C1 Sheikh Hassan seals stunning victory in Norwegian Grand Prix

BMW Norwegian Grand Prix, July 15-17, 2011

For immediate release
Saturday, April 16th, 2011


· Sheikh Hassan claims third career Class 1 victory in Norway
· Third place for Ali Al-Neama and Nicolini in Spirit of Qatar 95
· Spirit of Qatar 95 and 96 qualify in second and third

ARENDAL (Norway): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Ali Al-Neama finished first and third in Saturday’s BMW Norwegian Grand Prix, race three of the 2011 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, at Arendal in Norway.

Partnered by England’s Steve Curtis and Italy’s Matteo Nicolini in Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95, the Qatar Team pair qualified for the all-important race in second and third positions. Sheikh Hassan showed a clean pair of heels to the rest of the field from the first lap to leap into contention for his first ever Class 1 World Championship title.

The success was the president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation’s (QMSF) third in Norway since he burst on to the Class 1 racing scene in 2003. He recorded a first victory in Oslo in 2004 and a second in Trondheim the following year. It was fitting that his third triumph should fall on his 50th career Class 1 start.

“It’s a great feeling to be back in winning ways in Class 1 and to take the win with Steve,” said a delighted Sheikh Hassan. “Our team has worked hard and this is a reward for all their efforts. Now we can build on this for the rest of the season.”

Al-Neama and Nicolini were delighted to reach the podium and record third place in Spirit of Qatar 95.

Norwegian Grand Prix – race 1

Spirit of Qatar 95 and 96 lined up behind Victory 3 at the start of Saturday afternoon’s race, but the Emirati duo were forced to run a penalty lap following an infringement at the last race meeting in Abu Dhabi. It placed the advantage with the Qatar Team and a good start was vital for both Sheikh Hassan and Ali Al-Neama.

Victory 3 held the initiative through the all-important first turns, but Spirit of Qatar 96 emerged from the first lap with the lead after clocking a tour of 3m 36.09s. Spirit of Qatar 95 held second, 7.36 seconds behind, and Victory 3 was running in third with a penalty lap still to run.

The Emiratis managed to pass Spirit of Qatar 95 on lap two to regain second place and reduced Sheikh Hassan’s lead to 5.71s. But Sheikh Hassan extended his advantage to 23.00s after lap three when Victory 3 took their penalty. Spirit of Qatar 95 took the long lap and maintained third.

Spirit of Qatar 96’s lead was reduced to 18.84s through lap four and to 16.19s after lap five, with neither of the leading boats taking their long lap. Both opted to use lap six for the longer course and Spirit of Qatar maintained a 14.30s advantage.

The lead was 11.60s heading into the final lap and there was no way back for Victory 3 over the closing few metres and Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis confirmed their first Class 1 victory together in emphatic style.

Edox Pole Position

Victory 3 set the early pole position target lap of 3m 53.20s and Spirit of Qatar 95 slotted into second spot with a tour of 3m 54.85s. Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis were edged down into fourth by Kim.com 74, with the Italian crew’s fourth lap of 3m 55.51s.

Spirit of Qatar 96 regained third spot with a second lap of 3m 54.92s, 0.07s behind their teammates in 95. The third lap resulted in a 3m 56.00s tour, but it was not enough to push Sheikh Hassan and Curtis into pole position for the afternoon’s race and the contest was settled in Victory 3’s favour with a late run of 3m 51.95s. Team Abu Dhabi climbed to fourth after the chequered flag when kim.com was disqualified for contravening the power output limit.

Official practice

Sheikh Hassan and Curtis set the pace in first official one and a half hour practice on Friday afternoon. They posted the quickest lap of 3 min 49.28 sec, averaging 187.84 km/h around the 6.46Nm course. Al-Neama and Nicolini were third.

Championship-leading Victory 3 were forced to sit out the session after the eligibility of their boat was protested by the Qatar Team under the infringement of rule 44.03 relating to hull dimensions, minimum weight and equipment. An appeal jury was assembled and technical commissioners were instructed to re-measure Victory 3, which was found to be in violation of the rule and short of the minimum length of 12.19 metres.

The Victory 3 team were able to take the start of the second official practice session on Saturday and set the fastest lap of 3m 58.65s, with Spirit of Qatar 96 running for four laps to record the second fastest time of 4m 02.26s.

A one-hour practice session is permitted on Sunday morning from 11.00hrs before the second of the Norwegian Grand Prix races gets underway at 14.30hrs (15.30hrs Doha time).

BMW Norwegian Grand Prix – race 1 results
1. Hassan Al-Thani (QA)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Qatar 96 31m 13.89s
2. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 3 @ 7.90s
3. Ali Al-Neama (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Spirit of Qatar 95 @ 21.46s
4. Guido Cappellini (I)/Giampaolo Montavoci (I) kim.com 74 @ 34.00s
5. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 @ 44.12s
6. Kolbjorn Selmer (N)/Jorn Tandberg (N) Welmax 90 @ 2m 16.70s
7. Luca Formilli Fendi (I)/Giovanni Carpitella (I) Fendi Racing 10 @ 2m 34.76s
8. Frode Sundsdal (N)/Jorge Jacobsen (N) ferkfisken.no 69 @ 2m 37.50s
9. Ugur Isik (TR)/Christian Zaborowski (N) Relekta 91 2 laps behind

1. 3 Victory Team - 35pts
2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 29pts
3. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 27pts
4. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 16pts
5. 10 Fendi Racing 14pts
6. 90 Welmax - 10pts
7. 91 Relekta - 7pts
8. 18 MITI - 5pts
9. 69 firskfisken.no - 4pts
10. 74 kim.com - 2pts


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: 16/07/2011

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