C1 Mixed fortunes for Spirit of Qatar Team in Friday's Dubai Grand Prix
2011 UIM CLASS ONE WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Skydive Dubai & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, December 8-10, 2011
For immediate release
Friday, December 9th, 2011
MIXED FORTUNES FOR SPIRIT OF QATAR TEAM IN DUBAI GRAND PRIX
· Spirit of Qatar 95’s Al-Neama and Nicolini win Edox Pole title
· Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis granted European Championship
· Victory 3’s Nadir bin Hendi disqualified from Italian Grand Prix
· Spirit of Qatar 96 fastest in Thursday’s first official practice
DUBAI (UAE): It was a day of mixed fortunes for the Spirit of Qatar Team in Friday’s race one at the Skydive Dubai & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, the fourth and final round of this year’s UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.
His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis had been crowned as the 2011 Class 1 European champion in the morning before suffering mechanical problems in the race at the helm of Spirit of Qatar 96, whilst lying third. They eventually struggled around the course to finish 10th, but will start Saturday’s race from the rear of the field.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Ali Al-Neama and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini finished the 12-lap race in second position after earlier confirming victory in the 2011 Edox Pole Position Championship with the third fastest qualifying time.
Victory 3’s Arif Al-Zafeen and Mohammed Al-Marri led from the start to keep their title hopes alive heading into what promises to be a thrilling final race of the season on Saturday. The outcome of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship will now be decided between both the Spirit of Qatar boats and Victory 3.
The weekend’s racing was turned upside down by the news that Victory 3’s Nadir bin Hendi had been disqualified from the results of the previous race in Italy. The outcome meant that Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis were crowned as belated UIM Class 1 European Champions and surged into a 12-point lead in the 2011 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship from their team-mates in Spirit of Qatar 95.
The news was issued via a communication from Kimon Papachristopoulos, chairman of the UIM anti-doping hearing panel, and related to an ‘Adverse Analytic Finding in the in-Competition Anti-Doping tests’ carried out at the Italian Grand Prix.
“We had known about the situation for some time,” said Sheikh Hassan. “But you always have to wait for things to come from official circles. It obviously changed the scenario in the championship. 96 and 95 moved into first and second and Victory dropped to third. There are no team orders within the Qatar Team. It will be a straight fight to the finish. I am also delighted that Spirit of Qatar 95 has clinched the Edox Pole Position Championship today and I hear that Steve and I are the European Champions again.
“I will start from the back of the field tomorrow and that will make it almost impossible for Steve and I to win the title. It’s up to Ali and Matteo to finish at least second and they can confirm the world title. We were not sure what the problem was today. The engine shut down and we couldn’t start it and then we had it running on 75% just to get to the finish.”
Following the Victory 3 team decision Mohammed Al-Marri replaced Nadir Bin Hendi alongside Arif Saif Al-Zafeen in the UAE boat on Pole Position for Friday’s shorter 55.26Nm race that was scheduled for 12 laps of the Dubai course. Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95 lined up in second and third places.
Victory 3 held an 8.17s advantage at the end of lap one, with Spirit of Qatar 95 in second and 96 edged down to fourth. The UAE crew extended their lead to 12.88s through lap two, as Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis managed to move back up to third position when Poliform opted for a long lap. The leading trio held station through lap three of 12 and Sheikh Hassan opted for a long lap on lap four, as Victory 3 extended its lead over 95 to 25.92s.
Victory 3 and 95 long-lapped on the next tour and the UAE crew managed to maintain an outright lead of 29.52s, with 96 in third and Poliform in fourth. Victory 3’s lead was 37.43s at the halfway point and Spirit of Qatar 95 completed lap seven 50.07s behind the leading boat. 96 slowed, slipped down to fifth behind Victory 7 and Team Abu Dhabi and eventually slowed right down.
Victory 3 continued to lead at two-thirds distance from 95, Victory 7 and Team Abu Dhabi and held on to take maximum points, with Spirit of Qatar 95 in second and Victory 7 finishing third. Spirit of Qatar 96 managed to limp around to take 10th.
Edox Pole Position
Victory 3 stole the march in the Edox Pole Position with a fastest opening lap of 2m 45.50s, but it was too little too late for the Emirati crew and third position for Al-Neama and Nicolini in Spirit of Qatar 95 was sufficient for the Qatari-Italian crew to seal the 2011 Edox Pole Position Championship title.
They finished the session with a fastest tour of 2m 50.68s, just over two seconds slower than Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis in Spirit of Qatar 96. The new European Champions ran for three laps and posted a best of 2m 48.29s. “We pushed quite hard in the session to get a good time and we are happy with the position, but I am delighted for Ali and Matteo to win the Pole Position title,” said Sheikh Hassan.
Spirit of Qatar 96 set the fastest lap of 3m 04.18s in Thursday afternoon’s first practice session in Dubai. The lap was one tenth of a second quicker than that set by Victory 3 during their seven laps on the water. Spirit of Qatar 95 ran for three laps of the offshore course and recorded the third fastest time of 3m 06.09s. Ten boats raced on the course.
Spirit of Qatar 96 was classified in second position in Friday morning’s second practice session, with Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis posting a time of 2m 53.21s. Victory 3 ran for three laps and topped the session with a tour of 2m 47.82s.
After a final practice session from 10.00hrs on Saturday morning, the second Skydive Dubai & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix starts at 14.00hrs and will take place over one start lap, 13 normal laps and two compulsory long laps to make a total of 73.86 Nm.
Skydive Dubai & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix – race 1 results
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 35m 06.43s
2. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 @ 1m 27.78s
3. Giorgio Manuzzi (SMR)/Pal-Virik Nilsen (NOR) Victory 7 @ 1m 56.77s
4. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 @ 2m 00.97s
5. Guido Cappellini (ITA)/Giampaolo Montavoci (ITA) Poliform 74 @ 2m 37.78s
8. Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR)/Kurt Olsen (NOR) Welmax 90 1 lap behind
6. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Fendi Racing 10 1 lap behind
5. Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Relekta 91 3 laps behind
9. Tomaso Polli (ITA)/Luca Nicolini (ITA) FA.RO.ACCIAI 23 3 laps behind
10. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 3 laps behind
UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship – latest standings (unofficial)
1. Spirit of Qatar 95 86 pts
1. Spirit of Qatar 96 84 pts
3. Victory 3 79 pts
4. Poliform 74 52 pts
5. Team Abu Dhabi 5 50 pts
6. Relekta 91 29 pts
7. Fendi Racing 10 24 pts
8. FA.RO ACCAIA 20 pts, etc
UIM Class 1 European Powerboat Championship – final positions
1. Spirit of Qatar 96 47 pts
2. Spirit of Qatar 95 44 pts
3. Poliform 74 29 pts
4. FA.RO ACCAIA 18 pts
5. Relekta 91 16 pts
6. Victory 3 15 pts
6. Team Abu Dhabi 15 pts, etc
Edox Pole Position Championship – final positions
1. Spirit of Qatar 95 59 pts
2. Victory 3 55 pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 44 pts
4. Spirit of Qatar 96 40 pts
5. Poliform 74 23 pts
6. Fendi Racing 10 22 pts, etc
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