C1 Qatar Team carries out crucial test before Middle East Grand Prix

Middle East Grand Prix, round 2 – Thursday, May 4th, 2006

For immediate release
Monday, May 1st, 2006


QMSF officials pleased with event organisation;
Middle East GP official practice starts on Tuesday

DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Team carried out a crucial test with both the Qatar 95 and Qatar 96 boats on Monday morning, in readiness for the first official practice session for Thursday’s Middle East Grand Prix, tomorrow (Tuesday).

Plagued by an ECU-related engine management system problem for two practice sessions and last Friday’s Pole Position competition, the Qatar Team was out on the water bright and early on Monday to ensure that modifications made to the mapping of the engine’s electronic control system have enabled them to manually override the engine alarm systems. These were specifically designed by supplier Mercury for use in leisure craft to prevent terminal engine damage under duress.

The alarm activating during preparations for Saturday’s Qatar Grand Prix, round one of this year’s UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, was the reason that His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and team mate Matteo Nicolini were unable to complete a high-speed qualification lap and were, therefore, forced to start from sixth place in the opening race. They eventually finished third overall, behind defending champions Spirit of Norway and Victory 77.

Qatar 95 throttleman Lino Di Biase and team member Luca Nicolini carried out several acceleration and deceleration tests in Qatar 95, while Di Biase was joined by Matteo Nicolini to repeat a similar procedure in Qatar 96.

“I think we are getting there,” said Luca Nicolini. “The boats performed much better in the first race on Saturday, but we can afford to leave nothing to chance before the next race and wanted to make sure that everything was okay and we are able to manually override the engine alarm systems.”

While the Qatar Team was out on the calm waters of Doha Bay, officials at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) were taking a well-earned breather after a hectic few weeks of marine sport in Qatar. Successive weekends in April saw the staging of a Gulf Class III race, the opening round of the UIM Formula One Powerboat Championship, the World Waterski and Wakeboard Championship and the Qatar Grand Prix last Saturday.

“Everything has come all at once for us in the calendar this year,” admitted QMSF’s Mohammed Al-Jaidah, who is also the Officer of the Day (OOD) on race days and in charge of race control. “It was quite hard for us having everything in one month, but we appreciate that is because Qatar will be hosting the Asian Games at the end of the year.

“We will make no changes from our side for the second race on Thursday. The only difference will be race two not taking place on a weekend. We are still hopeful of seeing a good crowd, because Thursday afternoon is the start of the weekend here and the race will be the major sporting event in Qatar on the day.

“It’s becoming quite easy for us to organise events now. Everyone involved knows their own task. When we first started hosting these races, I would have to chase people up. Now everyone is organised and knows when to be here and how to report. We used to start preparing for races over one week in advance. Now we are down to a couple of days. The crane operators, the support we get from the police and the coastguard are all arranged.”

But Al-Jaidah admits that things can go wrong. “On the last race day we were here until 23.00 hrs,” adds Al-Jaidah. “We had to move one of the old dhows a short distance across the Bay and it sank on us. So we have to be prepared for every eventuality!”

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the first day of the Middle East Grand Prix meeting. After administration and registration on Tuesday morning, the first official practice session will take place between 12.00 hrs and 14.00 hrs. The pit area will be open to the general public for one hour from 17.00 hrs.


For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).


Date issued: 01/05/2006

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