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C1 Third place for Qatar 96 on rough seas in Spain

UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Spanish Grand Prix, round 3 – Sunday, June 4th, 2006

For immediate release
Saturday, June 3rd, 2006

QATAR TEAM TAKES THIRD ON ROUGH SEAS
IN POLE COMPETITION AT SPANISH GRAND PRIX

Shock Pole Position victory for Foresti & Suardi in Garrucha;
Scene set for thrilling Grand Prix showdown on Sunday

GARRUCHA (Spain): The Qatar Team finished third overall in the Pole Position competition at the Spanish Grand Prix, round three of this year’s UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, which took place off the coast of the Almerian fishing town of Garrucha, today (Saturday).

Strong winds and high seas marred preparations for Sunday’s Grand Prix and all the teams erred on the side of caution during this afternoon’s Pole Position competition. Italian Giampaolo Monavoci and Spain's Dominico Cirilli upset the seasoned regulars with a stunning qualifying lap in their Lamborghini Scam-engined and Victory-built Foresti & Suardi boat. They had begun the race weekend in fifth place in the Pole Championship.

Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis finished finished in second position in Spirit of Norway, but added to their original maximum 40-point tally, while His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and throttleman Matteo Nicolini will start Sunday’s race from third position in Qatar 96. Chris Parsonage and James Sheppard were fourth overall in King of Shaves.

Qatar’s Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and throttleman Lino Di Biase were the last crew on to the water in Qatar 95, courtesy of their Grand Prix win in Doha. Their target was the time set by Foresti & Suardi, but they were forced to stop on the warm-up lap with engine problems.

~It was crazy out there, just unbelievable,~ said His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and driver of third-placed Qatar 96. ~It was just not possible to race at any speed. The wind was coming at us from all directions. It was a case of staying in one piece and taking no risks. The forecast is sure to be better for the race on Sunday, but we cannot take risks in these conditions.~

Conditions were so rough for the first timed practice sessions on Friday afternoon that only the Jotun and Victory 77 crews attempted a single lap each. Both the Qatar crews elected not to venture on to the water, but strong winds and heavy seas prevailed on Saturday, where only Victory 77 and King of Shaves tackled two free practice laps.

In Saturday’s morning’s free practice, Spirit of Norway posted the fastest time with a lap of 3m 52.25s, with the Foresti and Suardi boat, somewhat surprisingly, second fastest with a time of 3m 58.40s. King of Shaves was third, but the Qatar 96 team’s solitary lap of 4m 03.51s was sufficient to give them the fifth quickest time. Team mates Al-Sulaiti and Di Biase were seventh in Qatar 95 with a sole lap of 4m 12.06s

The Qatar Team began the weekend in fourth and ninth places in the UIM Class 1 Pole Position Championship after engine teething troubles during the first two race meetings in Doha. Neither crew had been able to put together a clear run in the opening race meeting and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase came away from Doha with a mere three points to show for their Pole qualifying efforts.

But hard work over the course of the 10 days of the two Doha race meetings paid dividends and the Qatar Team arrived in Spain with a competitive set-up more than capable of beating their main Lamborghini-engined rivals Spirit of Norway and King of Shaves and the Dubai-based crew of Mohammed Al-Marri and Jean-Marc Sanchez in Victory 77, using their very own V12 engines. The Qatar Team, along with the Norwegian Jotun crew and the Victory 7 duo of Nadir Bin Hendi and Ahmed Al-Suwaidi, are the only four teams to use Mercury power.

Tomorrow (Sunday) marks the Spanish Grand Prix, round three of this year’s UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, which gets underway at 14.00 hrs Spanish time (15.00 hrs in Doha).

Teams will tackle one short lap of 3.92 Nm at the start, 16 laps of the standard 4.83 Nm course and two compulsory 5.2 Nm long laps, as per the exciting new ruling introduced at the start of the 2006 season to make tactical racing and lap strategies that much more important.

~Lap strategies are all well and good, but the long lap strategy always depends upon where you line-up after the Pole Position and whether you can get away quickly and benefit from clear water at the start of the race,~ said Sheikh Hassan.

Spanish Grand Prix
Pole Position results– (unofficial @ 15.20 hrs)
1. Foresti & Suardi 8 (Monavoci (I)/Cirilli (E))
2. Spirit of Norway 10 (Gjelsten (N)/Curtis (GB))
3. Qatar 96 (Al-Thani (QA)/Nicolini (I))
4. King of Shaves 50 (Parsonage (GB)/Sheppard(GB)), etc

Qatar 95 (Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Di Biase (I)) DNF

Ends

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

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



Date issued: 03/06/2006

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