C1 Qatar Team on track to perform in Qatar GPs
QATAR MARINE SPORTS FEDERATION - LATEST NEWS
For immediate release
Tuesday, October 18th, 2005
QATAR TEAM ON TRACK TO PERFORM
IN NOVEMBER'S QATAR GRAND PRIXS
Qatar 95 to use Mercury V8 engines for first time in Doha;
Sheikh Hassan continues test and development programme
DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Team entered in the UIM Class One World Power Boat Championship is going all out to give itself the best chance of extending its lead in this year's championship, when the first of two Doha-based Qatar Grand Prixs get underway on the rescheduled date of Monday, November 7th.
His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian team mate Matteo Nicolini have already clinched the prestigious 2005 UIM Class 1 European Power Boat Championship, but know that top results in both of November's Qatar Grand Prixs would set them up for a grandstand finish in December in the UAE, as the Qatar Team duo bid to win the UIM World Championship for the first time at only their third attempt.
Sheikh Hassan, who is also working tirelessly with his team at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation to piece together the logistics of running both Doha races in the same week, has been working to improve the performance of his Michael Peters-designed Qatar 96 race boat. ~We have been modifying the handling mechanism of the boat,~ said Hassan. ~There have been no major changes. The improvements are all part of the development programme that we are using to maintain our boat.~
But the President of the QMSF admits that major changes have been carried out to the Qatar 95 entry of team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Italian throttleman Lino de Biase, following their spectacular crash in Norway in the summer. Qatar 95 sustained significant damage and the obvious decision to miss the second Norwegian race pushed Qatar 95 into ninth place in the championship.
As a result the decision was also taken to fit new Mercury engines to Qatar 95 for the final four races of the year in Doha and the UAE. ~The decision to run Mercury engines comes as a result of seeing their potential on the rival 90 boat,~ added Hassan.
~We feel that the engines are cheaper to run in terms of regular maintenance and offer excellent performance. There are not many V12 Lamborghini engines, like we run in Qatar 96, on the market and costs to maintain them are high. Therefore we will try and develop the Mercury over the remaining races of the season and hope to run V8 engines in both our boats in 2006.~
Sheikh Hassan admits that the V8 powerplants have more power and torque than the Lamborghini V12s and insists that they can be improved still further. ~We will try and match the power of the V8s by dropping them down to match the V12s for next season. Due to changes in the regulations we will have a better control mechanism to maintain the power.~
Qatar's driving force behind the surging interest in power boat racing sees a bright future for the premier offshore racing discipline. ~The Maritimo boat has withdrawn from this year's championship, but we are confident that the IOTA and UIM can attract new teams for 2006. We have a solid calendar provisionally in place for next season and we have approved new engine builders, who can produce engines with the required specification that are cheaper than the present V12. That will be a step forward for the sport.~
Sheikh Hassan admits that a Doha-based race may well kick-start the 2006 calendar in April, he hinted that Abu Dhabi has also shown an interest in running a Class One race in the future and confirmed that new European race venues are on the agenda for what promises to be a thrilling 2006.
In the meantime, all attention in Class One racing circles focuses on the two Qatar rounds of the series on Monday, November 7th and Saturday, November 12th. ~Our long-term goal now is to maintain our progress and make our organisation better each time. We will make sure that the QMSF is indeed a well known and well respected organisation for worldwide marine activities and that marine sports are just as big as any other sport in Qatar and the rest of the Gulf region.~
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