C1 Transmission woes thwart Sheikh Hassan in the UAE

Mina Seyahi Grand Prix, round 7 - December 6th, 2008

For immediate release
Saturday, December 6th, 2008


·Victory 1 takes outright win and world title
·Fourth overall for Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini in Qatar 95

MINA SEYAHI (UAE): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis MBE were the class of the field in Saturday's Mina Seyahi Grand Prix, but a massive lead evaporated on lap 15 when they suffered transmission problems and slipped out of the running.

Victory 1 and Victory 7 had fought a cat and mouse battle for second and third positions and eventually benefited from Qatar 96's demise to take first and second places, with Victory 1 doing enough to extend their lead in the 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship to an unassailable 20 points and confirming the world title, engine bonus points not withstanding. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini finished fourth in a struggling Qatar 95.

Sheikh Hassan will now be aiming to clinch the Class 1 Pole Position World Championship in next weekend's final race of the season. He will return to Mina Seyahi a mere three points behind Victory 1 in the Edox Pole Position points' standings.

"It is just not our year," reflected a disappointed Curtis. "We had a massive 50 second or so lead and then we had a problem with the drop box and that was the end of that. It's very disappointing. Now we must look to next weekend and try and win the Pole Position to salvage something from this season."

"We are disappointed with fourth position," admitted Matteo Nicolini. "This boat is very difficult to drive when it is heavy and full of fuel and we had two spin outs on the turns. But we managed to recover and were chasing down the SevenEleven boat when one of the engines lost pressure and we had no power to catch them. Now we must try our best next weekend to get a podium."

Both Qatar boats had the ideal starting position and a good line into the first buoy was crucial. Qatar 96 and the Victory 1 and 7 boats were the first to complete the first lap, with Qatar 95 down in fifth place. Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis extended 96's lead to 15.24s through lap two, although there was no sign of either Jotun or Negotiator and only eight of the original 11 boats were running

The lead was extended to 20.19s through lap three and 25.20s through the fourth tour as Qatar 95 settled into a solid fourth place, once Maritimo's early charge faltered. Foresti & Suardi was the first boat to opt for the first of the two long laps and duly slipped behind Maritimo into seventh position, although Roscioli's challenge had already come to an end and only seven boats were still running with 17 laps remaining.

Sheikh Hassan continued to pull away through lap five, although the battle for the world title was being decided between Victory 1 and Victory 7 in second and third positions. The Qatar Team's lead was 33.41s after lap six, although none of the top four had opted for a long lap at this point. Qatar 96's domination showed no signs of abating through lap eight either and Sheikh Hassan reached the start of lap nine with a massive 43.32s advantage, although he and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti opted for the first of two long laps on the ninth circuit.

The lead was reduced to 19.40s until the 10th lap where both the Victory boats opted for their first long lap. The advantage duly rose to 54.67s and Sheikh Hassan immediately opted for a second long lap to conserve the sizeable advantage as he closed in on a first Class 1 win in three years. The decision pegged the lead back to 23.65s, but it was clear water from now on as Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis settled into a potent rhythm at the head of the field.

The Victory duo took their second long lap on the 12th tour and Qatar 96's comfortable lead of 50.31s was restored. But Qatar 95 slipped behind SevenEleven on lap 13 and into fifth position and faced a frenetic final eight laps to try and restore fourth place with a struggling boat.

But Qatar 96 dramatically lost the lead on lap 15 and was passed by both the Victory boats in a carbon copy of the disappointment that had marred the recent race in Egypt. SevenEleven and Qatar 95 also passed the stricken Qatar boat and Sheikh Hassan's cruel luck continued as he stopped seven laps short of what would have been a stunning win.

Victory 1 and 7 held station over the closing laps to record an excellent result on home waters and SevenEleven completed an unlikely podium, with Qatar 95 in fourth and Maritimo taking fifth position, although only four boats completed the 21 punishing laps.

Thunderstorms, torrential rain and poor visibility caused the delay and shortening of Saturday's final practice session, with Jotun eventually posting the quickest lap of 2m 50.76s after running for three laps. Only six boats took to the water and Qatar 95 were second fastest with a solitary lap of 2m 53.57s.

2008 Mina Seyahi Grand Prix - Results:
1. Victory 1 - Mohammed Al Marri (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)      60m 47.64s
2. Victory 7 - Abdullah Al Mehairbi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (France)     @ 1m 01.4s
3. SeveneleveN 18 - Giorgio Manuzzi (Italy)/Nicola Giorgi (Italy)      @ 2m 30.73s
4. Qatar 95 - Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)/Matteo Nicolini (Italy)      1 lap behind
5. Maritimo 11 - Tom-Barry Cotter (Australia)/Pal-Virik Nilsen (Norway)   4 laps behind
6. Foresti & Suardi 8 - Kolbjorn Selmer (Norway)/Gianpaolo Montavoci (Italy)    5 laps behind
7. Qatar 96 - Hassan Al-Thani (Qatar)/Steve Curtis (England)      7 laps behind
Jotun 90 - Inge Brigt Aarbakke (Norway)/Jorn Tandberg (Norway)    DNF
Negotiator 50 - Chris Parsonage (England)/Billy Moore (USA)    DNF
Spirit of Spain 88 - Sergio Mora Carrasco (Spain)/Giovanni Carpitella (Italy)   DNF
Roscioli Hotels Roma 60 - Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE)/Mohammed Abdelkader Ahmed (Spain)  DNF


For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).



Date issued: 06/12/2008

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