Scandinavians stun Qatar
Jonas Andersson won the opening round of the 2008 World Formula 1 Championship in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday by 1.76 seconds over local team driver Jay Price.
The 33 year-old driver from Fruvi, Sweden lost pole position at the start of the race to Team Abu Dhabi driver Thani Al Qamzi who led the fleet until being forced to retire on the 31st of the 48 lap contest. It was this retirement that opened the way for Jonas to re-establish himself in lead position. Once there he never looked back holding off a charging Jay Price to the final turn of the event.
“You can’t believe how happy my team is as we did a great job preparing not only my boat, but also my teammate Uvis Slakteris who finished sixth in his very first F1 event,” stated Jonas. “Now we are over the moon with excitement and hope we can keep this level of performance when we head back to Europe and Portimao in five weeks time.”
Home team driver Price did his best in a brand new rig gambling on a last minute choice of propellers that finally pay off. He stayed within shouting distance of the leaders throughout, one time getting almost alongside Andersson before finally settling for second slot.
“We had a shot,” said the native of New Orleans. “My new boat was perfect and my pit crew did a great job for its first race. Hopefully the setup will be even better when we go to Portugal.”
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Bringing up the final spot on the podium was Australian David Trask who was thought to have set the fastest lap of the race. He was certainly the fastest in closing laps and well earned the 12 points for finishing third.
Defending World Champion Sami Selio in his BABA Woodstock Red Devil Racing hull, had is two race winning streak stopped with a fourth placing finishing 23.25 seconds behind Andersson’s winning boat and five seconds astern of Trask.
Finishing in fifth place was a disappointed two time Doha winner and ex-Formula 1 world champion, Italian Guido Cappellini. He never really had a grip on the situation all day and lay third way behind Jay Price only to be penalised one lap for hitting a buoy.
Seventh was Frenchman Philippe Chiappe who continues to run strongly after starting 12th for the F1 Atlantic Team and picking up four points in the championship.
Eighth Stanislav Kourtsenovsky from St. Petersburg, Russia driving his first race for five years in the DAC camp. He struggled with trim throughout the race and was another penalised one lap for destroying a turn buoy. Despite this set-back he still managed to gather three points.
Philippe Tourre of Paris, drove the final boat of the three boat F1 Team Sweden armada into the top-ten with a ninth place finish despite getting a one lap penalty for going inside a buoy.
Rounding out the top-ten finishers was Italian veteran Massimo Roggiero of the Woodstock Red Devil Racing Team. He was up in sixth place most of the afternoon before falling away at the end picking up the final point.
The series now heads back to the Europe for the tenth Annual Grand Prix of Portugal that will be held in Portimao on May 4.