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Qatar 96 takes third position in Honda British Grand Prix

UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Honda British Grand Prix, Plymouth, July 18th - Round 3 of 7

For immediate release
Sunday, July 18th, 2004

QATAR'S SHEIKH HASSAN TAKES PODIUM
FINISH IN PLYMOUTH GRAND PRIX

Qatar 96 Team takes third in England; Pole Position and GP triumph for Dubai's Victory 7

PLYMOUTH (England): Qatar's Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini finished an excellent third overall in the Honda British Grand Prix, the third round of this year's UIM Class One World Power Boat Championship, off the coast of Plymouth on Sunday.

The result marked the Qatar 96 Team's first Grand Prix finish of the season after two set-backs in Lisbon and Alicante earlier this summer and gave the team its first points in this year's UIM Class One series. Victory 7 won the race for the second successive year and the Jotun number 90 boat was second across a tricky course off the Plymouth breakwater in the English Channel. Pre-event favourites Spirit of Norway retired.

~We started from the back of the field and made some great progress through the early part of the race,~ said a delighted Sheikh Hassan. ~We moved up to fourth, then third and then second position behind leaders Victory 7, but the weather conditions deteriorated as the race progressed and we had to back off a little. Jotun is a heavier boat than ours and was better suited to the rougher conditions and they managed to take second position on the final laps.

~But I am very pleased with the result. It was just what we needed after our start to the year and we can look ahead to the rest of the season aiming to build upon this performance.~

Hassan is the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation and held fifth position in the Pole Position Championship, prior to Saturday's Pole competition. But the 35-year-old driver of the Qatar Team's Michael Peters-designed hull - which is powered by a pair of Victory-built V12 Lamborghini engines - scored no points in the Pole competition.

~We actually qualified in the top three during the Pole Position Competition, but made an error on the run in to the finish and were disqualified from the final positions,~ added Hassan. ~It was disappointing, but I was pleased with our performance and confident that we could carry this through to the race on Sunday.~

The Anglo-Norwegian pairing of Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis lost their 100% record this season by qualifying second for the Plymouth Grand Prix behind Dubai's Victory 7 boat. The Victory crew of Ali Nasser and Ali Al Qama put in a stunning time of 3m 12.32s in the final minutes over the 5.25Nm lap to deprive Spirit of a third successive Pole triumph.

The Jotun crew of Bernhard Bellmann and Jann Hillestad were third, although there was a slight delay to proceedings when several inquisitive dolphins were spotted on the course. Spirit of Norway now leads the Pole competition by seven points from Victory 7 after three rounds, with the Qatar Team staying in fifth position, five points ahead of Negotiator, despite failing to score on Saturday.

Race weekend got underway with the Pole Position Competition after two smaller Honda support races. The Honda British Grand Prix consisted of 19 laps over a distance of 102.50 Nm, including a start lap of 5.41Nm, 17 x 5.33 Nm laps and a compulsory short lap, which replaced the now traditional long lap due to space restrictions on the Plymouth course.

UIM Class 1 Commissioner Saeed Hareb is looking to further modify the regulations for future races. ~I would like to see the mandatory extra lap increased to two eventually,~ said Hareb. ~Tactics need to come from the team manages or team time keepers by calculating the distances and then relaying the information to the drivers. You can see the tactics in play in F1 car racing and this is what we will see in time with the Class 1 long laps - it is all down to tactics and not necessarily speed.~

Pole Position Championship after race 3:
1. Spirit of Norway 55 pts
2. Victory 7 47 pts
3. Jotun 32 pts
4. Victory 77 30 pts
5. Qatar 96 19 pts
6. Negotiator 14 pts
7. Roscioli Hotels 13 pts
8. GFN Gibellato 9 pts
9. Hydrolift 5 pts
10. Highlander 4 pts

Ends

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www.class-1.com
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Date issued: 18/07/2004

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