C1 Spirit of Qatar Team misses out on world title in Dubai Grand Prix

Skydive Dubai & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, December 8-10, 2011

For immediate release
Saturday, December 10th, 2011


· Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis struggle with boat to take fourth
· Pre-race problems ruin Spirit of Qatar 95’s title challenge 
· Victory 3’s Al-Zafeen and Al-Marri clinch World Championship title

DUBAI (UAE): The Spirit of Qatar Team missed out on the 2011 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship title in Saturday’s Skydive Dubai & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, the final race of the 2011 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.

His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis climbed from the back of the field to third position before persistent steering problems hampered their progress and they slipped to an eventual fourth position and finished as runners-up in the World Championship.

Qatar’s Ali Al-Neama and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini suffered a nightmare engine problem minutes before the start of the race and were forced to miss the official start. They did manage to join the action after two laps, but their title challenge was in tatters and the Qatari-Italian crew eventually finished in eighth position and slipped to third in the final World Championship standings.

The UAE’s Arif Al-Zafeen and Mohammed Al-Marri led from the start to claim the World Championship title, with Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori taking second position and Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski claiming third place in Relekta.

“It was the worst ever Grand Prix for the Qatar Team,” moaned Sheikh Hassan. “We had the steering lock on us four times and we had to stop to unlock it each time and it cost us so much time. It was the same problem as yesterday. 

“Ali and Matteo couldn’t start an engine before the start and they had their own nightmare. Still, we were second and third in the championship and there is always next year.”

Race 2

Al-Neama and Nicolini had a pre-race nightmare with an engine problem and were unable to line-up at the start. Victory 3 made a superb charge for the first buoys and led by 4.09s from Team Abu Dhabi at the end of lap one of the 16-lap race. Spirit of Qatar 96 started from the rear of the field and had moved up to sixth by the end of lap one. 

Sheikh Hassan opted for a long lap on lap two, as Victory 3 extended its overall lead to 8.82s over Team Abu Dhabi and Al-Neama and Nicolini joined the race after two laps. Victory 3s lead was 14.43s after three laps and Spirit of Qatar 96 maintained sixth. 

But Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis were on a charge and surged through the field into third position after five laps, albeit 1m 09.56s behind Victory 3 and over 40 seconds behind second-placed Team Abu Dhabi. Spirit of Qatar 95 climbed to ninth after Poliform retired. Spirit of Qatar 96 stopped momentarily on lap seven with the steering issue, but managed to get going again and maintained third position.

By the halfway point, Victory 3 led by 33.86s from Team Abu Dhabi, with Spirit of Qatar 96 in third, Victory 7 in fourth and Spirit of Qatar 95 lying in ninth position before climbing to eighth at the expense of Tomaso Polli and Luca Nicolini in FA.RO.ACCIAI. 

Spirit of Qatar 96 was continuing its charge until lap 11 when the boat stopped again, but they still managed to get back to full speed again and maintained third position, with Relekta passing Victory 7 to take fourth place. 

The persistent steering problems continued to bug Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis and they again lost time to the leaders and slipped to fourth behind Relekta on lap 12 and then to fifth behind Victory 7. 

Victory 7 held on over the remaining laps to seal victory from Team Abu Dhabi and Relekta and Spirit of Qatar 96 managed to sneak back into fourth position at the expense of Victory 7, with Spirit of Qatar 95 bringing up the rear of the field in eighth.

Official practice

Victory 3 set the fastest time in the final practice session with a lap of 2m 42.81s, with Spirit of Qatar 96 slotting into third place behind Team Abu Dhabi after a lap of 2m 45.93s. Spirit of Qatar 95 were fifth.

Skydive Dubai & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix – race 2 results
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 45m 31.71s
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 @ 56.47s
3. Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Relekta 91 @ 2m 29,21s
4. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 @ 2m 35.69s 
5. Giorgio Manuzzi (SMR)/Pal-Virik Nilsen (NOR) Victory 7 1 lap behind
6. Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR)/Kurt Olsen (NOR) Welmax 90 1 lap behind 
7. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Fendi Racing 10 1 lap behind
8. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 3 laps behind
Tomaso Polli (ITA)/Luca Nicolini (ITA) FA.RO.ACCIAI 23 DNF
Guido Cappellini (ITA)/Giampaolo Montavoci (ITA) Poliform 74 DNF


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: 10/12/2011

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