New world champion fails to finish after hitting buoy

Thani Al Qamzi of Team Abu Dhabi led from start to finish to win the Grand Prix of Sharjah and final round of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship over the weekend.

Thani, who was hounded throughout by defending World Champion Sami Selio, set the pace with Sami coming as close as 1.1 seconds in the final third of the race before pulling away late to win by a clear 5.89 seconds.
“I am so happy about the result and for my crew who worked so hard all season long only to have misfortune for six straight races before we came alive in the final two events on home waters,” said Thani. “Now we can head into next season with our heads up and really make a giant run for the championship for 2009.”

Selio, who started from the pole position, again struggled at the start and lost the lead on the opening lap when Al Qamzi got round him and powered out of the final turn and never looked back. Selio was fighting for a win all the way and not just the runner-up trophy.

“We again got out run to the first couple of turns but we were in the hunt all afternoon, so we are pleased at the end of the day to capture second in the championship, said the Finnish driver. “We came a long way back in this championship but are now truly satisfied with the performance and chomping at the bit to get going for the 2009 season.”

Jonas Andersson from Sweden had the best start of the day coming up from fifth. He finished 9.49 seconds behind the winner to collect third slot in the championship with 62 points.

“This is the result I needed to push us for next season as we bring in new boats and a stronger sponsorship. It will put us in a frame of mind for a series chance of the championship,” said the 33 year-old driver.

The new World Champion, Jay Price went from sixth pole to fourth until he got knotted up in his close chase with Jonas Andersson for third place and hit a buoy. He ended up damaging his boat on its chain and failed to finish.

The 2008 Formula 1 World Championship ended with Jay Price winning the championship. The 2009 series starts in mid-April with the Grand Prix of Portugal in Portimao.