C1 Qatar Team aims to build upon Qatar GP success in Spanish GP

Spanish Grand Prix, round 3 – Sunday, June 4th, 2006

For immediate release
Monday, May 22nd 2006


Spanish seas offer Qatar Team different challenge;
Class 1 championship leaders in confident mood

DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Class 1 Team will travel to Garrucha in Spain at the end of the month in determined and confident mood, as they make their final preparations for the Spanish Grand Prix, taking place off the coast of the Almeria fishing town on June 2nd-4th.

This positive strategy is down to the fact that Qatar 96 team mates His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and throttleman Matteo Nicolini hold the overall lead in this year’s Class 1 World Powerboat Championship and UIM Class 1 Middle East Powerboat Championship. Qatar 95 team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase were the winners of the last race in Doha on May 4th and hold third place in what promises to be the most open 10-round series for years.

“I see what happened in Qatar on the first two races as a sign that we are carrying on from where we left off in Doha last year,” said an enthusiastic Sheikh Hassan. “Last year our World Championship challenge ended in Qatar after the accident and we have made amends this time and are now leading the championship after the first two races. Now Matteo and I must make sure that we maintain a strong lead after the next race. We do have plans to make some minor technical changes to the boat and I am hoping that they will be in place before the Spanish race.”

Whereas the two opening rounds in Doha Bay took place in calm sea conditions, largely in a sheltered bay, the Qatar Team is aware that sea and weather conditions may be completely different off the Mediterranean coast of Spain. “Open seas are not a problem for us,” adds Sheikh Hassan. “I do believe that we have the right set-up for rougher water and we have seen how the boat performs in these weather conditions. The choice of propeller will be critical to push home an advantage in these instances.”

Since Abdullah Al-Sulaiti’s emphatic maiden Class 1 victory in Doha at the start of the month and Sheikh Hassan’s runner-up position to give him the championship lead, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation has noticed a pick-up in the interest in Class 1 racing in Qatar.

“The response to our first and second places at home was fantastic. Now we are leading the points’ standings it does make it more difficult for us as a team because more and more people are beginning to follow the news and our results very closely. I think there are many people who would welcome fresh faces regularly winning races and ending the domination of the Spirit of Norway team.”

Sheikh Hassan and the Qatar Marine Sports Federation have been boosted by a general increase in the profile of the sport, largely duo to excellent global television and media coverage. “People are demanding more from Class 1 in Doha, not only from racing, but also background PR work and the creation of a new environment for the sport in Qatar.”

But the Qatar Team will leave nothing to chance, as it bids to beat the two-boat Victory Team, Spirit of Norway and five other boats in the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, June 4th.

“The opening results have been encouraging for our Mercury engines, but we still need to see what the performance is like on rough seas. I do feel that, as much as the Middle East GP result was fantastic for our team, had the King of Shaves and Spirit of Norway boats not stopped, we would not have seen a Mercury 1-2-3 on the podium in Doha. There is still a lot of work for us to do this season.”

The Qatar Team’s determination to improve in Spain and the prospect of another gripping showdown with rivals Spirit of Norway, Victory 77, Victory 7 and King of Shaves, are just two of the reasons why Class 1 racing is enjoying heady times in the Middle East’s sporting capital of Qatar.


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: 22/05/2006

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