Qatar’s Carella Claims World Championship Title with Abu Dhabi Victory
Abu Dhabi, November 30 (QNA) – Qatar s Alex Carella retained his UIM F1 H20 World Championship title in dramatic circumstances in Friday afternoon’s 21st Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the penultimate round of the 2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship.
Leading from the start of a race that had already been halted by two yellow flag situations, race officials decided to stop the race for good with eight laps remaining following an incident which damaged two of the course turn buoys. With insufficient time remaining to repair the course, the race finished under a third yellow flag, but no-one could deny that the Qatar Team and Alex Carella had deserved another world title a third for the QMSF-backed team in five glorious years.
Terry Rinker drove well on his Qatar Team debut and reached the finish in eighth position and offered good support to Carella. Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi finished second and Finland’s Sami Selio was third, but fourth place for Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe meant that Carella cannot be caught with one race remaining in Sharjah next weekend.
“I am really happy for the whole team, for Alex, for Sheikh Hassan and everyone at the QMSF,” admitted a delighted 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. “It is a fantastic feeling for the team to secure the title for the second time in Abu Dhabi and we can now go to Sharjah next week with no pressure and enjoy the racing. Even without Shaun (Torrente) we proved that we are still a strong team.”
Qatar’s Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari qualified sixth for the second of the UIM F-4S races and eventually finished in fifth position in a race where Sweden’s Jesper Forss recorded his second win of the weekend to extend his lead in the championship over Britain’s Matthew Palfreyman to 15 points. Hungary s Viktor Vo finished a career-best second.
The Qatar duo of Carella and Rinker began the race from pole and fifth places among the 22-boat field on the 2.2km, six-pin Abu Dhabi course. A good start was essential if Carella was going to clinch the title with one race to spare.
The Qatar Team driver surged into a 2.34sec lead at the end of lap one, with Al-Qamzi and Jonas Andersson holding second and third before a yellow flag was raised when Xiong Ziwei stopped on the course. Rinker had slipped to sixth, but the boats were put back into their starting positions before the restart on lap five.
Carella fended off a challenge from Al-Qamzi to maintain his lead and Rinker slotted into sixth behind Chiappe, Selio and Andersson. After 10 laps, Carella had extended his lead to five seconds and Rinker began to pressurise Andersson for fifth position.
Qatar’s former World Champion Jay Price stopped on lap 12 and the race was yellow-flagged for the second time. Price had started at the rear of the field after an engine problem on Thursday afternoon and suffered a similar fate in the race.
The green flag was raised on lap 17 of 40 and Al-Qamzi initially snatched the advantage, only for Carella to regain the lead at turn one. The Qatar driver took advantage of clear water to extend his lead to 4.02 seconds through lap 19. Rinker slipped to eighth.
With Selio in third and Chiappe in fourth, Carella knew that he could win the world title in Abu Dhabi and he extended his advantage to 5.97 seconds after lap 22. The lead had risen to 7.34 seconds through lap 25, but Yousef Al-Rubayan spun out of the race and damaged a turn buoy on lap 29 and the yellow flag was raised for the third time.
There was insufficient time to replace two damaged turn buoys in the remaining time and the race finished eight laps early under a yellow flag situation. The officials decision meant that Carella was crowned World Champion for the second successive year.
All the boats recorded lap times in the second official practice session on Friday morning and Chiappe won the stint with a best tour of 47.14sec. Carella ran for 10 laps and slotted into fourth behind Chiappe, Andersson and Selio. Rinker ran for just nine laps to try and finalise the race set-up and set the 10th quickest time.
Sweden’s Jesper Forss was again quickest in Friday morning s free practice session, where Qatar s Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari again slotted into third position behind Matthew Palfreyman.
Forss claimed pole position for the second 20-minute race of the weekend with a quickest lap of 1min 03.84sec and Hungarian driver Kornel Vo stunned Palfreyman bt snatching second place. Al-Kuwari ran for 11 laps in the qualifying session, but was disappointed to qualify in sixth place.
Forss maintained his advantage through the opening laps of the race and Vo continued to hold off Palfreyman, as Al-Kuwari climbed up to fourth position after six laps. There were no changes to the running order through lap 10, with Vo reducing the Swede s lead to 11.74 seconds and Al-Kuwari coming under pressure from fifth-placed Thomas Munthe-Kaas.
The Norwegian managed to pass the Qatari on lap 11 and snatch fourth position, as Forss benefited from clear water to extend his lead to 14.02 seconds. There were no late dramas for the series leader and he extended his advantage in the championship over Palfreyman to 15 points with a second win of the season by beating Vo by 15.21 seconds. Al-Kuwari reached the finish in fifth place.
21st Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi results: 1- Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 32 laps
2. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 2.84sec; 3- Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc F1 Team 5.92sec
4. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 7.66sec;- 5. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 9.39sec
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 11.50sec;7- Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 13.30sec
8. Terry Rinker (QAT) Qatar Team 15.91sec; 9- Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team 17.48sec
10. Duarte Benavente (POR) F1 Atlantic Team 22.66sec
2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship standings after round 5
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 79 pts ; 2. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 57 pts
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 53 pts; 4. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 50 pts
5. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 40 pts 6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 26 pts
7. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 17 pts; 8. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team 13 pts
9. Yousef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 Atlantic Team 11 pts; 10-Ghaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 10 pts, etc
2012 F-4S Drivers Eurofin Trophy standings after race 10 of 12
1. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden 175 pts ; 2. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Atlantic Team 160 pts;
3. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica 105 pts; 4. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) CTIC China Team 67 pts;
5. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team 51 pts; 6.Viktor Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc 42 pts;
7. Mohamed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 39 pts; 8. Kornel Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc 33 pts;
9. Jan Andre Landsnes (NOR) Team Singha 19 pts; 9. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 19 pts;
11. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha 13 pts; and 12. Bincheng Wu (CHN) CTIC China Team 5 pts.(END)