C1 Sheikh Hassan looks to add Class 1 Middle East title to list of powerboating achievements
2012 UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Dubai Grand Prix, December 13-15, 2012
For immediate release
Monday, December 10th, 2012
SHEIKH HASSAN LOOKS TO ADD CLASS 1 MIDDLE EAST TITLE
TO LIST OF POWERBOATING ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE UAE
· Spirit of Qatar 96 crew tied with Victory 3 in Middle East series
· Ali Al-Neama and Matteo Nicolini all set in Spirit of Qatar 95
DUBAI (UAE): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and throttleman Steve Curtis will be hoping to add the UIM Class 1 Middle East Powerboat Championship title to their recent Key West World Championship success when they tackle four races in the UAE over the next two weekends.
The Spirit of Qatar crew are currently in Dubai, along with team-mates Ali Al-Neama and Matteo Nicolini, preparing for Friday’s Emirates/Duty Free Dubai Grand Prix and Saturday’s Sky Dive Dubai Grand Prix. The team will then move on to Abu Dhabi for the final two races in the championship on December 19-21.
Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis currently have 32 points from a first and third position at the two Qatar races in March and are tied with the Victory 3 crew of Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Mohammed Al-Marri, with Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori a mere two points behind. Race officials are expecting 10 boats to start this weekend’s races.
“I do believe that we can win the Middle East title,” said Sheikh Hassan, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and driver of Spirit of Qatar 96. “It all depends upon the weather on race day and we will deliver accordingly.
“We have already proved that when it comes to rough conditions we can deliver a win for sure. But, if we are asked to run on lakes, it’s all about boat performance and not the crew onboard and boat/throttle balance. Hopefully, nature will play to our favour so we can deliver the top finish. It was important for us to race in Key West. Not only was the win there a fantastic feeling, but it kept us up to race speed so we don’t lose the feel for the boat.”
While Sheikh Hassan admits that winning the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship is far more difficult at this point in time (Spirit of Qatar 96 trails Victory 3 by 42 points), the Spirit of Qatar teams will fight until the end of the season.
“We will race hard and take the points as they come,” added the QMSF president. “Victory 3 needs to stop or not to score points for us to come back, but we have seen that they have been very reliable and Team Abu Dhabi is also standing between us at the moment.”
Al-Neama and Nicolini lie fourth in both the World and Middle East Championship points’ standings and will be hoping to finish the season on a high in Spirit of Qatar 95. They are brimming with confidence after winning the second of the two races in Cernobbio in the autumn.
The weekend’s activities get underway with registrations and briefings on Wednesday and the on-course action begins at 11.30hrs (UAE time) on Thursday morning with 90 minutes of practice permitted on the course off the DIMC in Dubai. “It looks at first glance like last year’s course, but I am sure if we get a northerly wind, it will be changed accordingly,” added Sheikh Hassan.
The Edox Pole Position to determine the starting order for the first of the two races gets underway at 15.00hrs. Further practice is permitted on Friday morning and the Emirates/Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix fires into life at 14.00hrs. Race one will consist of a start lap and 11 race laps with a total of 54.78Nm.
The Spirit of Qatar crews will be allowed a further practice session on Saturday morning in advance of the longer Sky Dive Dubai Grand Prix at 14.00hrs. This will run over a start lap, 14 race laps and a distance of 68.37Nm.
2012 UIM Class One World Powerboat Championships – current standings
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 95 pts
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 74 pts
3. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 53 pts
4. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 45 pts
5. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Luca Fendi Racing 10 38 pts
6. Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Zabo-Isiklar 91 22 pts
7. Guido Cappellini (MON)/Giampaolo Montavoci (ITA) Spirit of Gabon/Poliform 9 pts
8. Gian Maria Gabbiani (ITA)/Luca Nicolini (ITA) FA.RO.ACCiAI 23 7 pts
9. Paul Gaiser (BRZ)/Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR) Welmax Offshore 90 5 pts
2012 UIM Class One Middle East Powerboat Championships – current standings
1. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 32 pts
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 32 pts
3. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 30 pts
4. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 9 pts
5. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Luca Fendi Racing 10 7 pts
2012 UIM Class One Pole Position Championship – after round three
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 55 pts
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 36 pts
3. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 35 pts
4. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 19 pts
5. Paul Gaiser (BRZ)/Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR) Welmax Offshore 90 16 pts
6. Welmax 9 12 pts
7. Luca Formilli Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) LFF10 9 pts
8. Guido Cappellini (MON)/Giampaolo Montavoci (ITA) Spirit of Gabon/Poliform 74 5 pts
9. Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Zabo-Isiklar 91 4 pts
10. Gian Maria Gabbiani (ITA)/Luca Nicolini (ITA) FA.RO.ACCiAI 23 3 pts
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