C1 Thrilling Norwegian Grand Prix victory for Qatar 96

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

For immediate release
Sunday, August 7th, 2005


Qatar 96 takes outright Class 1 Championship lead;
Disappointment for Qatar 95 team mates Al-Sulaiti and Di Biase

TRONDHEIM (Norway): Qatar's His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini finished first overall in the Chess Norwegian Grand Prix, the second round of this year's UIM Class 1 World Power Boat Championship, in Trondheim, today (Sunday).

Sheikh Hassan, the Qatar Team Principal, began the 18-lap, 93.94 Nm race in the wake of Spirit of Norway for the second time in three weeks, after Qatar 96 collected 15 runners-up points in Saturday's Pole Position Championship.

The Spirit of Norway crew of Bard Eker and Steve Curtis, who had won the last seven Pole Position races, were bidding to give the home team a sixth successive Grand Prix victory on the Norwegian fjord. But it was set to be the Qatar 96 team's weekend.

Two long straights, four tight turns and the compulsory long lap were features of Sunday's race. But the Qatar 96 crew pulled ahead of Spirit of Norway on the second lap and managed to settle into a race-winning pace from then on. Spirit of Norway was sidelined with engine problems, but the Qatar 96 crew were able to stay well ahead of their nearest rivals for the remaining laps. The success marked the second ever Class 1 victory for the team to follow on from their outright success in the Color Line Scandinavian Grand Prix last season.

Dubai's Victory 77 crew of Mohammed Al-Marri and Jean-Marc Sanchez finished second overall and the Negotiator crew of Chris Parsonage and Randy Scism were third. The result now gives the Qatar 96 boat a 12-point advantage in the overall championship standings over their nearest Victory 77 rivals.

~I think that Norway is my lucky venue,~ joked a delighted Sheikh Hassan. ~I think we should maybe move the whole team here, because we have great luck. It was a perfect race for us. We managed to pass Spirit and then settled into a great pace. We knew they had stopped, but we were ahead of Victory 77 and managed a good long lap strategy this time to make sure we took the win.

~The weather was a bit rough this morning, but the race conditions were perfect. The result just finished off a cracking weekend for us. I am delighted for Matteo and the whole team. We now have a good lead in the championship and need to build on this in the next race.~

In qualifying on Saturday, Qatar 96 had posted the fastest time, but could only sit and wait as the Anglo-Norwegian pairing bettered their time on a sole qualifying lap with a winning 3min 01.83 sec. The Qatar 96 crew now holds a clear second position in the Pole Position Championship, a mere 10 points behind Spirit of Norway and nine clear of Negotiator.

“We have reduced the gap in performance between us and Spirit from the first race in England to this race,~ said Sheikh Hassan positively. ~The difference was six seconds last time and here it was under two. That shows a sizeable improvement and I am sure there are more improvements to come in the Pole competition.~

But the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation was also mindful of difficult and varied water conditions. “During Pole Position Championship qualifying the wind and current on the first corner was causing all of us problems. It was the first time that I have felt currents as strong as that. I was trying to turn the boat to the right but she wanted to go to the left.”

The Mercury-engined Jotun boat or Jorn Tandberg and Christian Zaborowski was third overall, ahead of Negotiator, Victory 7 and Maritimo.

There were mixed fortunes for the second Qatar Team this weekend, with Sheikh Hassan's team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Italian Lino de Biase down in seventh place in the Pole Position competition at the helm of Qatar 95. They were classified as non-finishers in the Grand Prix race following a spin and a low-speed roll. ~We will spend the next couple of days repairing their boat to make sure that they make the start of the next race,~ added Sheikh Hassan.

The Qatar Team's Class 1 racing programme resumes next weekend, when teams tackle the third race of the year and the second Scandinavian race within seven days in Trondheim.

Championship Positions after race 2 (unofficial @ 15.30 hrs):
1. Qatar 96 38 pts
2. Victory 77 27 pts
3. Negotiator 24 pts
4. Spirit of Norway 23 pts, etc

Pole Position Championship after race 2:
1. Spirit of Norway - Eker/Curtis 40pts
2. Qatar 96 – Al Thani/Nicolini 30pts
3. Negotiator - Parsonage/Scism 21pts
4. Victory 77 - Al Marri/Sanchez 12pts
4. Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti/Di Biase 12pts
4. Maritimo – Barry-Cotter/McGrath 12pts
7. Victory 7 - Bin Hindi/R Al Marri 9pts
8. GFN Gibellato - Montavoci/Cirilli 8pts
9. Roscioli Hotels - Giorgi/Polli 3pts
10. Jotun - Tandberg/Zaborowski*
*points to de determined


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: 07/08/2005

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