C1 Second and fourth places for Qatar Team in Pole for British Grand Prix

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

For immediate release
Saturday, August 5th, 2006


Pole for Victory 77; King of Shaves and Spirit of Norway disqualified;
Qatar’s Mohammed Al-Nasser enjoys first taste of Class 1 racing

PLYMOUTH (England): 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 start Sunday’s Honda British Grand Prix in second and fourth positions.

Chris Parsonage and James Sheppard were the fastest crew of the session with a first lap time of 2m 56.64s, with champions Spirit of Norway in second position with 2m 57.32s. But both crews were sensationally disqualified from the official results for minor infringements. The King of Shaves duo turned to return to the pits after their second timed lap, but in the wrong direction, while Steve Curtis and Bjorn Gjelsten began their opening lap on the wrong side of a buoy.

This handed the maximum points to Victory 77 in a time of 2m 58.84s, with Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini in second place in Qatar 96 with a time of 2m 59.93s and the Norwegian Jotun boat in third. Qatar team mates Al-Sulaiti and Di Biase were fourth with a fastest lap of 3m 02.76s, on a tricky course inside and outside the breakwater with the beautiful back drop of Drake’s Island. Saturday’s dramatic Pole Position competition was held in humid and overcast conditions in front of a massive crowd lining the Hoe, overlooking Plymouth Sound.

“We are now back running in the original Qatar 96 boat,” said Sheikh Hassan. “This is due to the weight difference. We are running second in the championship and need all the advantage we can muster for Sunday. This boat is a little bit lighter and, hopefully, we can utilise that to our advantage. It was calm inside the breakwater today, but there is a slight swell out in the open water and we can ‘fly’ a little, but nothing too serious. We tested two propellers this morning, but we are going with the rules and regulations from 2006, even though last year’s propeller is two seconds faster.”

Abdullah Al-Sulaiti was a little concerned about his pace in Qatar 95. “We are still several seconds off the leaders and need to come up with something for Sunday, but the more laps we run I am sure the better we will be. Conditions are perfect for me. We are losing time before the start and finish line. The boat is too low in the water, so maybe we need to work on a wider and faster turn. I am pleased that we will revert to the 10-boat, one-row starting line-up for Sunday’s race. I prefer it to the two rows we used for the first time in Norway.”

Qatar Team reserve driver Mohammed Al-Nasser was able to enjoy his first taste of Class 1 racing during the unofficial practice session on Friday afternoon. The Qatari took to the water with Lino Di Biase for a few laps in Qatar 95 and impressed on his first showing.

“It was a nice occasion, the first time for Mohammed in a Class 1 boat,” said Sheikh Hassan. “We wanted him to test several times in Doha, but so many factors worked against us and Norway was definitely not the right place for him to test the boat. He was able to go out in open waters, outside the breakwater, where it was very safe and he returned to the pits with a broad smile on his face.”

Lino Di Biase was impressed with the youngster’s debut in Qatar 95. “It is obviously very difficult to assess someone’s potential after such a short time, but I drove cautiously and he appeared confident behind the wheel. Time will tell, but maybe he can enjoy a few laps in Slovenia if the course is not too tight.”

In Saturday morning’s official practice session, Chris Parsonage and James Sheppard were fastest in King of Shaves with a time of 2m 55.84s. Defending champions Spirit of Norway were second, with Qatar 96 (3m 00.57s) and Qatar 95 (3m 05.87s) in third and eighth places.

Tomorrow (Sunday) teams will be permitted a final official timed practice session, before the Honda British Grand Prix gets underway at 14.00 hrs (UK time). The race will take place over an opening 4.90 Nm lap, 14 laps totalling 73.64Nm and two compulsory long laps of 17.12 Nm in a race total of 95.66 Nm.

Honda British Grand Prix – Pole Position results (official @ 15.55 hrs) –
1. Victory 77 (Al-Marri (UAE)/Sanchez (F)) 2m 58.84s
2. Qatar 96 (Al-Thani (QA)/Di Biase (I)) 2m 59.93s
3. Jotun 90 (Tandberg (N)/Zaborowski (N)) 3m 01.67s
4. Qatar 95 (Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Di Biase (I)) 3m 02.76s
5. Foresti & Suardi 8 (Monavoci (I)/Cirilli (E)) 3m 04.68s
6. Victory 7 (Bin Hindi (UAE)/Al-Suwaidi (UAE)) 3m 08.12s
7. Seveneleven 9 (Giorgi (I)/Nilsen (N)) 3m 33.82s
King of Shaves 50 (Parsonage (GB)/Sheppard(GB)) 2m 56.64s (DISQ)
Spirit of Norway 10 (Gjelsten (N)/Curtis (GB)) 2m 57.32s (DISQ)
Ceramiche Flaminia 2 (Chillocci (I)/Esperto (I))DNF (DISQ)

UIM Class 1 Pole Position Championship
Positions after round 5:
1. Spirit of Norway 70 pts
2. Victory 77 58 pts
3. King of Shaves 53 pts
4. Qatar 96 47 pts
5. Jotun 45 pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 39 pts
7. Victory 7 22 pts
8. Qatar 95 21 pts
9. Seveneleven 17 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: 05/08/2006

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