KWWC Spirit of Qatar Team prepare for 29th Key West World Championships


Key West, Florida – November 8th-15th, 2009

For immediate release

Saturday, November 7th, 2009





·        QMSF’s Sheikh Hassan relishing Florida race challenge

·        Spirit of Qatar 95 and 96 set for first American race outings


KEY WEST (Florida): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and the Spirit of Qatar Team are in Key West, Florida, this week to take part in the 29th Annual Key West World Championships.


Qatar’s Class 1 racing team, which runs under the auspices of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), opted to take part in the prestigious race meeting for the first time after withdrawing from this year’s Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.


The meeting will mark the first time that both Sheikh Hassan and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti have raced in the United States of America, although their respective throttlemen Steve Curtis and Matteo Nicolini have been there before. Nicolini has worked on a customer boat in the past and Curtis achieved considerable success during his four Superboat outings at the Florida venue.

“The boats were shipped from northern Europe and arrived in Florida some time ago,” said Sheikh Hassan. “The plan was to prepare them for the races and move them to Key West last Thursday (November 5th).”

The Spirit of Qatar Team will run both Qatar 96 and Qatar 95 in a similar specification to their Class 1 set-up and Sheikh Hassan admits that there will be no major changes before the Florida races.

“We will also keep our race strategy in place and that is to push for a win and the podium. I know it is new water for me, but the whole team is focused and will race hard for the win.”

Entering the annual Key West meeting is a step into the unknown for the Spirit of Qatar Team drivers, who normally know who their main rivals will be before the race.

“At the moment we don’t really know who is who,” admitted Sheikh Hassan. “Saying that, when the time comes to race, it doesn’t matter. You could be racing against anybody. The first race will determine who will be the people to watch and how they are running. Then we can see whom we have to beat.

“It has been too long for me to be away from Qatar 96 this year. It will be a bit strange when I first get in the boat in a racing environment, but we should get back on track in no time.”

Nicolini is also relishing the new American challenge and intends to carry out a pre-race test on the open sea and work with Mike Dannibale on engine-set-up. “Our strategy is to finish the three races and collect as many points as we can without taking too many risks, because there is such a short time between each race to repair any damage.

“I don’t really know the performance of the other boats in the 750 and 850 classes. We run around 927hp, but we are heavier than the local boats and will have to wait until race one to see what difference that makes.

“I think it’s very positive to be back in the boat with Abdullah. I also now know that Sheikh Hassan made completely the right decision to withdraw from Class 1 racing this year. I have been a spectator at two of the race venues since the team’s withdrawal and I realise that I would have been racing there for the wrong reasons and not for a podium if I had been taking part and that would have been unacceptable. Now I am looking forward to being back next season with new rules to avoid the situation that occurred this year and also to drastically reduce costs.”

The annual Key West event takes place over seven days, although Spirit of Qatar will race on Wednesday (November 11th), Friday (November 13th) and next Sunday (November 15th).

The Doha-based team will race in the Catamaran Superboat 750 and Superboat 850 classes. Curtis concurs that the American boats may be slightly lighter than Qatar’s Class 1 hulls, but he is enthusiastic that the Skema V12 power will stand Qatar 96 in good stead. Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini will use their trusty Sterling-engined Qatar 95.


Key West race week is held under the auspices of Super Boat International Productions and starts with a boat parade and registration at the Race Village, Truman Annex, tomorrow (Sunday).


Testing and official practice will be permitted on Tuesday (November 10th) between 09.00hrs and 17.00hrs (local time), before the first race fires into life on Wednesday.


Further testing and practice will be permitted on Thursday and the Spirit of Qatar Team will be in race action for a second time on Friday. Testing and practice is again allowed next Saturday and the final race of the Key West meeting fires into life next Sunday.




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: 07/11/2009

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