AQUA Zapata claims second successive heat win in Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar

Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar, March 10-12 – round 1

For immediate release
Saturday, March 12th, 2011


· Qatar’s Al-Haidus and Al-Sharshani claim 10th and 15th in class
· Overall Ski Division F1 success for Frenchman Jeremy Poret
· France’s Bulteau romps to victory in second Ski Ladies F1 heat

DOHA (Qatar): The French trio of Franky Zapata, Jeremy Poret and Julie Bulteau and Italian legend Valerio Calderoni claimed overall victories in their respective Runabout, Ski Division F1, Ski Women’s F1 and Freestyle categories after the second World Championship heats at the UIM Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar on Saturday afternoon.

Zapata confirmed his top seeding with a second successive victory in the coveted Runabout class after another scrap with Class 1 racing’s Nadir Bin Hendi. The Emirati eventually secured another runner-up spot and defending World Champion Cyrille Lemoine carved his way through the field on the closing laps to fill the final podium place.

In breezy conditions in Doha Bay, French star Julie Bulteau was again the class of the ladies’ field to confirm her second Ski Division Women’s heat victory of the weekend on a Rotax-engined Zapata.

Jeremy Poret won the Ski Division F1 category to add to the second position he scored on Friday and confirmed the early championship lead after the opening round in Qatar.

In the physically demanding Freestyle category, Italian legend Valerio Calderoni, from Rome, secured maximum points for the second day to leave Doha with a maximum 50-point allocation.

Qatar’s Waled Al-Sharshani had made a mockery of his lack of international experience to claim eighth in Friday’s Runabout heat, but he was overshadowed by team-mate Mohammed Al-Haidus in heat two. Al-Haidus eventually finished in 10th and Al-Sharshani reached the chequered flag in 15th, three places in front of Ali Al-Meraizeq.

Hassan Al-Mannai initially finished 18th in the Ski Division F1 category before being disqualified on a technical issue.

The race weekend was organised by the QMSF under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, in collaboration with H20 Racing and under the auspices of the UIM.

“It was a pleasure for us to run the first round of the UIM Aquabike World Championship. The event offered a fantastic learning opportunity for our local riders and a chance for them to gain experience against the very best in the world,” said Khalid Bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the QMSF.

Runabout F1

The Runabout F1 riders lined up for the second of the weekend’s heats in the finishing order from the opening heat on Friday. Zapata led the way from Bin Hendi and Francois Medori. Qatar’s Al-Sharshani, Al-Haidus and Al-Meraizeq had finished heat one in eighth, 18th and 19th positions.

Bin Hendi snatched the lead after the opening turns and chose the inside line through lap one to maintain his advantage over Zapata. Medori and Mattia Fracasso settled into third and fourth. Al-Haidus surged from 18th to snatch eighth with Al-Sharshani and Al-Meraizeq in 12th and 21st overall.

Bin Hendi survived a collision with a buoy to lead into lap five, but Zapata stole through on the fifth tour and demoted the Emirati to second position. Medori and Fracasso held off Cyrille Lemoine to hold third and fourth and Al-Haidus led the local contingent in ninth. His team-mates were 12th and 21st.

Bin Hendi began to close on Zapata into the 12th lap, as Lemoine made his charge and passed both Medori and Fracasso to snatch third overall. Al-Haidus maintained ninth, Al-Sharshani slipped to 14th and Al-Meraizeq climbed to 19th.

But the Frenchman emphasised his superiority and his number one seeding by extending his lead over the closing minutes to record an emphatic second successive heat victory by the margin of just over eight seconds.

Bin Hendi confirmed his second runner-up spot of the weekend and Lemoine, Medori and Fracasso rounded off the top five. The Qatar trio of Al-Haidus, Al-Sharshani and Al-Meraizeq finished in 10th, 15th and 18th.

Ski Division F1

Jean-Baptiste Botti led Jeremy Poret and Christophe Courtois into the second of the weekend’s Ski Division F1 heats and the trio held station through lap one. Qatar’s Hassan Al-Mannai was running in 15th place.

Botti edged clear and a superb tussle ensured between Poret and Courtois with Courtois sneaking through. The trio began to pull away from Spaniard Nachette Armillas as Al-Mannai retained 15th. Poret snatched second with a brave overtaking manoeuvre on lap three and managed to pass Botti and take the lead on lap four in windy conditions.

