Abu Dhabi, November 29 (QNA) – Qatar defending World Champion Alex Carella and debutant team-mate Terry Rinker will line-up in pole and fifth positions for the start of Friday afternoon’s 21st Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the penultimate round of the 2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship.
The pair always looked comfortable on the revised Abu Dhabi course and Carella now has a superb opportunity to clinch a second successive world title in Friday s race. Pole position in Abu Dhabi also gives the defending World Champion an unassailable 30-point lead in the 2012 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position World Championship.
American driver Terry Rinker settled into his new team superbly with the older Qatar boat and qualified in fifth behind Carella, Team Abu Dhabi s Thani Al-Qamzi, Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe and Sweden’s Jonas Andersson.
“I am delighted for Alex and also for Terry, who drove very well today,” admitted Khalid bin Arhama AL-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the QMSF, which runs under the presidency of HE Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani. “We had our strategy and it worked well today. Now we have to see it through in the race and try and win this world title before we go to Sharjah next week. It was very close and exciting in qualifying, but I was confident we would be there at the end.”
Qatar’s Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari qualified in a fine third position for the first of the two F-4S races for the Eurofin Trophy behind Sweden s Jesper Forss and Britain s Matthew Palfreyman. Forss reached the chequered flag 22.46sec in front of Palfreyman to extend his series lead to seven points and Al-Kuwari finished in an excellent third place to take outright fifth in the championship.
Twenty-three drivers from 15 countries started the three-session qualifying stint and the additional entries made it even more important to run a good Q1 session. Eight boats would be eliminated before Q2 whittled the runners down to the final 10.
Carella began well with a lap of 47.75sec on the 2.2km course to move to the top of the leader board before the yellow flag was raised when Stanislav Kourtsenovsky stopped on the course. At the end of Q1, Carella and Rinker were safely through in first and eighth places.
Rinaldo Osculati, Brett Stuart, Ivan Brigada, Filip Roms, Phillipe Tourre, Valerio Lagianella, Majed Al-Mansoori and Erik Stark failed to qualify for Q2 where a further five drivers would be eliminated.
Carella and Rinker had 15 minutes to ensure their places in the top 10 and they moved into fifth and fourth with 10 minutes remaining. Carella improved to third behind Al-Qamzi and Chiappe and pushed Rinker down to fifth before Yousef Al-Rubayan stopped on the course and forced a yellow flag situation.
Carella and Rinker held fourth and sixth with five minutes remaining of Q2, but Chiappe and then Carella went faster than Al-Qamzi to give the Qatar Team first and sixth with two minutes remaining. Malcolm Goodman, Francesco Cantando, Kourtsenovsky, Xiong Ziwei and Qatar s former World Champion Jay Price failed to reach Q3.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Scott Gillman set the target time of 48.46sec in Q3. Duarte Benavente was unable to get inside the American s time and, in the absence of Yousef Al-Rubayan and Marit Stromoy, Rinker was next on the course and he posted a best lap of 47.28sec and improved with a 47.25sec lap to claim provisional pole.
Jonas Andersson clocked a 47.44sec lap and then snatched provisional pole with a lap of 47.05sec with four drivers still to run. Sami Selio began with a 47.66sec lap and could only improve his time by 0.22sec. Thani Al-Qamzi managed to snatch the provisional pole on his opening lap with a 47.00sec tour, as Phillipe Chiappe took to the water.
The Frenchman clocked a best lap of 47.03sec to snatch second place behind Al-Qamzi. It was Carella s turn next and he knew that a sub 47-second lap would be enough to claim pole postion. A lap of 46.59sec was enough to claim a dramatic pole position on his first lap.
Carella started his official weekend s campaign with the fastest time in official practice on Thursday morning, although he had taken to the water for a short session on Wednesday. The defending World Champion recorded a fastest lap of 46.78sec and that was 0.93sec quicker than the time set by Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe. Rinker settled immediately into the team and recorded a time of 48.22sec to slot into fourth position behind Jonas Andersson.
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari recorded the third quickest time of 1min 05.73sec during his eight-lap practice stint on Thursday morning, but he still needed to find a little more pace in qualifying to oust Sweden s Jesper Forss and Norway s Tobias Munthe-Kaas.
Forss maintained his form in the qualifying session to record pole position with a fastest lap of 1m 02.00sec. Al-Kuwari qualified a fine third with a lap of 1min 05.46sec to slot into the starting line-up behind Matthew Palfreyman.
Series leader Forss fended off Palfreyman s challenge through lap one and Al-Kuwari held station. The leading trio remained in their positions through six laps, although Forss had extended his advantage over Palfreyman to 13.59sec and looked to be on course to extend his championship lead. Al-Kuwari was running well clear of fourth-placed Munthe-Kaas.
By lap 13, Forss had extended his lead over Palfreyman to 15.24sec and Al-Kuwari maintained a solid third place. But the Swede managed to stay out in front to take the chequered flag and extend his series lead from two to seven points with three races remaining. Al-Kuwari finished an impressive third.
Friday s action gets underway with F-4S free practice and time trials from 09.15hrs and further F1 practice from 10.15hrs. The second of the F-4S races starts at 13.30hrs and precedes the 2012 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, starting at 15.30hrs (14.30hrs Doha time). (END)