Sheikh Hassan finishes sixth in Class 1 British GP
SUPERFUND CLASS 1 WORLD POWER BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
For immediate release
Sunday, July 27th, 2003
QATAR'S SHEIKH HASSAN FINISHES
SIXTH IN BRITISH GRAND PRIX
Partnership with Nicolini works well in British Grand Prix; Victory 7 takes the win
PLYMOUTH (Great Britain): Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, made his competitive driving debut in the Gervas Property British Grand Prix, the third round of the Surefund Class One World Powerboat Championship, off the coast of Plymouth today (Sunday).
He finished in a fine sixth position overall and relished his first experience of competitive racing in the UIM Class One series.
~It was a fantastic experience for me today,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~The weather for qualifying was very poor, but for the race it was much better. The boat I used was seven years old and never going to keep up with the leaders, but I was delighted with sixth position. I only had a top speed of 100 mph, compared to around 160 mph for the top boats.~
Sheikh Hassan, who celebrated his 35th birthday last week, teamed up with the 1997 Class Two World Champion Matteo Nicolini after signing an agreement to rent the Damas boat for this event and forthcoming European races in Norway and Austria.
~I wanted to gain as much racing experience as possible before we take delivery of a new boat built for us by the Victory Team's shipyard building facility in Dubai,~ said Sheikh Jabor. ~I will use this on the last three races in the Middle East.~
The race was won by Dubai's Victory 7 - their first win of the season - with Spirit of Norway second and Maritimo in third place. The Victory 77 boat finished fourth.
Damas is one of the oldest boats on the circuit and is powered by a pair of 8.2-litre, V12 Lamborghini petrol engines. Sheikh Jabor's vessel weighs 4750 kgs and was built at the Victory Team's workshops in Dubai.
Sheikh Jabor underwent extensive training in Dubai with a Class Two boat to acclimatise to his new racing environment and work alongside Nicolini, his new Italian throttleman. Pole-position qualifying took place on Saturday and this was Sheikh Hassan's first experience of top flight competition.
Despite strong winds, a swell in excess of two metres and poor visibility, Sheikh Hassan acclimatised well to his new mount and beat both the GFN Gibellato and Roscioli Hotels boats in qualifying.
~The conditions for qualifying were difficult,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~But it was a great experience and I was very pleased with the way I quickly adapted to the boat.~
The weekend's 102 Nm race in the English Channel off Plymouth Sound consisted of 18 laps of a 5.7 Nm course, starting inside the breakwater off the coast of Plymouth. The nature of the course enabled spectators to view the majority of the competitive action.
The opening two races of this year's championship in Portugal and Germany were won by the unbeaten Spirit of Norway crew of Norwegian Bjorn Gjelsten and his British throttleman Steve Curtis. They claimed pole for this weekend's race after holding off the challenge from Victory 7 and Victory 77.
Sheikh Jabor's next outing in the Damas boat will be off the coast of Oslo in Norway on August 9/10th, before he heads to Traunsee in Austria on September 14th and then enters the season's final three races in the Middle East in October and December.
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