C1 Spirit of Norway wins Pole Position Championship race in Qatar
2005 UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
QATAR GRAND PRIX, November 5th/7th, 2005 - round 4 of 7
For immediate release
Sunday, November 6th, 2005
QATAR TEAMS FINISH SECOND AND SIXTH IN POLE
POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP RACE IN QATAR GRAND PRIX
Spirit of Norway takes Pole Position race; Spectacular crash for Victory 77
Qatar 96 team forced to replace Lamborghini engines; Sixth for Qatar 95
DOHA (Qatar): Spirit of Norway crew members Steve Curtis and Bard Eker will start in Pole Position for Monday's Qatar Grand Prix, after winning Sunday afternoon's Pole Position Championship run-off in Doha Bay. Delighting the home crowds lining the Corniche in Doha, His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini were second overall in Qatar 96.
The Anglo-Norwegian pairing of Steve Curtis and Bard Eker had taken a maximum 60 points on the opening three Pole races this year and now have a 26-point advantage over Qatar 96 after four rounds after setting a winning time of 2m 41.372s on their very first lap.
In calm conditions on the azure blue waters of Doha Bay, 10 teams tackled the 5.27 Nm Pole Position course in the reverse position to where they had finished the last race in Norway back in August.
But the Victory 77 crew of Abdullah Al-Marri and Jean-Marc Sanchez stole the headlines for all the wrong reasons by spectacularly flipping their boat in a high-speed accident on the first right-hand turn of their opening timed lap. Both crew members were uninjured, but it put paid to their challenge for honours in the Pole Position contest.
~The boat milling area was quite close to the first corner and even a small wake from a boat can cause a wave and upset a race boat doing around 145 mph,~ said Sanchez. ~I don't know what happened. The front just lifted up and over we went.~ Victory does have a spare shell available - Victory 4 - and were considering running the spare boat with refitted Lamborghini engines for Monday's race.
Victory 7 was pipped to the runner-up spot by Qatar 96, by a mere 0.27 seconds after a nailbiting afternoon on the Corniche in Doha. The British Negotiator boat, crewed by Chris Parsonage and Randy Scism, was fourth and the Jotun entry was fifth. Qatar 95 continued to show a marked improvement over the three days by posting an impressive 2m 48.85s on the first of their two laps to take sixth place.
~On both of our laps the front of the boat started to dig in at the same place as Victory 77 had an accident,~ said Abdullah Al-Sulaiti. ~It was quite unnerving and we had to lift off. Engine temperatures will be our major worry for the race. The temperature alarm came on today on the run-out lap. I am really anxious what will happen during a full 18-lap race.~
Qatar Team Principal Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani admitted that his mechanics had been forced to replace both engines in Qatar 96 with the race units used in Trondheim. ~It was something we had to do and it means we have kissed goodbye to the three bonus points for running the same engines as Norway. It is also a little concerning, because we have the second Qatar race on Saturday and that puts us under a little extra pressure if we have an engine problem in Monday's race.~
Teams were permitted to carry out a second timed practice session on Sunday morning, with Victory 77 keen to build on their fast time in the first practice session. Both Victory boats were quickly on the pace, with Victory 77 posting times of 2m 45.187s and 2m 42.11s against their team mates' best of 2m 42.72s. Spirit of Norway was quickly into a consistent pace, with a first lap of 2m 42.133s confirming their winning potential and a stunning 2m 39.84s emphasising their position as pre-race favourites.
Qatar 96 took to the waters for the second half of timed practice on Sunday morning and posted a single lap time of 2h 47.85s. Mercury-engined team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino di Biase recorded an early 2m 54.16s time in Qatar 95. But Qatar 96 was unable to have a clean run in practice. ~We were running a mini air scoop, but it does get quite hot in Doha and we needed to change this for a larger air intake,~ said Hassan.
Sunday's Qatar Grand Prix, round four of this year's UIM Class 1 World Power Boat Championship will be flagged away from the start in Doha Bay at 14.30 hrs (Doha time), after a third official practice session on Monday morning.
POLE POSITION RESULTS - (UNOFFICIAL @ 16.20 hrs)
1. Spirit of Norway - Eker/Curtis 2m 41.37s
2. Qatar 96 - Al Thani/Nicolini 2m 42.50s
3. Victory 7 - Hindi/Al Marri 2m 42.72s
4. Negotiator - Parsonage/Scism 2m 47.91s
5. Jotun - Tandberg/Zaborowski 2m 48.70s
6. Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti/Di Biase 2m 48.85s, etc
Pole Position Championship after race 4 of 7:
1. Spirit of Norway - Eker/Curtis 80pts
2. Qatar 96 – Al Thani/Nicolini 54pts
3. Jotun - Tandberg/Zaborowski 38pts
4. Negotiator - Parsonage/Scism 32pts
4. Victory 7 - Bin Hindi/R Al Marri 31pts
6. Victory 77 - Al Marri/Sanchez 19pts
7. Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti/Di Biase 16pts
8. Maritimo – Barry-Cotter/McGrath 14pts
9. GFN Gibellato - Montavoci/Cirilli 9pts
10. Roscioli Hotels - Giorgi/Polli 6pts
QATAR GRAND PRIX - OFFICIAL TIMETABLE
Monday, 7 November 2005
09.00 - 11.00 Official Practice
14.30 Qatar Grand Prix
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