C1 Sheikh Hassan begins preparations for dramatic return to Class 1 racing
2011 UIM CLASS ONE WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) – latest news
For immediate release
Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
QATAR’S SHEIKH HASSAN BEGINS PREPARATIONS FOR
DRAMATIC RETURN TO CLASS 1 RACING IN ABU DHABI
· Qatar Team rebuilds Spirit of Qatar boats in Abu Dhabi
· Sheikh Hassan and Ali Al-Neama looking forward to new season
DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Ali Al-Neama are counting the days to the start of the 2011 UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship, which gets underway in Abu Dhabi on April 13-15.
The President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) has been preparing both physically and mentally for his dramatic return to Class 1 racing alongside British throttleman Steve Curtis. Sheikh Hassan will race in Spirit of Qatar 96, alongside Qatar’s Class 1 debutant Al-Neama and Italian Matteo Nicolini in Spirit of Qatar 95.
“Ali and I have been training regularly in the gym to give ourselves the best possible preparation for the new season,” enthused Sheikh Hassan. “We have been trying to focus our minds on the races and a daily workout is very important to maintain that focus and to strengthen our core muscles.”
Both Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95 arrived in the Middle East from the USA two weeks ago and Qatar Team mechanics and technicians have been working around the clock to ensure that everything is ready for the opening race at the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) in nine days’ time.
“We will just have enough time to get the boats ready for testing and the guys are working all hours to make sure we are ready. The boats are in Abu Dhabi under the team tent.
“They will both need to be re-jigged completely, as both had gone to the paint shop and undergone full hull maintenance after our last season in the USA. Now it’s a case of putting them back together. Then, hopefully, we can carry out a test or two to make sure the boats are working fine and the new torque sensor is giving the correct reading.”
Sheikh Hassan admits that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be crucial to the Qatar Team. “The first race of the season is very important to every team as well as us. For that reason, as we always do, we will aim for the top spot on the podium.”
An impressive 11 boats have so far registered for the new season of Class 1 racing under the new promotion of H20 Racing, but Sheikh Hassan does have concerns that the Abu Dhabi course may not be suitable for such a large field of Class 1 boats.
“It’s great to have 11 boats ready for the start of the new season. But, last year, six boats started the race in Abu Dhabi and three crashed at the turn. Basically 50% of the fleet had retired and this is not good. Now we will have 11 boats on the same course. This could be a concern. I’m not sure how things will look if this is the case.”
Lamborghini V12 engines will power both Spirit of Qatar boats in 2011. Sheikh Hassan will be bidding for his third Grand Prix victory and his first since Trondheim in 2005, although he has been away from Class 1 racing since the team’s withdrawal in the summer of 2009.
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