C1 Sheikh Hassan announces Qatar Team's dramatic return to Class 1 racing series in 2011
2011 UIM CLASS ONE WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) – latest news
For immediate release
Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
SHEIKH HASSAN CONFIRMS QATAR TEAM
SET TO RETURN TO CLASS ONE IN 2011
· Steve Curtis set to partner Sheikh Hassan in Spirit of Qatar 96
· Qatar’s Ali Al-Neama set for Class One debut with Italy’s Nicolini
DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani today made the dramatic announcement that the Qatar Team will return to the UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship in 2011.
The President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) withdrew the Qatar Team from the series mid-way through the 2009 season after a race in Arendal and tackled a selection of races in the United States and Australia last season, culminating in the OPA American Supercat Championship title.
But Sheikh Hassan has confirmed that he will again team up with English throttleman Steve Curtis at the helm of Spirit of Qatar 96 and Qatar’s Ali Al-Neama will be partnered by Italian Matteo Nicolini in Spirit of Qatar 95.
Both boats have been rebuilt in the United States during the close season and will now be shipped back to the Middle East to enable Sheikh Hassan’s team of mechanics to complete pre-season preparations.
“The main reason to return to the Class One Championship was based on the major changes in the association and the fact that the series now has a new promoter,” enthused Sheikh Hassan. “New officials from the UIM will administer all the races.
“We will need a base in Europe, but this will not be permanent. The team will be headquartered in Qatar.”
Sheikh Hassan is also keen to see the Class One series continue a progression under new promoter Nicolo di San Germano. “I would like to see strict rules imposed and the immediate implementation of the rules in cases of infringements occurring during races. We do not want to wait weeks before decisions are made in future.”
The Michael Peters-designed Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95 will continue to be powered by Lamborghini V12 engines in 2011, although Sheikh Hassan is aware that there will be technical revisions and improvements imposed this year.
“Obviously we would like to win the championship and will try our best to do that. I understand torque sensors will be introduced this season and they will limit engine rpm. No electronically-controlled devices will be permitted either and there should be a clear set of guidelines on which the technical scrutineer can do his job.”
Sheikh Hassan won two Class One races (Oslo 2004 and Trondheim 2005) and achieved six Pole Position successes (2003 Dubai, 2006 Dubai and Dubai and 2008 Budva, Porto Marina and Dubai) during his first six and a half year stint in the championship.
Throttleman Steve Curtis is the most successful racer in the history of Class One and won an unprecedented 40 races and amassed 48 Pole Positions between 1992 and 2009.
While Ali Al-Neama will be racing in the UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship for the first time after a year racing with Sheikh Hassan in the USA and Australia, Nicolini will be bidding to add to his tally of three race wins – two with Sheikh Hassan and the 2008 Dubai Grand Prix with Qatar’s Abdullah Al-Sulaiti - and four Pole Position victories.
The new calendar for the UIM Class One racing season will be announced at the end of this month, but the Qatar Team is likely to start its racing programme at the proposed first race in Dubai in April.
“It is a small concern that there are difficulties in getting new race venues, but we have carried out a lot of preparation for the new season and hope that we will be able to run in at least six races, if not eight,” added Sheikh Hassan. “We will take part in all the races, although I hope that we will not have a race in Ramadan, as it will fall in August this year.”
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