C1 Qatar Team fears Norwegian challenge in British Grand Prix

Honda British Grand Prix, round 5 – Sunday, August 6th, 2006

For immediate release
Thursday, August 3rd, 2006


Sheikh Hassan prepares for strong Norwegian challenge

DOHA (Qatar): Qatar 96 team crew His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Matteo Nicolini and Qatar 95 team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase will begin their challenge for honours in the Honda British Grand Prix, when they take to the waters off Plymouth on Friday afternoon (tomorrow) for the opening official timed practice sessions for Sunday’s race.

Standing in their way over the challenging course, off the coast of one of Britain’s most important historic sea ports, will be eight Class 1 rivals, who have achieved a fair amount of success this season in their own right.

The Qatar Team boats currently lie second and fifth in the overall UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, with the Anglo-Norwegian pairing of Steve Curtis and Bjorn Gjelsten in Spirit of Norway arriving in Plymouth with a 17-point advantage over Sheikh Hassan in Qatar 96.

The Nowegian Jotun boat of recent Norwegian Grand Prix winners Jorn Tandberg and Christian Zaborowski lies a mere three points adrift in third place, with Dubai’s Victory 77 in fourth place, 26 points behind the championship leaders.

“I think that the Jotun team have been doing their homework very well in recent weeks,” admitted Sheikh Hassan. “We have seen a gradual improvement from them all through the early races in the season and I am sure they will be very strong this weekend. Their boat is heavier and if we end up racing in rougher weather conditions, with bigger waves, the race could be theirs for the taking again.”

One of the fastest boats in qualifying this season has been the King of Shaves hull, crewed by Plymouth GP race organiser Chris Parsonage and his throttleman James Sheppard. Sheikh Hassan knows fell weel that Parsonage and Sheppard will be determined to turn in a good performance on home waters and in front of what promises to be a large partisan summer crowd in England.

“”King of Shaves has been performing very well too,” added Sheikh Hassan. “The crew are a strong combination and they have a very good chance of winning the race. They won the Pole competition in Norway recently and that is an indicator that they can deliver in Plymouth.” King of Shaves currently hold eighth place in the championship after two disappointing race retirements.

“I suppose we must push as hard as possible and ensure that we are ahead of the two Norwegian boats, Spirit and Jotun. I hope we can have a race in flat conditions and we can take advantage of the situation and get into an early lead. We won’t be testing anything new on Friday, just making sure that we are happy with the right propeller setting and the gears are okay for race weekend. We made a team decision to run with the older internal transmission in Plymouth for reliability reasons, but I am sure that we will get the new internal components soon.”

After Friday’s registration and first official practice sessions, teams will tackle the crucial Pole Position competition on Saturday afternoon, before the Honda British Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday afternoon.

UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship
Positions after round 4:
1. Spirit of Norway 68 pts
2. Qatar 96 51 pts
3. Jotun 48 pts
4. Victory 77 42 pts
5. Qatar 95 36 pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 33 pts
7. Victory 7 29 pts
8. King of Shaves 22 pts
9. Ceramiche Flaminia 18 pts
10. Seveneleven 9 pts

(Championship points include bonus points allocated to teams for running
engines for two consecutive engines - one point, per engine, per race)

UIM Class 1 Pole Position Championship
Positions after round 4:
1. Spirit of Norway 70 pts
2. King of Shaves 53 pts
3. Victory 77 38 pts
4. Jotun 33 pts
5. Qatar 96 32 pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 32 pts
7. Victory 7 17 pts
8. Seveneleven 13 pts
9. Qatar 95 12 pts
10. Ceramiche Flaminia 2 pts


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: 03/08/2006

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