C1 Engine woes and a crash ruin Norwegian weekend for Qatar Team


BMW Norwegian Grand Prix, round 2 – July 19th, 2009


For immediate release

Sunday, July 19th, 2009





·        Sheikh Hassan sidelined after a barrel-roll on lap seven

·        Norwegian race win falls to Al-Mehairi and Sanchez in Victory 1

·        Engine problems cost Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini shot at fourth place


ARENDAL (Norway): Bad weather had washed out the first of the two BMW Norwegian Grand Prix races in Arendal on Saturday, but the Spirit of Qatar Team endured a disappointing second round of the 2009 UIM WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship on Sunday.


His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis MBE retired Qatar 96 from third position after a barrel-roll on the seventh lap and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini eventually retired Spirit of Qatar 95 with engine problems on lap 11, after pushing hard to take fourth place.


The race developed into a fierce tussle between Victory 1 and Fazza 3, with the Pole-winning Victory 1 boat of Mohammed Al-Mehairi and Jean-Marc Sanchez eventually sealing maximum points and the race win after a dramatic, weather-dominated race weekend. It was a race to remember for the Maritimo Australia team as well, with Maritimo 11 heading Maritimo 12 to take the remaining places on the podium behind Victory 1.


“Once again we have left a race meeting empty-handed,” said a disappointed Al-Sulaiti. “It was a miserable weekend for everyone in the Qatar Team. We were blocked badly at the start and had to ease off the throttle and that cost us a lot of time.


“Then we started to push hard and were making up time. We actually had a little spin, but we were closing on Maritimo (12) when the right engine failed. I saw smoke and realised that was the end of that. Hassan’s boat was damaged in his accident. We were the first boat to pass and it was obvious that he had barrel-rolled out. There was a lot of damage to the rear of the boat. It was just a disappointing weekend for us all.”


Sunday’s race was extended to 17 laps because of the cancellation of Saturday’s competition and the new plan was for a race of 96.31Nm, with two compulsory long laps of 6.12 Nm, a start lap of 5.39 Nm and 14 runs through the 5.62Nm course.


Victory 1 hoped to take advantage of Pole Position into the all-important first turn and Mohammed Al-Mehairi and Jean-Marc Sanchez managed to complete the first lap with a 3.53s advantage over Fazza 3, with Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95 down in fourth and fifth places through the opening lap. Welmax was down in seventh position, although all nine boats completed the first tour.


Victory 1’s lead had grown to just over five seconds through lap two, but Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini were clearly struggling and were passed by Maritimo 12 before the lap was completed. Sheikh Hassan clung to fourth position, but was unable to make in-roads into Pal-Virik Nilsen’s hold on third place in the resurgent Maritimo 11. Fazza 3 held on to Victory 1’s coat-tails through lap three and all nine boats held station heading into lap four, with Sheikh Hassan managing to edge a little closer to Maritimo 11’s spray.


Spirit of Qatar 96 closed to within four seconds of third place through lap four, where Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini opted to take their first long lap in 95 and slipped back to seventh. Jorn Tandberg and Kolbjörn Selmer had been tipped for Norwegian home success in Welmax 90, but they slipped out of contention on the fourth tour.


Fazza 3 reduced Victory 1’s lead to just 2.84s through lap five and Sheikh Hassan joined Abdullah Al-Sulaiti on a long lap strategy. Giorgiooffshore slipped out of the reckoning and Spirit of Qatar 95 duly regained sixth position.


Victory 1 opted for a long lap on the sixth tour and Fazza 3 edged into a 15.98s overall lead for the first time. Sheikh Hassan managed to slip into third position when Maritimo 11 lost crucial seconds taking a long lap. The lap strategy was becoming crucial and Fazza 2 opted to remain on the normal course through lap seven and the overall lead grew to 19.15s.


Maritimo 11 regained third place when Sheikh Hassan dramatically stopped with mechanical problems on lap seven. Spirit of Qatar 96’s misfortune promoted 95 to fifth position, but it was developing into a disappointing afternoon for the Qatar team. Fazza 3’s long run on lap eight saw the Dubai team’s lead reduced to 5.80s, as Spirit of Qatar 95 began to close in on Maritimo 12 and fourth place.


Victory 1 fell further behind Fazza through lap nine, after taking a second long lap, but Fazza followed suit on the 10th lap to leave a straight fight to the finish on the cards between the Dubai boats over the final seven laps of the Arendal course. A charging Nicolini had Maritimo 12 firmly in his sights, as the surviving seven runners completed their long laps. But engine woes eventually sidelined the Qatar boat and capped a miserable weekend for the QMSF.


Fazza’s lead was 7.74s through lap 10 and 2.44s through lap 11, but Victory 1 managed to take the lead in lap 12, as Fazza hit trouble and Maritimo 11 inherited second place. The field was decimated through lap 12, with Welmax 90 struggling on at the rear of the field in seventh place, albeit several laps behind the leaders.


Victory 1 headed off into the distance through lap 13 and held on through the closing laps to seal an emphatic victory. Second position for Pal-Virik Nilsen and Tom Barry-Cotter marked a career-best Class One result for the promising youngsters.


Official practice


Sunday morning’s practice session was extended and times set in the stint denoted the starting line-up for the revised race. It was crucial, therefore, that the Spirit of Qatar Team were quickly into a competitive pace.


Victory 1 eventually claimed Pole Position for the race with a fastest second lap of 3m 21.04s, although Qatar 95 and Qatar 96 slotted into second and third places on the front row with fastest laps of 3m 21.75s and 3m 21.95s.


Championship-leading Fazza 3 started the race from fourth position, courtesy of a quickest first lap of 3m 22.25s, with Welmax and Giorgiooffshore the closest challengers.


2009 BMW Norwegian Grand Prix – race result:

1. Mohammad Al-Mehairi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 1                     58m 17.06s                       

2. Pal-Virik Nilsen (N)/Tom Barry-Cotter (AUS)/ Maritimo 11                           @ 1m 28.95s                                               

3. Giorgio Manuzzi (RSM)/Peter McGrath (NZ) Maritimo 12                           @ 2m 07.17s                       

4. Giampiero Soave (I)/Giampaolo Montevoci (I) Foresti & Suardi 8                     1 lap behind           

5. Arif Al-Zafeen(UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Fazza 3                                  3 laps behind                                               

6. Kolbjörn Selmer (N)/Jorn Tandberg (N) Welmax 90                                            5 laps behind                       

Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Spirit of Qatar 95                    DNF                                                   

Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Qatar 96   DNF   

Riccardo Calugi (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I)/ Giorgiooffshore 18                                 DNF   




For further information:

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




Date issued: 19/07/2009

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