C1 Team Qatar heads to Arendal in Norway for Class One bonanza
2009 UIM-WPPA CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
BMW Norwegian Grand Prix, rounds 2 and 3 – July 17th-19th, 2009
For immediate release
Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
TEAM QATAR HEADS TO ARENDAL IN NORWAY
FOR NEW CLASS ONE RACE DOUBLE-HEADER
· Sheikh Hassan relishes new two-race format in Norway
· Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini confident after recent Italian test
ARENDAL (Norway): A new two-race format and the possibility of double points are the attraction for Team Qatar at the BMW Norwegian Grand Prix, rounds two and three of the 2009 UIM-WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, in Arendal this weekend (July 18th-19th).
His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti arrive in Scandinavia with their respective throttlemen, Steve Curtis MBE and Matteo Nicolini, keen to build upon the form they showed at the opening race of the season in Doha back in April.
Championship officials have modified the format of the championship since Sheikh Hassan sealed second position in Doha Bay and Al-Sulaiti was sidelined with engine damage after leading through the early laps of his home race. Each of the remaining five race meetings, starting with Arendal this weekend, will feature two Class One races – a concept that has already been introduced successfully by the UIM F1 World Championship.
“The new race format will give teams more chances to earn points and not leave the race weekend if they encounter technical and mechanical problems,” enthused Sheikh Hassan. “There is now a good chance that a boat that breaks in race one will make it for race two. It will also give the race meeting more media exposure. The concept will attract more spectators and we are expecting this to happen in Arendal at the weekend.”
Team Qatar is expecting a fierce challenge from the Dubai-based Victory Team on the fjord course in Norway, but Nicolini has been busy between the two races testing his race hull to ensure that Spirit of Qatar 95 is reliable and competitive when the first practice session gets underway on Friday afternoon.
Nicolini was testing recently on Lake Lecco in Italy to try out a new exhaust system and to refine the engine package for Spirit of Qatar 95. “We have the performance and the boat is very fast,” admitted the Italian. “We have a good weight balance, even if we do suffer at the start by carrying extra fuel, but we have good torque from the V8 engines and we wanted to test out a new exhaust system to get everything ready for the weekend.”
Sheikh Hassan considers the Arendal course to be the best venue in the entire series and he plans to test Spirit of Qatar 96 before the official practice gets underway on Friday. “Arendal is challenging and is more of a driver’s course. It is more technical for the throttleman, as he needs to set the boat up for calm and rough conditions.”
The President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) has taken two Class One victories in Norway – in Oslo and Trondheim – and showed a superb pace in the Edox Pole Position competition last season on the tricky fjord course. “The Edox Pole still remains with the new race format and we have a new kilo run (Edox Speed Run), so it’s still very important because the winners of the Edox will line-up at the front of the starting grid.”
“With the two-race format, drivers will have to exercise more caution,” admits Sheikh Hassan. “It would be costly to damage the boat and miss out on the second race, but I still expect everyone to be pushing hard from the start and there is sure to be a frantic fight to the finish. The goal for us is first and second places. Spirit of Qatar 95 needs to be on the scoreboard as well.”
Sheikh Hassan currently trails the Fazza 3 boat of Arif Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi by five championship points after the Doha race and admits that some work has been done to the older aerodynamic package for Spirit of Qatar 96. “We have got it back to increase lift for the longer straights on the Arendal course. Hopefully, that will help us get to the top by the end of the season.”
The first official 90-minute practice session gets underway on Friday afternoon at 2.30pm (local time) and is followed by the Class 1 Edox Speed Run and podium presentation at 5pm.
The Edox Pole Position will start at noon on Saturday and run for 90 minutes. Race officials have decided that there will be no limit to the number of laps that can be completed. Qatar’s Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini claimed Pole Position in Doha and lead Al-Zafeen and Bin Hendi by five points in the Edox Pole Position Championship.
Saturday’s first 50.85Nm BMW Norwegian Grand Prix will run for nine laps, including one long lap, and a maximum time of 35 minutes. It starts at 5pm.
Teams will be permitted to take part in a third one-hour practice session on Sunday morning from 10am, although the starting order for the longer second race will be determined by the finishing order of Saturday’s first Grand Prix. Sunday’s 68.21Nm race is scheduled for 12 laps, including two long laps, and a maximum running time of 45 minutes, starting at 2.30pm. Both races count for full championship points.
2009 Edox Pole Position Championship – positions after round 1:
1. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Spirit of Qatar 95 20 pts
2. Arif Al-Zafeen(UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Fazza 3 15 pts
3. Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Qatar 96 12 pts
4. Mohammad Al-Mehairi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 1 9 pts
5. Christian Zaborowski (N)/Jorn Tandberg (N) Welmax 90 7 pts
6. Christian Rivolta (I)/Giovanni Carpitella (I) Aurantium 10 5 pts
7. Giorgio Manuzzi (RSM)/Peter McGrath (NZ) Maritimo 12 4 pts
8. Francesco Pansini (MON)/Giampaolo Montevoci (I) Foresti & Suardi/Roscioli 8 3 pts
9. Riccardo Calugi (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I)/ Giorgiooffshore 18 2 pts
2009 UIM-WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship – positions after round 1:
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen(UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Fazza 3 20 pts
2. Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Qatar 96 15 pts
3. Mohammad Al-Mehairi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 1 12 pts
4. Christian Rivolta (I)/Giovanni Carpitella (I) Aurantium 10 9 pts
5. Riccardo Calugi (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I)/ Giorgioffshore 18 7 pts
6. Francesco Pansini (MON)/Giampaolo Montevoci (I) Foresti & Suardi/Roscioli 8 5 pts
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).