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C1 Qatar 96 finished fourth in second Qatar Grand Prix

UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, November 22nd - Round 6 of 8

For immediate release
Monday, November 22nd, 2004

QATAR 96 SUFFERS SET-BACK IN
MIDDLE EAST TITLE CHALLENGE

Second successive win for Spirit of Norway;
Victory 7 and Spirit hold joint championship lead

DOHA (Qatar): Qatar's Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini rounded off a hectic week's action in Doha Bay by finishing fourth overall in the Qatar Grand Prix, the sixth round of the UIM Class 1 World and the second round of the UIM Class 1 Middle East Power Boat Championships, in Doha, today (Monday).

After finishing as runners-up to the Spirit of Norway team in Saturday's main event - the Qatar Duty Free Grand Prix - the Qatar 96 pairing began today's race in second position behind the start boat and vowed an all-out attack to try and take a second ever UIM Class one victory together after the maiden triumph in Norway in August.

But they were forced out on the 17th lap with engine problems and were
eventually awarded points for fourth position in the race, which drops them back to fourth in the overall points' standings. Spirit of Norway completed a maximum points' haul for the weekend with a second successive start-to-finish win to take a joint lead in the series with Victory 7 - the European Champions - who were second overall today.

~The podium and even an outright win was the goal today,~ said Sheikh
Hassan. ~Matteo and I decided that we would need to push flat out from the start and try and gain an advantage into the first buoy. The conditions for the race were very similar to Saturday, with calm seas and a gentle breeze, so we maintained the same settings as we did in the first race. We made a couple of slight configuration amendments to the engine set-up, but nothing major because we were relatively happy with our performance on Saturday.

~We were running in second place all through and managing to stay well
ahead of the Victory boats when we had a problem with one of the engines near the end. It is disappointing, because 15 points would really have strengthened our position in the championship.~

The Negotiator crew of Peter McGrath and Chris Parsonage survived a huge moment - where the boat lurched at speed into the air - to take fifth place behind third-placed Victory 77 and the Qatar 96 boat. The Italian Highlander duo of Edoardo Polli and Monaco-based Lamberto Leoni were ineligible to score points in their Mercury V8-engined hull, which they have been assessing in Qatar for future use in the UIM Class One
Championship. The pair finished fifth in Saturday's first race.

The second of the week's two Qatar UIM Class One meetings got underway with technical scrutineering and a free practice session on Sunday. The Grand Prix was again held in Doha Bay, on a course which included a start lap of 4.74 Nm, one 6 Nm long lap and 17 laps of 4.90 Nm.

The Class One circuit now switches attention to the Gulf waters off the
coast of Mina Seyahi, west of Dubai, for the final two races of the season at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) on Friday, December 3rd and Friday, December 10th.

~We have a great chance of winning the UIM Class One Middle East
Championship this year,~ added Hassan. ~We made a slow start to the season with a pair of non-finishes in Spain and Portugal and that spoiled our chances of winning the European Championship. But now I am confident that we can do well in Dubai. The last four races have shown that Matteo, myself and the Qatar Team are a serious force in Class One racing in only our second year and our first full season together in a competitive boat.~

UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP

Qatar Grand Prix - result (unofficial - top 5):
1st. Bjorn Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Norway
2nd. Ali Nasser (UAE)/Ali Al Qama (UAE) Victory 7
3rd. Mohammed Al Marri (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 77
4th. Hassan Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96
5th. Peter McGrath (NZ)/Chris Parsonage (GB) Negotiator, etc

Championship Positions after round 6 of 8 (unofficial):
1. Victory 7 80 pts
1. Spirit of Norway 80 pts
3. Victory 77 58 pts
4. Qatar 96 56 pts
5. GFN Gibellato 34 pts
6. Negotiator 33 pts, etc

Ends

For further media information, contact:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: Dubai + 971 50 3616881 and
E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com www.ndp-publicity.com (press
releases)

www.class-1.com
www.qmsf.org


Date issued: 22/11/2004

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