C1 Qatar Team heads to Norway for UIM Class One race

NORWEGIAN GRAND PRIX, August 7th, 2005 - round 2 of 7

For immediate release
Monday, August 1st, 2005


Sheikh Hassan aims to build upon recent British Grand Prix success;
Team mate Abdullah Al-Sulaiti looks forward to Norwegian challenge

TRONDHEIM (Norway): Qatar's His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti head to Trondheim in Norway this weekend to tackle the first of two Scandinavian rounds of the UIM Class 1 World Power Boat Championship in the space of two weeks.

Fresh from an excellent second overall in the Honda British Grand Prix at the helm of the Michael Peters-designed Qatar 96 boat, Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini will be hoping to build upon that success over the potentially calmer Norwegian waters, home to the early championship leader Bard Eker and Britain's Steve Curtis in Spirit of Norway.

Qatar team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Italian Lino de Biase were fifth in England in their Qatar 95 hull, but the Qatar 96 boat had shown a clean pair of heels to the rest of the field for 11 laps in England before slipping to second overall.

Last year Al-Thani and Nicolini became the first Qatar Team in history to win a round of the Class 1 series, when they closed out a thrilling victory in the Color Line Scandinavian Grand Prix in Norway. Can history repeat itself?

~Well the British Grand Prix was an excellent start for the team,~ said Sheikh Hassan modestly. ~Both boats achieved good results, both boats collected points and I think we proved that Qatar is one of the toughest teams on the water. We know when we can push hard and when we need to slow down and apply the necessary pressure during the race.~

Both Victory-built Qatar boats are being serviced on the three European Class One races by Nicolini Offshore in Italy and Sheikh Hassan knows that he and Matteo will need to be on top of their form to beat Spirit of Norway on home waters.

~We knew all along that this year was not going to be an easy one,~ added Hassan, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation. ~With the new rules that have been enforced, most boats are almost identical in
performance and speed. The Norway boat is still a tough one to beat. Maybe if we apply pressure all the way during the season, we may be able to put an end to its successful run of victories.~

Sheikh Hassan only entered the world of Class 1 racing mid-way through the 2003 season and he sees the Dubai-based Victory Team as a threat again this year. ~Victory is a strong team and I think the new crew are also just as strong. They produced a good run in the last race and they will be just as tough to beat in Norway.

~We plan no team changes or changes to the boat specification in Norway. I think the boat performed well in the water conditions in the British Grand Prix and the Norway waters should be just as good for us as the UK race. Apart from propeller and gear selection, we will maintain the boat with a similar set-up in Norway.~

In addition to the Spirit of Norway and Victory entries, the Qatar Team faces competition from the Negotiator, GFN Gibellato, Jotun, Rosicoli Hotels and Maritimo boats in Scandinavia. But Sheikh Hassan believes that his team mates Al-Sulaiti and Biase can improve on their fifth position in the opening race.

~Abdullah and Lino had an excellent race in Plymouth,~ enthused Team Principal Hassan. ~They were able to shave six seconds from their pole position time during the main race on the Sunday. I think this was a very positive sign that the communication between the two is improving and that they will be able to push the boat faster in competition. This should certainly make them a very competitive force toward mid-season.~

Quialifying and shakedown for the Norwegian race will take place on Friday, August 5th, with the Pole Position Championship race getting underway on Saturday, August 6th and the Norwegian Grand Prix bringing the weekend to a thrilling finale on Sunday, August 7th.

Championship Positions after race 1:
1. Spirit of Norway 20 pts
2. Qatar 96 15 pts
3. Victory 77 12 pts
4. Negotiator 9 pts
5. Qatar 95 7 pts

Pole Position Championship after race 1:
1. Spirit of Norway 20 pts
2. Qatar 96 15 pts
3. Victory 77 12 pts
4. Negotiator 9 pts
5. Qatar 95 7 pts
6. Maritimo 5 pts
7. Jotun 4 pts
8. GFN Gibellato 3 pts
9. Roscioli Hotels 2 pts


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


Date issued: 01/08/2005

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