C1 Qatar Team makes final preparations for Qatar GP
QATAR MARINE SPORTS FEDERATION - LATEST NEWS
For immediate release
Thursday, October 27th, 2005
QATAR TEAM'S PREPARATIONS FOR OPENING
UIM CLASS 1 GRAND PRIX GATHER MOMENTUM
Qatar 96 crew confident with existing boat set-up
DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Team's preparations for the forthcoming Qatar Grand Prix are gathering pace. His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, Team Prinicpal, driver of Qatar 96 and President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, confirming that he is going all out for a first win on home waters and a podium finish at the very least.
The first of two races within five days takes place on the normally-calm waters of Doha Bay on Monday, November 7th, with the second counting round towards the UIM Class 1 World Power Boat Championship taking place on Saturday, November 12th.
~The Qatar Grand Prix will be just like any other race,~ said Hassan, trying to relieve the extra pressure placed on the team to perform in front of a large partisan home crowd. ~Our preparations will not be any different than for other races. We will have our strategy and the plan will be to increase our four-point lead in the championship.~
But Hassan is quietly confident. ~Of course, a podium is realistic. We have made some slight changes to the set-up after a recent test session, but the team doesn't feel it will add too much value to the performance of the boat. We feel that it is in the handling stakes where the boat will be improved and I think that will be a major boost.~
Along with throttleman Matteo Nicolini, Sheikh Hassan has already clinched the UIM European Championship and an outright victory in Doha will be the team's third Grand Prix success in as many seasons.
Sheikh Hassan is combining boat racing, Qatar Marine Federation duties and normal work commitments over the next few days and admits that no further testing is planned for the Qatar 96 boat in Doha. ~We feel we have our set-up more or less ready,~ said Hassan. ~But our team mates in Qatar 95 might well test the boat in the coming days. The new Mercury engines are now in place in Qatar 95 and the team will need to fine tune them and set the boat up for pole position qualifying.~
Both Qatar 95 and Qatar 96 have been rebuilt by Nicolini's company in Italy and Sheikh Hassan expects them to arrive in Doha this weekend. ~My team at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation has been working hard to set up the pit area on the Corniche and the plan is to have everything ready for November 1st, so that we and other visiting teams can finalise our preparations and set up our own pit areas.~
Servicing and maintaining Class 1 power boats is not the time-consuming task that it may appear to the outsider. ~We can change propeller and gear ratios for both engines in under nine minutes,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~We can change an engine in about 75 minutes. The team is so efficient. It is a pleasure to work with such professionals. Our service and support team will number around 20 on race weekend.~
So, as the clock counts down towards the first free practice sessions for the Qatar Grand Prix, Sheikh Hassan is mentally prepared. ~There is not much work to do now on Qatar 96. It is ready for the free practice day. We know what propeller selection we have decided upon and we know which gear ratios will be ideally suited to the Doha waters.~
The opening Qatar Grand Prix festival gets underway with free practice on Saturday, November 5th, with the Pole Position qualifying sessions taking place on Sunday, November 6th and the actual race on Monday afternoon.
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