World champion Carella, Torrente confident about first race
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK DOHA
THE pre-season testing turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it helped UIM F1 H2O world champion Qatar team avoid what might have become potentially a disaster in the season-opening race at the Doha Bay during this week.
Carella, who had won the driver’s title last season, could not have enough time in the boat as its bottom was ripped apart by the new propellers during the testing on Monday at Katara. The entire team is said to have worked tirelessly to repair the damage on time and Qatar Marine Sports Federation’s Formula Racing Head Khalid al Kuwari said the incident might have cost the team big if this had happened during the race week.
Doha will host the opening race of the world series on March 10 (Saturday). Qatar Team had a dream last season, claiming everything that was on offer. Alex Carella and Jay Price (2008 world champion) finished in the first two places, despite crashing in the final race in Sharjah.
Both Carella and Shaun Torrente looked charged up for the first assignment of the season, with the former trying to extend Qatar Team’s winning run to third race at home.
“We had two days of testing on Monday and Tuesday. On the first day, Alex tested and Shaun had the feeling of his boat on Tuesday. Khalid Saleh al Shamlan also tested his boat for the F4s series,” Kuwari said.
“During the testing, the boat of Alex suffered damage as its bottom came apart due to the new props that we had installed. Thank God, the incident took place during the testing time. Or if it had happened later in the week, it might have cost the race,” said Kuwari.
“The team worked very hard, managed to repair the boat and we’re ready to go,” added the team head.
Kuwari said: “The boat seemed to have got some stress either during the poor transportation by the shipping company in the second round at Portimao, Norway or in the collision with Price in Sharjah. We were really fortunate that this kind of problem came about before the season and we could deal with it.” Carella, who hopes to have good preparations during Thursday’s two-hour free practice, also echoed the optimism that is running through the Qatar Team’s camp.
“I’d some problem in the boat during the testing. But this is the race I’ve been waiting for. It is going to be my first race as the world champion.
“The first race of the season is always going to be a difficult one. I am confident and the entire team is trying to prepare the best possible boat for the home race,” added the Italian.
Talking about the absence of 2008 world champion Price, who retired after the Sharjah race last season, Carella said: “I would personally miss him more than anybody else in the team. When he was in the team, I always felt good and confident. We had a great season and it may be difficult to have another season like this.
“Also I’m still very sorry for the crash with him in the last race in Sharjah. I know he is coming to Qatar later but I won’t be here (to say sorry to him again). “We’ve a big team and now it’s my responsibility to do the job of winning the first race. I know the boat and also I know what to do in the race,” said Carella with determination.
His teammate Torrente, who will use Price’s boat, said: “It’s wonderful boat. The DAC was here early to prepare the boat for me and they did a great job. We played with the set up a bit and I’m feeling very comfortable going into the first race.” “What I’ve been through last year in order to get to this point now has been wonderful. For me, it is not pressure. It is an opportunity, an opportunity for us to do well for Qatar and show rest of the F1 crowd that we’re still strong,” said the American.