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C1 Qatar 96 crew confident of top finish in second Qatar Grand Prix

2005 UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
QATAR GRAND PRIX, November 10th/12th, 2005 - round 5 of 7

For immediate release
Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

QATAR 96 CREW CONFIDENT OF TOP
FINISH IN SECOND QATAR GRAND PRIX

Qatar Team crew carries out engine tuning to Qatar 95;
New engines to power Qatar 96 in second Qatar Grand Prix

DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani is eagerly looking forward to resuming his enthralling battle with arch rivals Victory 77 and Spirit of Norway in the second Qatar Grand Prix, round five of this year's UIM Class 1 World Power Boat Championship, which takes place in Doha Bay on Saturday afternoon.

Fresh from taking a nail-biting second place in the opening race on Monday, Sheikh Hassan and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini will be able to benefit from a pair of new Lamborghini V12 engines fitted to their Michael Peters-designed boat for race two.

~Monday was a great race, but the most pleasing part for us was finishing ahead of Spirit of Norway and keeping them four points behind us in the championship,~ said Sheikh Hassan, the reigning UIM European Champion. ~Matteo and I had our chances to win. There were several places where we tried to overtake Victory 77 and we just got bogged down in dirty water. What really impressed me was the performance of the boat, even with the old engines we had used in Trondheim in August. I am sure that we could have won without having to change the engines last Thursday.~

As Qatar 96 team technicians fit the new powerplants to Sheikh Hassan's vessel, Victory mechanics will be working against the clock in an attempt to repair the stricken Victory 7 boat for the second race. It was badly damaged in a third-lap accident during Monday's race. The local weather forecast has predicted slightly stronger winds for the second race in Doha Bay, but Sheikh Hassan, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, feels that this may be to his team's advantage.

~I don't think it will be a problem for us at all. We know the nature of the wind and water conditions in Doha and I am sure that a heavier boat like Jotun will not have any advantage in heavier seas.~

While Sheikh Hassan mentally prepares for the challenge of extending his four-point advantage over the Spirit of Norway boat, Qatar Team mechanics have been trying to find a way to override the engine temperature alarm system fitted to the new Mercury engines in Qatar 95, crewed by Qatari Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Italian Lino di Biase.

~The problem with starting from scratch with a pleasure engine is that you have little development already in place,~ admitted Hassan. ~But these engines have great potential and Abdullah and Lino ran a superb race on Monday. Our technicians will work on the data logging over the next couple of days to try and get around the alarm system on the engines.~

After the dramatic victory for Jean-Marc Sanchez and Mohammed Al-Marri in Victory 77 on Monday, this year's championship has suddenly developed into a three-horse race, with Qatar 96, heading Spirit of Norway by four points and Victory 77 by eight.

~It is certainly all to play for,~ said Hassan, who admitted that he had not seen the chequered flag waved in error during Monday's penultimate lap. ~These things happen in a pressure situation in a race environment. Matteo and I just need to make sure that we are mentally ready for this weekend. It would be nice to go to Dubai in December with a healthy lead in the championship.~

The first official timed practice sessions for this second Qatar Grand Prix take place tomorrow morning (Thursday), with the Pole Position Championship race running on Friday afternoon. The Qatar Grand Prix will get underway on Saturday afternoon.

UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Championship Positions after race 4 of 7:
1. Qatar 96 - Al Thani/Nicolini 62pts
2. Spirit of Norway - Eker/Curtis 58pts
3. Victory 77 - Al Marri/Sanchez 54pts
4. Negotiator - Parsonage/Scism 37pts
5. Jotun - Tandberg/Zaborowski 24pts
6. Victory 7 - Hindi/Al Marri 18pts
6. GFN Gibellato - Montavoci/Cirilli 18pts
8. Maritimo - Barry-Cotter/McGrath 17pts
9. Qatar 95 - Al Sulaiti/Di Biase 16pts
10. Ceramiche Flaminia - Chillocci/Tzanov 4pts
11. Roscioli Hotels - Giorgi/Polli 2pts

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
5. 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

Ends

For further media information, contact: Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 971 50 3616881 and E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

and Nigel Quilter, Press Officer, UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship Mobile: + 44 7785 325346, e-mail: q@q4media.com

www.class-1.com
www.qmsf.org

Date issued: 09/11/2005

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