four of the 23-boat field, including Massimo Roggiero and Duarte Benavente, failed to start the race.
The yellow flag persisted until lap three, although Cappellini maintained his advantage through the fourth tour, as Marco Gambi dropped out with engine problems and Price launched himself into eighth place in the treacherous conditions, with Al-Khulaifi and Al-Fayyad in 16th and 17th positions and Valerio Lagiannella already out of the race.
The yellow flag was waved again on the fifth lap when Francesco Cantando pulled alongside leader Cappellini and flipped his Singha Team hull. Action resumed on lap eight and Cappellini completed the lap less than one second in front of Al-Hameli, with Price penalised and down in 12th position, although he moved up to ninth after lap nine, as his team mates brought up the rear of the survivors in 16th and 17th positions.
Price was in flying form and the Qatar Team DAC was soon inside the top 10 and challenging David Trask for sixth position, with Jay passing Pierre Lundin, Phillipe Dessertenne and Phillipe Chiappe. Cappellini maintained his lead through lap 12, followed by Al-Hameli, Al-Qamzi, Selio, Trask and Price, although al-Fayyad began to lose touch with the leaders and withdrew on the 10th lap.
Cappellini headed Al-Qamzi by a mere 0.73 seconds after 15 tours, with Price anchored in sixth place between David Trask and Lundin. Al-Khulaifi was up to 14th position and running well in the tricky race conditions.
Price managed to pass Trask on the 16th lap and edged into a sensational fifth place from 18th on the grid, although he remained over four seconds behind World Champion Selio. Cappellini was able to edge 1.96 seconds clear of Al-Qamzi after 20 laps, although Price dropped seven seconds on the lap and slipped back to seventh behind Lundin and Dessertenne. Al-Khulaifi maintained his climb up the field to 12th position.
Price was back on the pace again through lap 21 and regained sixth, as Norway's Marit Stromoy stopped and a yellow flag was raised for the third time, just as 11th-placed Al-Khulaifi looked likely to enter the top 10 for the first time in his short racing career. Stromoy's boat began to sink and the yellow flag was maintained until the course was clear with leader Cappellini resuming on lap 26 and holding a 2.51-second lead over Al-Qamzi as Selio passed Al-Hameli to take third. Price again slipped back to seventh place after a spectacular aerial moment and Al-Khulaifi moved into the top 10 and a points-scoring position.
Price had regained fifth by lap 32 and was up to a stunning fourth on the following lap, as local hero Selio hit trouble and Al-Khulaifi rose to ninth. Price began to pressurise Al-Hameli over the subsequent laps and moved into third place after 36 laps, as the Emirati dropped four seconds. But the drama was far from over and the Qatar Team leader found himself in second position, a mere 3.97 seconds behind Cappellini after lap 37, when Al-Qamzi was also delayed.
It was turning into one of the greatest fight backs in Grand Prix history as Price continued to close on Cappellini, with the gap down to 2.91 seconds after lap 38 and a mere two seconds through lap 40. Jonas Andersson retired and Al-Khulaifi found himself up to eighth position.
The margin at the top was a mere 1.19 seconds after lap 42, but Cappellini edged away again on lap 43, as Price tried to achieve the miraculous comeback win from 18th on the grid. Cappellini's lead was 1.84 seconds after lap 46, 1.36s through lap 47 and 2.11s after lap 48, although Al-Khulaifi slipped to ninth, but regained eighth when Dessertenne hit trouble.
With five laps remaining Price trailed the Italian by 1.48s with both drivers on the ragged edge. Bob Trask passed Al-Khulaifi into eighth, but the race was yellow flagged for the fourth time on lap 52 when Al-Qamzi retired. This duly settled the contest in Cappellini's favour, but it had been a sensational fight through the field by Price, as Al-Khulaifi confirmed eighth place and a superb finale to the weekend for the Qatar Team.
The second practice session on Sunday morning was much better for the Qatar Team and Price posted the second fastest lap of 49.76s during his 21-lap stint. Cappellini was again the quickest man on the course in the Tamoil F1 hull, with Sweden's Jonas Andersson in third. Al-Khulaifi ran for 25 laps and set the 18th fastest time of 56.57s, but Al-Fayyad did not start the session after the engine failed during the warm-up for the practice session and there was insufficient time to replace the damaged Mercury unit.
"We discovered what the problem was with the engines on Saturday," admitted Qatar F1 team manager Mohammed Al-Ali. "We discovered that new filters we had bought in Finland had been painted and they were releasing something toxic into the fuel system. It was something as simple as a two-dollar component that caused the problems."
2008 Grand Prix of Lahti - results (unofficial @ 16.40hrs):
1. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 Team 55 laps
2. Jay Price (QA) Qatar Team @ 1.0s
3. Ahmad Al-Hameli (UAE) F1 Team Abu Dhabi @ 1.66s
4. Pierre Lundin (S) China CTIC Team @ 2.38s
5. Phillipe Chiappe (F) F1 Atlantic Team @ 28.85s
6. Uvis Slakteris (LV) F1 Team Sweden 3 laps behind
7. Bob Trask (AUS) Trask Brothers Racing 3 laps behind
8. Yousef Al-Khulaifi (QA) Qatar Team 3 laps behind
2008 UIM F1 World Championship - Drivers (positions after round 3 of 9): unofficial
1. Jay Price (QA) Qatar Team 50 pts
2. Ahmad Al-Hameli (UAE) F1 Team Abu Dhabi 27 pts
3. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 Team 27 pts
4. Jonas Andersson (S) F1 Team Sweden 20 pts
5. Pierre Lundin (S) China CTIC Team 13 pts
6. Sami Selio (FIN) Woodstock Red Devil Racing 12 pts
6. David Trask (AUS) Trask Brothers Racing 12 pts
6. Francesco Cantando (I) Singha Team 12 pts
6. Phillipe Chiappe (F) F1 Atlantic Team 12 pts
10. Uvis Slakteris (LV) F1 Team Sweden 10 pts, etc
Yousef Al-Khulaifi (QA) Qatar Team 3 pts
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).