C1 Spirit of Norway takes Qatar Grand Prix win in Doha
2005 UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
QATAR GRAND PRIX, November 12th, 2005 - round 5 of 7
For immediate release
Saturday, November 12th, 2005
QATAR 96 CRASHES OUT
OF QATAR GRAND PRIX
Spirit of Norway takes dramatic victory; Qatar 95 in superb second place
DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini survived a spectacular first lap crash in the second Qatar Grand Prix, round five of this year's UIM Class 1 World Power Boat Championship. The race was won by the Anglo-Norwegian pairing of Steve Curtis and Bard Eker, who moved into a 12-point lead in the championship.
The early incident wrecked the Qatar 96 team's chances of extending their four-point lead in the series and handed race winners Spirit of Norway the initiative with a mere two races remaining in the United Arab Emirates. Curtis and Eker will now start as favourites to extend their series lead in Dubai in December.
The Qatar 96 team duo planned a new strategy over the opening laps, but their challenge was thwarted in dirty water on the first lap, as Spirit of Norway and Victory 77 hared off into the leading two positions. The boat flipped up into the air in a spectacular accident reminiscent to the one which had befallen both the Victory 77 and Victory 7 team boats in the first race meeting in Doha Bay last week.
~I knew the race would be very interesting,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~We were working on a strategy that we hoped would work. Spirit pulled out in front of us and I tried to make some space to get passed, but the boat just flipped up in the air. It is really disappointing for us, but there are two races to run and we will make sure that we are fully-prepared for those.~
The Qatar 95 crew of Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino di Biase maintained a consistent pace throughout the race in their Mercury-engined hull and were rewarded with a season's best finish in second overall, which moved them into the top five in the championship standings.
The Victory 77 boat, crewed by Jean-Marc Sanchez and Mohammed Al-Marri, maintained their championship challenge with third overall and moved ahead of Qatar 96 by four points in the championship standings.
~I am delighted for Abdullah and Lino,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~They suffered some bad luck at the start of the season, but have worked hard over the last couple of weeks with the new engines. This is a great result for them and proves that the Mercury engines will be competitive once more development is carried out.~
After a hectic 10 days racing off the Corniche in Doha, teams now have just over two weeks to pack up and head towards the United Arab Emirates for the Emirates Grand Prix, the penultimate round of this year's Class 1 series at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) on Friday, December 2nd.
For both the Victory and Qatar teams, the next couple of weeks will be crucial and spent rebuilding their damaged boats in time for the first official practice sessions in Dubai.
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