C1 Qatar 96 Team takes final podium place in Dubai GP

Dubai Grand Prix, Dubai, December 10th - Round 8 of 8

For immediate release
Friday, December 10th, 2004


Spirit of Norway takes clean sweep of Class One titles;
Qatar 96 Team takes fourth in UIM Class One series

DUBAI (UAE): Qatar's Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian team mate Matteo Nicolini finished their first full season of top flight competition in the UIM Class One World Power Boat Championship by taking third overall in today's Dubai Grand Prix and fourth overall in the 2004 championship.

The Qatar 96 Team pairing had begun the weekend's action off the Dubai coast a mere five points behind Victory 77 in the points' standings with the goal of clinching third overall in the series. The outright title was to be decided between the defending champions Spirit of Norway - winners of the last three races in Qatar and Dubai - and the European Champions Victory 7.

The overall title eventually fell to Spirit of Norway, when their closest rivals Victory 7 retired and failed to overcome the hurdle of a five-point disadvantage at the start of the day's proceedings. The Dubai-based Victory 77 crew of Mohammed Al-Marri and Jean-Marc Sanchez finished second overall to confirm third place in the championship and the Qatar 96 crew were third.

In Wednesday's pre-race practice Victory 77 had been the fastest boat in the pack, recording a time of 2m 53.4s to the best of 2m 54.52s for Spirit of Norway. Qatar 96 posted a best time of 2m 58.33s in third position, but Sheikh Hassan was confident that he and Matteo could improve on this time during Friday's race, which was held over 18 laps off the coast of Mina Seyahi, south-west of Dubai. After one 5.85 Nm start lap, 16 timed 5.05 Nm laps were planned and a compulsory long lap of 6.05 Nm.

In the Palm Speed Record held on Tuesday, Spirit of Norway clinched the Pole Position Championship with victory over Victory 77, with the Qatar 96 boat adding 12 points to Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini's points tally for third position. The final Pole Position competition on Thursday provided the Anglo-Norwegian pairing of Steve Curtis and Bjorn Gjelsten with the perfect opportunity to end the season in style and the pair clinched a seventh Pole win of the season.

Their closest rivals Victory 7 were second, Highlander was third and the Qatar 96 team finished in fourth place to consolidate a similar position in the final championship points' standings behind runaway winners Spirit of Norway, Victory 7 and Victory 77.


Championship Positions after final round (unofficial):
1. Spirit of Norway 120 pts
2. Victory 7 95 pts
3. Victory 77 85 pts
4. Qatar 96 77 pts, etc

Pole Position Championship - final positions:
1. Spirit of Norway 155 pts
2. Victory 7 93 pts
3. Victory 77 91 pts
4. Qatar 96 74 pts
5. Jotun 67 pts
6. Roscioli Hotels 29 pts
7. GFN Gibellato 29 pts
8. Negotiator 26 pts
9. Highlander 13 pts
10. Hydrolift 12 pts


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)


Date issued: 10/12/2004

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