By lap seven, Poret had pulled well clear of Courtois, who came under pressure from Armillas once Botti had slipped out of contention. Al-Mannai slipped to 16th in the closing laps as Armillas managed to sneak alongside Courtois and confirm second position. Al-Mannai finished 18th but was later omitted from the results for a clothing infringement.

Ski Ladies F1

Julie Bulteau headed Stefania Balzer and Slovenia’s Pija Sumer into the second 15-minute heat and was followed by the remaining five riders. Predictably, Bulteau was the class of the field and began to pull well clear as the race progressed.

A superb duel developed between Sumer and Balzer, with the Slovenian holding a tiny lead through three laps. Italy’s Marta Sorrentino held a distant fourth. Balzer managed to find her way through into second on the next couple of laps, but Bulteau was in cruise control to record her second heat win of the weekend and seal a maximum 50-point haul.


Top riders lined up in the Freestyle category to be awarded points by a panel of judges for a variety of tricks, including barrel-rolls, back flips and spins.

Calderoni was the class of the quartet once again and amassed 481 points for his spectacular and exhausting performance. Frenchman Romain Stampers and Italy’s Roberto Mariani were awarded second and third positions, with the UAE’s Khaled Al-Qubaisi finishing fourth.

Runabout – Heat 2 results
1. Franky Zapata (F) Zapata 15 laps
2. Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Sea-Doo @ 8.867s
3. Cyrille Lemoine (F) Sea-Doo @ 30.818s
4. Francois Medori (F) RXT @ 35.201s
5. Mattia Fracasso (I) Sea-Doo @ 1m 30.544s , etc

Qatar finishers
10. Mohammed Al-Haidus (QA) Sea-Doo 2 laps behind
15. Waled Al-Sharshani (QA) Kawasaki 2 laps behind
18. Ali Al-Meraizeq (QA) Sea-Doo 4 laps behind

Positions after round 1 (Qatar)
1. Franky Zapata (F) Zapata 50 pts
2. Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Sea-Doo 40 pts
3. Francois Medori (F) RXT 29 pts
4. Cyrille Lemoine (F) Sea-Doo 29 pts
5. Mattia Fracasso (I) Sea-Doo 22 pts

Qatar drivers
9. Waled Al-Sharshani (QA) 9 pts
14. Mohammed Al-Haidus (QA) 6 pts

Ski Division F1 – Heat 2 results
1. Jeremy Poret (F) Zapata 11 laps
2. Nachette Armillas (E) Hydrospace @ 19.540s
3. Christopher Courtois (F) Zapata @ 26.220s
1. Jean-Baptiste Botti (F) Hydrospace @ 32.131s
5. Alberto Monti (I) Polaris @ 40.716s, etc

Qatar rider
Hassan Al-Mannai (QA) Hydrospace DSQ

Positions after round 1 (Qatar)
1. Jeremy Poret (F) Zapata 45 pts
2. Jean-Baptiste Botti (F) Hydrospace 38 pts
3. Christopher Courtois (F) Zapata 32 pts
4. Nachette Armillas (E) Hydrospace 30 pts
5. Alberto Monti (I) Polaris 22 pts, etc

Ski Ladies F1 – Heat 2 results
1. Julie Bulteau (F) Zapata 8 laps
2. Stefania Balzer (F) FZ 950 @ 10.315s
3. Pija Sumer (SLO) Hydrospace @ 22.588s
4. Marta Sorrentino (I) Hydrospace @ 1m 18.299s
5. Patty Gutierrez (E) Hydrospace 1 lap behind, etc

Positions after round 1 (Qatar)
1. Julie Bulteau (F) Zapata 50 pts
2. Stefania Balzer (F) FZ 950 40 pts
3. Pija Sumer (SLO) Hydrospace 32 pts
4. Marta Sorrentino (I) Hydrospace 26 pts
5. Patty Gutierrez (E) Hydrospace 22 pts, etc

Freestyle – Heat 2 results
1. Valerio Calderoni (I) Jet Revolution 481 pts
2. Romain Stampers (F) Race Spirit 467 pts
2. Roberto Mariani (I) Jet Revolution 336 pts
4. Khaled Al-Qubaisi (UAE) Yamaha 279 pts

Positions after round 1 (Qatar)
1. Valerio Calderoni (I) Jet Revolution 50 pts
2. Khaled Al-Qubaisi (UAE) Yamaha 33 pts
3. Roberto Mariani (I) Jet Revolution 32 pts
4. Romain Stampers (F) Race Spirit 20 pts


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: 12/03/2011

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