DOHA, Qatar – 29th of March, 2008 – Swedish driver Jonas Andersson got rid of 2 years of frustration in one afternoon winning the opening round of the 2008 U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating by 1.76 seconds over Qatar Team driver Jay Price to win the 5th Annual Grand Prix of Qatar in front of thousands of fans along the dazzling cornice in downtown Doha.
The 33 year-old driver from Fruvi, Sweden driving his DAC for F1 Team Sweden lost pole position at the start of the race to Team Abu Dhabi driver Thani Al Qamzi as the Emirates driver led until going out of the race on the 31st of 48 laps. This opened the door for Jonas to re-establish himself in the lead position and 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 came home in 6th as well in his very first F1 event,” stated Jonas. “Now we are over the moon with excitement and really believe we can keep this good performance going as we head back to Europe and Portimao in five weeks time.”
Home team driver Price did his best in a brand new boat and gambling on a last minute choice of propellers that seemed to really pay off at the end. He stayed within shouting distance of the leaders all day one time getting almost side by side with Andersson before finally settling for 2nd at the end of the afternoon and to cheers by the vocal loyal home town crowd.
“We had a shot,” said the native of New Orleans, Louisiana. “My new boat was perfect and my crew did a great job dialing it in since this was our first time out in it. Hopefully the setup will be even better when we go to Portugal next month.”
Bringing up the final spot on the podium was Australian David Trask who also introduced the world to his new boat and it looks to be the real deal setting maybe the fastest lap of the race in the process. He was the fastest boat out on the Arabian Gulf in the final 10 laps and earned every bit of his 12 points for 3rd at the end of the day.
Defending World Champion Sami Selio in his BABA Woodstock Red Devil Racing hull, had is 2 race winning streak stopped with a 4th place finish being 23.25 seconds behind Andersson’s winning boat and 5 seconds behind Trask for the 3rd place tussle.
Finishing 5th was a disappointed two time past winner of the race in Doha Guido Cappellini of the DAC Team as he never really had a grip on the situation all day and was sitting in 3rd a ways behind Jay Price only to be docked a lap for hitting a buoy losing a lap and taking a 5th place at days end.
Seventh was Frenchman Philippe Chiappe who continues to run strongly after starting 12th for the F1 Atlantic Team and picking up 4 points in the championship.
Eighth Stanislav Kourtsenovsky from St. Petersburg, Russia drove his first race for 5 years in the DAC camp and struggled with trim and later was docked a lap for destroying a turn buoy while still managing to gather 3 points.
Philippe Tourre of Paris, drove the final boat of the three boat F1 Team Sweden armada into the top-10 with a ninth place finish despite getting a one lap penalty for going inside a buoy.
Rounding out the top-10 was Italian veteran Massimo Roggiero of the Woodstock Red Devil Racing Team was up in 6th most of the afternoon before falling away at the end picking up the final point of the race in his BABA built boat.
All in all 21 drivers took the start of the 48 lap Grand Prix of Qatar of the 23 drivers that arrived at the beginning of the week. With three drivers on the podium at days end and all three looking for their first victory with Jonas Andersson getting his first of his career on a historic afternoon, it shows that the 2008 season may be full of new surprises as it now heads back to the European continent for three races beginning in 5 weeks time at the 10th Annual Grand Prix of Porugal in picturesque Portimao on the Algarve coast on the 4th of May.