C1 UIM Class 1 European Championship title for Qatar 96
2005 UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
CHESS SCANDINAVIAN GRAND PRIX, August 14th, 2005 - round 3 of 7
For immediate release
Sunday, August 14th, 2005
QATAR 96 TEAM CLINCHES UIM CLASS
ONE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE
Fourth position in Scandinavian Grand Prix for Qatar 96 team;
Scandinavian Grand Prix victory for Spirit of Norway; Victory 7 second overall
TRONDHEIM (Norway): Qatar's His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini clinched the UIM Class 1 European Championship title by finishing fourth overall in the Trondheim-based Chess Scandinavian Grand Prix, today (Sunday).
Starting from fourth position after Saturday's Pole Position Championship competition, the Qatar 96 crew steered their twin Lamborghini-engined hull safely to the finish in fourth place and earned enough points to ensure a maiden championship title. The Anglo-Norwegian pairing of Steve Curtis and Bard Eker clinched outright victory in excellent weather conditions on home waters in Spirit of Norway, with Victory 7 and Jotun taking second and third places.
~It is a great feeling to win the European Championship, but I feel a little disappointed that we could not win the Grand Prix,~ admitted Sheikh Hassan. ~I probably made the worst start to a race I have ever made in my three and a half year racing career. The propellor angle was wrong and we just languished at the start and there was no way to make up the time. But we did enough to win the championship and that is a nice feeling.~
It was on this event a mere 12 months ago that Al-Thani and Nicolini took their first ever outright Grand Prix victory, a feat they repeated in last weekend's Chess Norwegian Grand Prix to set up this weekend's championship success.
Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, and Nicolini began the race with an 11-point advantage over the Victory 77 crew of Mohammed Al-Marri and Jean-Marc Sanchez and knew that third place would been sufficient had Victory 77 been successful themselves this weekend.
Atrocious weather conditions marred the first official practice and testing session on Friday. Gusting winds whipped up the fjord waters and many of the teams, including Spirit of Norway, Victory 77 and Qatar 96, only managed one token lap before abandoning the session.
Saturday's Pole Position Championship competition was won by Spirit of Norway, with Curtis and Eker extending their overall advantage in the championship with a third successive win. They had been first out on the water and benefited from slightly calmer conditions than those faced by teams running further down the order.
Spirit of Norway recorded a winning time of 2mins 56.74secs around the 5.15Nm lap at an average speed of 194.27km/h. The Jotun boat of Jorn Tandberg and Christian Zaborowski was second, with the Victory 7 crew of newcomers Nadir Bin Hindi and Rashid Al-Marri finishing third and Qatar 96 completing the top four.
There had been disappointment for the Qatar 95 crew of Doha-based Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Italian throttleman Lino di Biase at the start of the week. Their Michael Peters-designed boat had been badly damaged in a roll during last weekend's Norwegian Grand Prix and the team was unable to affect repairs in time for this weekend's race meeting.
After a two and a half month break following the three European races in England and Norway, Class 1 racing action will resume after the Ramadan Holy Month in the Qatar Team's host city of Doha at the start of November. Two Qatar races and a pair of events in Dubai will decide the outcome of both the four-round Middle East and seven-event World Championship.
~I am sure that Victory and Spirit will be raring to go on the Middle East races later in the year,~ added a victorious Sheikh Hassan. ~But we just have to keep our concentration and work hard to achieve the goals of the Middle East Championship and the overall title.~
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