C1 Qatar 95 clinches victory in final Class 1 race of 2009

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

For immediate release
Saturday, December 13th, 2008


·Broken propeller blade caps miserable season for Qatar 96
·Qatar set to host opening round of 2009 series in April

MINA SEYAHI (UAE): Qatar 95's Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini secured a sensational victory in the Emirates and Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, the final round of the 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, on Saturday afternoon.

The pair led for the majority of the race to confirm third position in both the Class 1 World and Middle East Championships, with Al-Sulaiti recording his first Class 1 success since Doha in 2006 and Nicolini winning his first race since Trondheim in 2005.

His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis MBE have endured a miserable season in Qatar 96 and mechanical problems on the fourth lap ruined their chances of taking a first win of the season and battling with their team mates for third in the two championships.

"Obviously we are delighted for Abdullah and Matteo that they have taken a win and let's hope that we have now put all the bad luck behind us and can concentrate on preparing for 2009," said Sheikh Hassan. "We were running well up at the front of the field and pushing for the lead when we shed a blade on a propeller. It was early in the race and we could have repaired it, but I didn't really feel like running with the back markers at the rear of the field."

Both Qatar crews were fighting between themselves for third position in both the World and Middle East Championships, although both Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Sheikh Hassan wanted to end the season with their first wins of the year. But Victory 1 had stolen a march on the Qatar boats at the end of lap one and held a 2.82s lead over Qatar 95, with Victory 7, Qatar 96 and Jotun filling the top five positions.

Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini managed to pass the World Champions by the end of lap two and held a 3.57s lead, with Sheikh Hassan moving up to third place. Just seven seconds separated the top four boats and all 11 were still running. Qatar 96 managed to squeeze past Victory 1 on lap three of 20 and the Qatar duo began to pull away from their rivals, but Qatar 96 hit trouble on the fourth tour with a broken propeller and slipped to fifth position, although Al-Sulaiti extended his lead over Victory 1 to 8.11s, with Victory 7 and Jotun trailing in their wake.

The lead was up to 10.63s through lap five, as Qatar 96's cruel season ended with a broken propeller. The Qatar Team's hopes now lay with Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini, who remained in a good position to take third in both the World and Middle East championships with the Sterling V8-engined Qatar 95.

Their lead was pegged back to 8.35s through lap six and increased to 10.45s after lap eight. Both Victory boats maintained the pressure on Qatar 95, but there was a lead of 11.11s heading into the 10th tour and the half-way point. Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini were on course for their first respective Class 1 wins since Qatar in 2006 and Trondheim in 2005 and the lead increased to 15.01s after lap 11.

Jotun became the unlikely closest challenger after the 12th lap, with Victory 1 and Victory 7 holding third and fourth positions, although 10 of the boats were still running. Jotun had whittled Qatar 95's lead down to 12.33s through lap 13 and to 9.56s after lap 14, setting up the prospect of a thrilling final six laps of the season. The lead was down to 8.8s after the 15th circuit. At this rate both boats would be neck and neck heading into the final turns, but Victory 1 managed to regain second position on lap 16, when Jotun hit trouble, and Al-Sulaiti headed into the last five laps with a 26.74s lead.

Qatar 95 maintained a consistent pace through laps 17 and 18, although the lead was down to 19.26s heading into the final two laps. But the season ended on a high note for the Qatar Team, with Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini holding on to take a first win of the year and refill the team with confidence before a new campaign in 2009.

Both Qatar boats were comfortably the pace-setters in the final official practice session of the season, with Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis posting a time of 3m 05.82s. Qatar 95 was just under three seconds adrift, with the ever-improving Roscioli Hotels Roma in third position with a lap of 3m 12s. Ten of the 11 registered boats took advantage of the session, with Jotun the only boat skipping the session.

Meanwhile, details of the provisional 2009 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship calendar were announced at a press conference in Dubai prior to the final round of the series. A minimum of eight races will run from the provisional 10-race calendar, with the Qatar Grand Prix in Doha getting the series underway on April 23-25th. A final calendar will be announced in January.

 2008 Emirates and Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix - race results:
1. Qatar 95 - Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)/Matteo Nicolini (Italy)      1h 01m 02.79s
2. Victory 1 - Mohammed Al Marri (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)      @ 8.56s
3. Victory 7 - Abdullah Al Mehairbi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (France)     @ 51.49s
4. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - Sergio Mora Carrasco (Spain)/Giovanni Carpitella (Italy)  @ 1m 57.56s
5. Foresti & Suardi 8 - Kolbjorn Selmer (Norway)/Gianpaolo Montavoci (Italy)    @ 2m 31.60s
6. Negotiator 50 - Chris Parsonage (England)/Billy Moore (USA)    @ 2m 51.11s
7. Giorgioffshore 18 - Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (Italy)/Nicola Giorgi (Italy)     @ 3m 35.77s
8. Spirit of Spain 60 - Christian Rivolta (Italy)/Mohammed Abdelkader Ahmed (Spain)       2 laps behind
9. Jotun 90 - Inge Brigt Aarbakke (Norway)/Jorn Tandberg (Norway)    3 laps behind
10. Maritimo 11 - Tom-Barry Cotter (Australia)/Pal-Virik Nilsen (Norway)   7 laps behind
Qatar 96 - Hassan Al-Thani (Qatar)/Steve Curtis (England)      DNF

2009 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship - provisional calendar
23-25 April  QATAR GP - Doha
14-16 May  EGYPTIAN GP - Porto Sokhna
5-7 June   SPANISH GP - Alicante
3-5 July   RUSSIAN GP - Moscow
17-19 July   NORWEGIAN GP - Arendal
28-30 August  ROMANIAN GP - Constanta
4-6 September  UKRAINIAN GP - (TBA)
2-4 October  ITALIAN GP - Stresa
3-5 December  UAE GP - TBC
11-13 December  UAE GP - TBC


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: 13/12/2008

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