KWWC Driveshaft problems hamper Sheikh Hassan's progress at round one in Key West


33rd Annual Key West Super Boat World Championships – November 6-10, 2013

For immediate release
Thursday, November 7th, 2013


· Al-Attiyah teams up with Nicolini to finish second in Unlimited
· Team Stihl wins Superboat class as Spirit of Qatar 20 retires

KEY WEST (Florida): Driveshaft problems meant that His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis made a slightly disappointing start to their World Championship challenge in round one of the 33rd Annual Key West Super Boat World Championships in Florida on Wednesday afternoon.

Entered in the turbine class with their powerful Al-Adaa’am 96, the pair controlled their pace to stay well clear of the five piston-powered Superboat Unlimited boats through the opening couple of laps and were in a class of their own before driveshaft issues forced them into retirement. They did, however, collect 250 points for their efforts to head the Turbine class and remain well in contention for success heading into the second Key West race on Friday afternoon.

Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini teamed up with Qatar’s rally star Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah for the first time in Spirit of Qatar 613 in Superboat Unlimited and they finished the race in a superb second position behind Sheikh Hassan’s arch rivals, Marc Granet and Scott Begovich, in Miss Geico. It was a superb marine racing debut for the multiple FIA Middle East rally champion and former Dakar Rally winner.

The experienced Qatari Ali Al-Neama and American Billy Moore represented the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) in the Superboat class in Spirit of Qatar 20, but an engine cut out and forced them out of their 6.75-lap race early on. Team Stihl’s Robert Noble and Grant Bruggemann romped to an emphatic victory from WHM Motorsports, Warpaint, Team Broadco and Burger Fi.

“We had a drive shaft problem,” reflected Sheikh Hassan. “This was the first time for us racing this boat in rough conditions and we had made some minor modifications. I am actually glad that this happened in round one, so that we can fix the problem for the next race.”

All three Spirit of Qatar teams took to the water for a test session on Tuesday in choppy weather conditions. There were no problems to report, although it was an expensive session for Spirit of Qatar 20’s rivals in Team CRC. They crashed their boat heavily and it sustained substantial damage before the first of the three Superboat races.

The three Qatar boats lined up in their respective Turbine, Superboat Unlimited and Superboat classes in windy conditions for the first of their three races on Wednesday afternoon. The course was shortened by SBI from 6.2 miles to 4.4 miles because of the windy conditions.

Stock, Vee, P3 and P4 boats were first out and Al-Neama and Moore lined-up in the second of the races alongside other Superboat and Superboat Extreme entrants. Sheikh Hassan and Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah lined up in race three with other Turbine and Unlimited crews to race for 29.7 miles and 6.75 laps of the revised course.

Spirit of Qatar 20 faced competition from Team Stihl - the new SBI national champions - WHM Motorsports, JD Byrider, Team Broadco, Burger F1 Fastboats and Warpaint in the Superboat class, once Team CRC had been sidelined.

Al-Neama and Moore made a superb start, but they were soon passed by Team Stihl, as WHM slotted into third position. Stihl pressed on relentlessly and began to pull away from WHM, JD Byrider and fourth-placed Spirit of Qatar. But Al-Neama and Moore began to slow down soon afterwards with engine issues and the crew were sidelined.

Team Stihl continued to lead from WHM, JD Byrider, Warpaint and Team Broadco, but Warpaint managed to pass a struggling JD Byrider on the back straight and Team Broadco also found a way through before JD Byrider retired. Team Stihl held on to score a comfortable win.

Both Sheikh Hassan and Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah were entered in two separate classes in the third of the day’s races. Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis lined up alone in the absence of the Miss Mary Mac crew of Richard Chaney and John Arruda in the Turbine class, while Al-Attiyah and Nicolini faced four rivals in Superboat Unlimited – Alex & Ani 100, CMS 3, Marine Concepts 88 and Miss Geico 113.

Al-Adaa’am 96 stormed into the lead and Miss Geico pulled clear of CMS, Marine Concepts and Spirit of Qatar 613 through the first turns, with Alex & Ani in fifth. Miss Geico set out to catch Al-Adaa’am 96, while Spirit of Qatar 613 passed Marine Concepts and began to pressurise CMS’s Bob Bull and Randy Scism for second position in the Superboat Unlimited class.

Driveshaft problems sidelined Al Adaa’am 96 on the next lap and this left the door open for Miss Geico to reach the chequered flag to secure victory in the Superboat Unlimited class from Spirit of Qatar 613, CMS, Marine Concepts and Alex & Ani.

The second and third Key West races take place on Friday and Sunday.


For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail:
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).



Date issued: 07/11/2013

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