C1 Sheikh Hassan misses out on Pole Position title by 5/100ths of a second

Emirates and Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, round 8 - December 11th-13th, 2008

For immediate release
Friday, December 12th, 2008


·Qatar 95's Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini qualify in fourth position
·Race Pole Position and Edox title fall to Victory 1

MINA SEYAHI (UAE): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis MBE missed out on the 2008 Class 1 Edox Pole Position World Championship title by a mere 5/100ths of a second after a thrilling competition at the Emirates and Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, the final round of the 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, on Friday afternoon.

Qatar team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini finished fourth and confirmed a similar position in the Edox Pole Position championship in Al-Sulaiti's 29th Class 1 race meeting. Pole Position for Saturday's race and the 2008 Edox Pole title fell to Mohammed Al-Marri and Nadir Bin Hendi in Victory 1.

Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis headed into the final Edox Pole Position competition of the year a mere three points behind Victory 1 and the tension was paramount at the start of the session. In the last two race meetings, Qatar 96 had posted a stunning opening lap to clinch maximum points. Could Sheikh Hassan do it again?

Victory 1 laid down the target lap with a 2m 41.28s tour and Victory 7 was just outside in a time of 2m 42.46s, as the Dubai-based team fired the first shots across the bows of Team Qatar. But Qatar 95 and Qatar 96 were both in superb form and Sheikh Hassan carded a 2m 37.71s lap to take the lead, with Qatar 95 slotting into second position as planned with a lap of 2m 38.92s to set up the prospect of a thrilling Pole competition.

Jotun quickly pushed Qatar 95 into third with a lap of 2m 38.92s, although the Norwegian's time also forced Victory 1 down the order and this played into the Qatar Team's hands. Jotun failed to improve on their second run and it was advantage Team Qatar after the opening 15 minutes, as the remainder of the field ran for the first two of their four permitted laps.

Qatar 95 fell just short of Jotun's time on their second circuit and Victory 1 was unable to make an impression on the top three as the world title edged towards Sheikh Hassan and Qatar 96. Victory 7 also fell short on lap two, but Sheikh Hassan was leaving nothing to chance and was sitting tight waiting to head out on to the course for a second run.

But Victory 1 hit back with a vengeance on lap three and posted the fastest time of the session of 2m 37.29s to edge into a 0.42s lead and force Qatar 96 back on to the water. The tension was rising to fever pitch in the team management area, as Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis now faced the most important race lap of their 2008 race season.

Their first attempt of 2m 38.14s fell just short, even though it was the third fastest time of the entire qualifying session. That gave Qatar 96 just two laps to salvage a world title from a disappointing season as the session headed into the last 15 minutes. Qatar 95 was unable to improve on fourth position with a final tour of 2m 41.51s, as all eyes focused on the performance of Qatar 96 in the closing minutes. The crew set another stunning lap of 2m 37.34s, but it was still 0.05s short of Pole Position and the fourth lap fell wide of the mark to hand Pole and the title to Victory 1.

"The whole team was feeling confident this morning," admitted Al-Sulaiti. "We had a good run yesterday and were pleased with our times this morning. Obviously we want to finish the season with a win in the last race tomorrow, but the objective this afternoon was to finish first and second in the Pole Position and try and help Sheikh Hassan to take the Pole title."

Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis ran quickest in the second practice session on Friday morning, with Qatar 96 running just under one second quicker than Jotun with a best tour of 2m 35.90s. Victory 7 and Victory 1 were third and fourth, with Qatar 95 also running for two laps and recording the fifth best time of 2m 37.98s.

Qatar 95's Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini posted the fastest time in Thursday afternoon's first official practice, a lap of 2m 31.59s in ideal weather conditions sufficient to edge Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis into second place, with Victory 7 in third position. Alternator problems forced Victory 1 out of the running for a quick time

Saturday's final race of the season starts with a one-hour practice stint from 10am, with the Emirates and Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix firing into life at 2.30pm. The official awards dinner and prize giving for the 2008 championship will take place later that evening at the DIMC.
 2008 Emirates and Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix - Edox Pole Position times:
1. Victory 1 - Mohammed Al Marri (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)      2m 37.29s
2. Qatar 96 - Hassan Al-Thani (Qatar)/Steve Curtis (England)      2m 37.34s
3. Jotun 90 - Inge Brigt Aarbakke (Norway)/Jorn Tandberg (Norway)    2m 38.92s
4. Qatar 95 - Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)/Matteo Nicolini (Italy)      2m 38.98s
5. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - Sergio Mora Carrasco (Spain)/Giovanni Carpitella (Italy)  2m 41.50s
6. Victory 7 - Abdullah Al Mehairbi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (France)     2m 41.96s
7. Foresti & Suardi 8 - Kolbjorn Selmer (Norway)/Gianpaolo Montavoci (Italy)    2m 46.64s
8. Negotiator 50 - Chris Parsonage (England)/Billy Moore (USA)    2m 47.04s
9. Maritimo 11 - Tom-Barry Cotter (Australia)/Pal-Virik Nilsen (Norway)   2m 49.62s
10. Giorgioffshore 18 - Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (Italy)/Nicola Giorgi (Italy)     2m 54.26s
11. Spirit of Spain 60 - Christian Rivolta (Italy)/Mohammed Abdelkader Ahmed (Spain)     2m 56.40s

2008 CLASS 1 EDOX POLE POSITION - final positions
1. Victory 1 - 122 pts * 
2. Qatar 96 - 114 pts  
3. Jotun 90 - 82 pts   
4. Qatar 95 - 68 pts  
5. Victory 7 - 50 pts, etc  

* denotes 2008 Class 1 Edox Pole Position World Champions


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: 12/12/2008

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