Qatar's Carella seals Abu Dhabi Race win

Qatar's Carella seals Abu Dhabi Race win

09.12.2011: ... to move ahead of team-mate price in World Championship • Jay Price finishes third and slips to second in title race

... to move ahead of team-mate price in World Championship

•    Jay Price finishes third and slips to second in title race

•    Qatar Team confirms 2011 Teams’ Championship title

•    Qatar’s Al-Shamlan snatches pole and finishes third in F-4S race

•    Qatar’s Shaun Torrente forced out in first lap collision


20th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - round 6, December 8-9

The Qatar Team’s Alex Carella moved ahead of team-mate Jay Price in the 2011 UIM F1 H20 World Championship by sealing a start-to-finish victory in the 20th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the penultimate round of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship, at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Friday afternoon.

The Italian led from pole position to seal victory over Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli by the margin of 3.25s. Price moved up from fifth to third position and heads into a showdown in Sharjah next weekend trailing Carella by five points, with 20 available to the winner and 15 for second position.

The Qatar Team capped a stunning weekend by claiming victory in the 2011 UIM F1 H20 Teams’ Championship with one round remaining.

“This is another fantastic result for our team and sets up the prospect of a very exciting finish to the season with either Alex or Jay set to claim the World Championship,” said a delighted Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the (QMSF), which runs under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.

“I said to Sheikh Hassan that we would bring the World Championship back to Qatar for the first time since 2008 and we have done that now in 2011. I am proud of our team. Whoever wins out of Alex and Jay, it’s down to the drivers now. We can all be proud of a fantastic day for the Qatar Team. I am so happy.”

Qatar Team debutant Shaun Torrente has joined the team for the last two UAE races of the season with extra backing from Peters & May, but the American was involved in a first lap collision with Bartek Marszalek and retired immediately.

Qatar’s Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan started the weekend’s second UIM F-4S race from pole position and held second for 15 laps before being overtaken by Sweden’s Bimba Sjolholm. England’s Matthew Palfreyman won his second race of the weekend to extend his championship lead to nine points.

The race

The Qatar Team trio lined up in pole position, fifth and 10th on the start pontoon, 10th-placed Torrente moving up the field at the expense of Phillipe Tourre and Duarte Benavente.

The yellow flag was raised almost immediately after the start and both Torrente and Bartek Marszalek were sidelined before the race restarted on lap seven. Carella maintained his lead, as Al-Hameli passed Marit Stromoy into second and Price held fifth.

Carella completed 10 laps with a 3.13s advantage over Al-Hameli, with Stromoy in third and Price moving up to fourth. The young Qatar Team driver began to edge away from the rest of the field and his lead grew to 4.37s after 13 laps.

Phillipe Chiappe retired on lap 15 where Carella’s lead remained over four seconds and Price retained fourth place. The lead was 4.22s after lap 20 and Price remained entrenched in fourth place, two seconds behind third-placed Stromoy. There were no changes in the top five through lap 25 and Carella’s lead grew to 5.37s.

Despite losing a second overtaking a back marker, Carella maintained his lead heading into the final three laps and held on to seal maximum points and the outright World Championship lead. Price finished the race in third behind Al-Hameli after passing a struggling Stromoy. The result set up the prospect of a stunning Qatar Team decider in Sharjah next weekend.

Jonas Andersson of Sweden won the morning’s free practice session with a best lap of 50.50s, although the Qatar Team trio of Carella, Price and Torrente were on a competitive pace and were classified in third, sixth and eighth. Carella topped the times with a run of 50.56s, a mere 0.06s behind the Swede.


It was business as usual at the top of the F-4S rankings in the morning’s free practice session: series leader Matthew Palfreyman set the fastest lap of 43.27s, with Sweden’s Bimba Sjoholm a close second and Qatar’s Al-Shamlan classified in third with a best lap of 43.78s. The three drivers were the class of the eight-boat field.

But Al-Shamlan was in stunning form for the all-important qualifying session for the second of the weekend’s F-4S races and snatched pole position with a lap of 42.94s. Palfreyman and Sjoholm lined up behind the Qatari for the 20-minute race.

A good start at the green flag was vital for the Qatari, but he slipped to second position behind Palfreyman at the end of lap one, but maintained his position through the subsequent few laps. By halfway, the Qatari trailed the championship leader by 5.75s, but was clear of third-placed Sjoholm and well ahead of Filip Roms in fourth.

Palfreyman began to pull away over the next laps and Al-Shamlan came under pressure from Sjolholm. The gap was a mere 0.61s after 14 laps and just 0.28s through lap 15. The Swede managed to sneak through on lap 16 and Al-Shamlan dropped to third, as Palfreyman stayed well out in front to the chequered flag to secure his second win of the weekend and extend his series lead to nine points.

Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi –results

1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team            35 laps   
2. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi            @ 3.25s
3. Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team                @13.71s       
4. Pierre Lundin (SWE) CTIC China Team            @ 49.00s
5. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team    @ 54.53s   
6. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi            1 lap behind
7. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden            1 lap behind
8. Duarte Benavente (POR) F1 Atlantic Team        1 lap behind       
9. Yousef Al-Rabayan (KUW) Team Mad Croc F1        2 laps behind       
10. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica             3 laps behind       

2011 UIM F1 H20 World Championship – standings after round 6 of 7

1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team        84 pts                
2. Jay Price (QAT) Qatar Team            79 pts                 
3. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi        60 pts             
4. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi        50 pts           
5. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team        35 pts           
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 33 pts           
7. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1        21 pts, etc

2011 UIM F-4S Championship – standings after race 12 of 14

1. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Team Atlantic                   170 pts          
2. Bimba Sjolholm (SWE) Team Sweden                   161 pts           
3. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team    134 pts            
4. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc                114 pts          
5. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) Team China                100 pts              
6. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica            69 pts                
7. Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi        33 pts       
8. Christian Carlsen (NOR) Team Singha            28 pts           
9. Kristoffer Fjelde (NOR) Team Singha            14 pts       
10. Carl-Hampus Lundberg (SWE) Team Nautica        12 pts
11. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha                  12 pts
12. Salem Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi        6 pts   

Neil Perkins, also photos


09.12.2011 / MaP

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