F2000 Grand Prix of France test for Qatar Team
FORMULA 2000 UIM CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 2 - GP of France
For immediate release
Thursday, June 17th, 2004
QATAR TEAM AIMS TO EXTEND F2000
CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD IN GP OF FRANCE
Qatar Team's Jay Price looks to challenge World Champion; Qatar's Al-Ali confident
SAINT NICOLAS DE REDON (France): The Qatar Team will be bidding to extend its overall lead in the 2004 Formula 2000 UIM Championship, when American team leader Jay Price and Qatar's Mohamad Al-Ali tackle the Grand Prix of France at Saint Nicolas de Redon on Sunday.
The pair began their challenge for honours in the increasingly-popular series by emerging ahead of a bumper international field from 13 countries on the opening race weekend in Zadar, Croatia, last month.
Points are awarded for three disciplines on race weekend and the Qatar Team earned 42 points for Price's second place in the Match Race, runner-up position in the Croatian Grand Prix and third overall in the Speed Record Test. The Match Race is open to the 16 fastest boats and they line up in pairs to tackle two timed laps before the winners go forward to the next round. Points are awarded after the quarter-finals, semi-final and the 'Grand Finale'.
The Speed Record test is another crucial discipline and the Qatar Team will be looking to improve on third place in Croatia. The fastest time recorded in the three-year history of the new Boat GP or Formula 2000 series was 181.1 km/h set by the Italian Matteo Turati in Croatia last year.
The French event will mark Price's eighth outing in F2000 GP racing. The American is a former multiple T1 champion. Qatar team mate Al-Ali, meanwhile, is improving with each event he contests and was particularly impressive in Free Practice for the Croatian GP before his rear cowling failed during the actual race. He set a faster lap time than anyone during the Free Practice. The Qatar boats are built to the UIM SST-120, 2.0-litre specification, with the Qatar Team opting for the DAC model.
~Formula 2000 boat racing is increasing in popularity all the time,~ said Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation and the Team Manager for this weekend's event, which is organised by Euro Masters Developpement in France. ~Jay and Mohamad have made a fantastic start to their season and it is a matter of keeping the momentum going in France this weekend.
~Class One racing attracts much of the media attention in power boat racing, but the Formula 2000 Championship only has a three-year history in its present format and goes from strength to strength. Our team has a fine balance of experience and talent and I am sure that we will do well.~
The Qatar Team faces a strong challenge from the sport's finest racers, who include Frenchman Bruno Carsin of the ART Boat Team, who returns after a serious neck injury. Croatian GP winner and 2003 World Champion Jonas Andersson is likely to feature strongly. His Swedish Andersson-Rohm Racing Team lies a mere three points behind Qatar in the overall standings in a Moolgaard.
The Italian Ivan Bigada was third in the opening GP race in a DAC running under the Pabri Tech Racing Team. Also registered this season are the UAE pairing of Arief Al-Zafien and Faisal Al-Mansouri.
The St. Nicolas de Redon race will run over a five-pin, 1900 m course under the auspices of the UIM and is the second event of the season. Free practice and time trials will take place on Saturday, with the Boat GP of France beginning at 16.45 (French time) on Sunday.
Subsequent races will follow in Italy and Latvia later this summer. The series was formed in 2002 and attracted 35 drivers to five races in Hungary, France, Italy, Great Britain and Qatar last season. An average of 22-24 drivers take part in each race.
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Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, (Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 and E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org