Disappointment for Qatar 96 Team in Spanish GP

Spanish Grand Prix, June 6th - Round 2 of 8

For immediate release
Sunday, June 6th, 2004


Second successive win for Spirit of Norway; Qatar 96 looks ahead to Plymouth GP

ALICANTE (Spain): Qatar's Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini suffered their second successive disappointment in the UIM Class One World Power Boat Championship by failing to finish the Spanish Grand Prix, off the coast of Alicante, today (Sunday).

Despite running their spare boat after the spectacular crash which cost them second position in Portugal recently, the Qatar 96 Team pairing were running in second position after six laps when they suffered a problem with an engine water inlet and were forced to retire from the race. They had fought back from the handicap of running in fifth place at the start of the race, after failing to secure a second Pole Position time on Saturday.

~It was not our weekend at all,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~We were unable to carry out any testing on Saturday, because we had a problem with the boat and the mechanics worked into the night to get the boat ready for the race. I did not expect to be running inside the top three at all, never mind in second position, but then we started to lose power after six laps and there was nothing to do but to withdraw from the race.

~We will set this boat up now ready for the next race in Plymouth in July and are already working to get the race boat we crashed in Portugal fully-prepared for the Middle East Championship in December.

~It would be easy to be disappointed after the weekend's result, but we proved that we have the performance and I was pleased that we were on the pace of the leader when we had our problem.~

The race was won by Spirit of Norway, with Victory 7 and Highlander completing the podium places. Hydrolift was fourth.

Qatar 96 was fifth fastest after the initial Pole run and looked to be going for a final run, but failed to complete the warm-up lap on Saturday evening in the allotted 60 minutes because of technical problems. For the second time in two weeks Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis produced a last gasp final lap to go fastest in qualifying and started the race in Pole Position.

Second fastest was Jotun with Bernhard Bellmann and Jann Hillestad squeezed out by less than half a second, but ahead of both Victory crews who finished tied in third place. Official practice, technical scrutineering and a parade of entrants took place on Friday.

The race in Alicante Bay ran in front of the Playa del Postiguet on the Costa Blanca and was held over 20 laps - a start lap of 5.25 Nm, 18 x 5 Nm laps and a mandatory 6.70 Nm long lap for each team. This is a new UIM ruling, which was introduced in Lisbon two weeks ago, and boosted the total race distance to 101.95 Nm.

Positions at end of Lisbon Grand Prix (unofficial):
1st 10 SPIRIT OF NORWAY - Bjorn Gjelsten (D) Norway/Steve Curtis (T) GB
2nd 7 VICTORY - Ali Al-Qama (T) UAE/Ahmed Al-Tayer (D) UAE
3rd 27 HIGHLANDER - Edoardo Polli (T) Italy/Jose Corti (D) Monaco
4th 99 HYDROLIFT - Bjorge Jacobsen (T) Norway/Bard Eker (D) Norway


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Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 and E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)


Date issued: 06/06/2004

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