OPA Qatar Team heads to USA after Eid holiday to continue OPA challenge

Atlantic City, New Jersey – September 17/19

For immediate release
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010


· Sheikh Hassan and Ali Al-Neama raring to return to winning ways
· Qatar Team boats transferred from West Palm Beach to Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY (USA): The Qatar Team heads to the United States of America this week to continue its challenge for honours in the Supercat category of the prestigious 2010 American OPA Offshore Racing Series.

His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Ali Al-Neama missed the most recent round of the series in Patchogue because it fell within the Holy Month of Ramadan, but the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and Al-Neama – a potential powerboat racing star of the future – headed back to the USA immediately after the Eid holiday.

“I think we needed the break in any case,” said Sheikh Hassan, driver of Spirit of Qatar 96 alongside British throttleman Steve Curtis, who lie second in the series behind the American Talkin Trash entry. “We needed to finalise the boats with some minor safety changes and we had to upgrade the windscreen on (Spirit of Qatar) 95 and strengthen the rest of the canopy.

“We also had to give ourselves time to go over the equipment as part of the normal maintenance after each race. Now we will have three races with almost no time to do much maintenance between them.”

Ali-Al Neama and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini clinched a sensational victory at the St. Clair River Classic in Michigan before Ramadan and Sheikh Hassan is confident that the young Qatari can build upon that early career success, which has propelled Spirit of Qatar 95 into third place in the American OPA Offshore Racing Series’ Supercat category.

“Ali proved that he is now ready to push the boat faster and, in open seas, driving is easy. I hope he can repeat his performance this weekend. That win will have given his confidence a terrific boost and I am sure he will be hoping for the win again.”

Sheikh Hassan admits that the race venues on the eastern coast of the United States are new to members of the team. “In fact, the whole east coast is new to us,” he adds. “We know the races take place on open seas and we hope we can have an advantage with that if we experience rougher conditions.”

QMSF team members and technical staff arrive in the USA tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday to prepare for the weekend’s activities. “The Doha-based crew arrive on Wednesday and the rest will follow the day after. The boats will be travelling from West Palm Beach in Florida to New Jersey. This is a journey of around four days. We stored the boats along with the Geico team and we shared information on the set-up and learned from each other on the early rounds.”

Sheikh Hassan realises the importance of kick-starting the final three races of the America OPA Offshore season with a win. “I think we are still in very good shape compared to the rest of the teams in the series. This will be the first of the last three races and we aim to lock down the win on Sunday.”

Atlantic City is a resort community located on Absecon Island and situated in Atlantic County, New Jersey. It is famous for its boardwalk, tourism, sandy beaches and spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean. The city was incorporated on May 1, 1854 to coincide with the commencement of train services in the USA.

Team personnel will carry out registration formalities on Friday and the boats will be transferred to Trumps Marina. The first race is scheduled to start at noon (ET) on Sunday, September 19th (19.00hrs Doha time), with the last of the races planned to finish around 17.00 hrs ET (00.00hrs Doha time).

Positions after round 5 of 8:
1. Talkin’ Trash 30 351 pts
2. Spirit of Qatar 96 290 pts
3. Spirit of Qatar 95 243 pts
4. JD Byrider 45 230 pts
5. WHM 5 176 pts
6. Fury 88 0 pts


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



Date issued: 14/09/2010

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