ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – (4th of December, 2008) – World Championship points leader Jay Price couldn’t have picked a better time to gain his first ever pole position and will lead the field of 22 drivers from 12 different countries at tomorrow’s 16th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi the 7th stop on the U.I.M. F1 World Championship for powerboating tour.
The lead driver of the Qatar Team who leads the championship by 36 points with just two races to run did a 47.99 second lap around the eight turn 2.175 kilometer course along the harborfront fighting cross winds that played havoc for all top six competitors in the “shootout” battle for pole position in the late afternoon.
“We are feeling very confident with our setup and it’s great to have the number one positon for tomorrow’s race,” said Jay. “We feel we can great jump on the field at the start and get the all important clear water needed to push in front and dicatate the event from the beginning of what will be a long race.”
Starting next to the American is defending World Champion Sami Selio of Helsinki, Finland sitting 3rd in the championship with 47 points and needing desperately to win here tomorrow and again in a week’s time in Sharjah just as he did a year ago to take the title.
“I feel the pressure isn’t really on me, it’s going to be on Jay, said the Woodstock Red Devil Racing driver. “I’ve been through this situation before and think that we have the crew and confidence to win both rounds again here in the Emirates. We’ll take it one lap at a time. Let’s see how it plays out.”
Sitting 3rd in the Swedish driver Jonas Andersson of the F1 Team Sweden group who is second in the championship with 49 points and 36 behind Jay’s 85 with just 40 points left for the taking. Jonas has had a steller season with two wins and a fourth in the only three races that he’s finished this season.
“We have no choice, it’s all or nothing for the title and there’s no going back, we have to win the last two races and then pray that Jay has problems,” said the 33 year-old driver.
Thani Al Qamzi will start from the 4th position for the homestanding Team Abu Dhabi squad looking for his first points of the season for the man who finished 3rd in the championship a year ago. Next to him in the fifth position will be Australian David Trask driving the Trask Brothers Racing boat qualifying .20 seconds of a lap slower than Al Qamzi with a 49.20 time.
Sixth is four time winner of this race Italian Guido Cappellini of the Tamoil F1 Team who ran a small propeller and paid the price with a 49.50 second time for the driver who is a nine time World Champion but is having a less than spectacular season sitting ninth in the championship and one victory.
Ahmad Al Hameli, last years Rookie-of-the-Year will begin from the seventh position after switching back to his BABA boat that was damaged in the race in Liuzhou, China back in October as he looks for his fourth podium finish of the season.
Eighth will be Portugal’s Duarte Benavente running his newly acquired Dragon 2008 boat for the Atlantic Team and doing a credible 50.22 second lap as he chases his second top five finish of the season.
Benavente’s teammate is French driver Philipe Chiappe who ran a 50.36 lap and will start ninth with Italian Fabio Comparato of the 800 Doctor Team hoping for his third podium of the season rounding out the top 10 drivers in qualifying.
Of course tomorrow will be a historic event with the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi being broadcast “live” on the internet on the website at www.f1boat.com beginning at 1500 local time and 11:00 GMT. The first 15 minutes will be used for testing and lining up the signal while the broadcast will begin at 1515 local and 1115 GMT with the Pre-Race Show with the actual race start at around 1533.
The formula for a World Championship for New Orleans, Louisiana driver Jay Price will be a simple one, finish at least sixth, or have any one driver other than Jonas Andersson and Sami Selio and you win the title. Less than 24 hours and we will know the formula to success one way or another.