F1 Qatar Team maintains World Championship lead after Russian engine woes
2008 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Russia - June 14th, round 4 of 9
For immediate release
Saturday, June 14th, 2008
QATAR'S PRICE MAINTAINS CHAMPIONSHIP
LEAD DESPITE ENGINE TROUBLE IN RUSSIA
Grand Prix of Russia success for Sweden's Jonas Andersson
Qatar's Al-Khulaifi finishes 12th; fuel woes for Ahmed Al-Fayyad
SAINT PETERSBURG (Russia): The Qatar Team's Jay Price overcame a bout of influenza to take part in a drama-filled 2008 Grand Prix of Russia, round four of the UIM F1 World Championship, on the Neva River in Saint Petersburg on Saturday evening. Qatar's championship leader held sixth place for the first 14 laps, but a cruel engine failure cost him a finish.
The 50-lap race was won by Sweden's Jonas Andersson, although Price and the Qatar Team will take an unofficial 10-point lead in the UIM F1 World Drivers' Championship into the summer break and the Doha-based operation also continues to lead the prestigious UIM F1 Teams' Championship.
Both Thani Al-Qamzi and Guido Cappellini set the pace for over 40 laps, but both suffered engine-related problems, as Andersson held on through a yellow flag to see off the challenge of Finland's Sami Selio and third-placed Fabio Comparato.
Qatar Team drivers Ahmed Al-Fayyad and Yousef Al-Khulaifi began the race from 20th and 21st positions and held station in the lower reaches of the top 20 for long periods. Al-Khulaifi eventually finished 12th, but Al-Fayyad ran out of fuel on the 44th lap and retired from 16th place.
"It was a disappointing way to end the weekend for Jay," said Qatar team spokesman Mohammed Al-Jaidah. "But it could have been worse. Jay heads into the summer break leading the championship and both Yousef and Ahmed have performed very well. We will concentrate now on giving them more experience of F2 racing through the summer and make sure that they stay in practice and focused for the remainder of the season."
Como-based Guido Cappellini headed the pack on to the Neva River at the start of the first late evening race of the season. Fifty laps lay ahead for the 23 boats and Price was handily-placed in sixth position on the grid.
Al-Qamzi soon hit the front, however, and was shadowed by Cappellini, Selio, Comparato, Andersson and Price through four laps. Al-Fayyad and Al-Khulaifi held 18th and 21st places. Al-Qamzi and Cappellini were well clear of the chasing pack and beginning to edge clear by the 10th lap, although Cantando had failed to make the start, Norwegian Marit Stromoy was already out of the race and Ahmed Al-Hameli was running well down the field. Duarte Benavente joined the list of retirements after the 12th lap.
By lap 15, Al-Qamzi held a 1.67 second advantage over Cappellini, with Selio and Comparato in third and fourth. Price was beginning to edge clear of seventh-placed David Trask but was unable to make in-roads into Andersson's sixth position, as his Qatari team mates were locked in 18th and 19th places until a yellow flag was raised on the next lap and Price suffered terminal engine problems.
Action resumed through lap 26, with Al-Qamzi maintaining a slender cushion over Cappellini. Selio, Andersson, Comparato and Pierre Lundin completed the top six and Al-Khulaifi and Al-Fayyad held 16th and 19th positions for the Qatar Team. Al-Qamzi's lead was a mere 2.12 seconds after 30 laps and Al-Khulaifi climbed to 15th overall at the expense of a struggling Massimo Roggiero.
The Emirati's lead was 3.17 seconds through the 35th lap, as he and Cappellini remained on course to trim Price's World Championship lead. Andersson managed to pass Selio into third place, but the remainder of the top 10 held station, as Al-Khulaifi slipped into 14th and Al-Fayyad rose to 17th.
With 10 laps remaining Al-Qamzi was able to soak up the Italian's pressure and stayed 2.08 seconds in front of the multiple World Champion, but it went sadly wrong for the Team Abu Dhabi driver on the 41st lap and the Italian sped into the lead, only for further drama to unfold two laps later when Cappellini also hit mechanical trouble. By the 45th lap and a raised yellow flag, Andersson led from Selio, with Comparato, Lundin, Phillipe Dessertenne and David Trask completing the top six. Al-Khulaifi and Al-Fayyad were 13th and 16th overall, although Al-Fayyad had run out of fuel.
The yellow flag situation persisted and the Swede - winner of the Qatar Grand Prix in March - closed in on a most unlikely second win of his career. Al-Khulaifi climbed to an impressive 12th in his second full Grand Prix, as the chequered flag was waved and Andersson pushed himself into contention for the world title.
Cappellini had set the pace in the final practice session on Saturday afternoon, as the action-packed day's racing attracted massive crowds in Russia's second largest city. Five boats, including Selio and Price, sat out the session rather than risk damage to their boats in the build up to the vital race.
Doha's Ahmed Al-Fayyad used the stint to gain a little more competitive experience. He ran for only four laps and set the 15th fastest time of 59.31s, with Al-Khulaifi running for 12 circuits and setting the 17th fastest time.
The UIM F1 championship teams will now enjoy a 14-week summer lay-off before round five of the nine-race championship takes place in China on Wednesday, October 1st.
Meanwhile, staff at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) now switch their attention to a summer of thrilling Class 1 racing and the next appearance of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Doha-based team mate Abdullah Al-Sulaiti in Qatar 96 and Qatar 95 in Moscow on July 4th-6th.
2008 UIM F1 Grand Prix of Russia - race results:
1. Jonas Andersson (S) F1 Team Sweden 50 laps
2. Sami Selio (FIN) Woodstock Red Devil Racing @ 0.92 seconds
3. Fabio Comporato (I) 800 Doctor Team @ 5.51 seconds
4. Pierre Lundin (S) China CTIC Team @ 7.23 seconds
5. Phillipe Dessertenne (F) China CTIC Team @ 9.80 seconds
6. David Trask (AUS) Trask Brothers Racing @ 16.30 seconds
7. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) Tamoil F1 Team @ 17.12 seconds
8. Phillipe Chiappe (F) F1 Atlantic Team 1 lap behind
9. Marco Gambi (I) Singha Team 2 laps behind
10. Ahmad Al-Hameli (UAE) F1 Team Abu Dhabi 2 laps behind
12. Yousef Al-Khulaifi (QA) Qatar Team 3 laps behind
2008 UIM F1 World Championship - Drivers (unofficial positions after round 4 of 9):
1. Jay Price (QA) Qatar Team 50 pts
2. Jonas Andersson (S) F1 Team Sweden 40 pts
3. Ahmad Al-Hameli (UAE) F1 Team Abu Dhabi 28 pts
4. Guido Cappellini (I) Tamoil F1 Team 27 pts
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Woodstock Red Devil Racing 27 pts
6. Pierre Lundin (S) China CTIC Team 22 pts
7. Fabio Comporato (I) 800 Doctor Team 19 pts
8. David Trask (AUS) Trask Brothers Racing 17 pts
9. Phillipe Chiappe (F) F1 Atlantic Team 15 pts, etc
16. Yousef Al-Khulaifi (QA) Qatar Team 3 pts
2008 UIM F1 World Championship - Teams (unofficial positions after round 4 of 9):
1. Qatar Team 50 pts
2. F1 Team Sweden 42 pts
3. Tamoil F1 36 pts
4. China CTIC Team 35 pts
5. F1 Team Abu Dhabi 28 pts
5. Woodstock Red Devil Racing 28 pts
7. F1 Atlantic Team 24 pts
8. Trask Brothers Racing 23 pts
9. Doctor 800 19 pts
10. Singha Team 14 pts
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).