Sheikh Hassan heads to Norway for Scandinavian Class 1 GP

For immediate release
Wednesday, August 6th, 2003


Qatari hopes to build on sixth place in British GP

OSLO (Norway): Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, returns to active competition in the Superfund Class 1 World Power Boat Championship, when he tackles the Color Line Scandinavian Grand Prix, this Sunday (August 10th), in Oslo.

Hassan, 35, made his racing debut in the Gervas Property British Grand Prix - the third round of the world series - two weeks ago and finished in an excellent sixth position, despite difficult weather conditions off the coast of Plymouth Hoe.

He again teams up with the Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini - the 1997 Class Two World Champion - this weekend and the pair will race the Damas boat, which they have again rented for this remaining European race of the series.

~The race off Plymouth was difficult and not the best place to start your Class 1 racing career,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~It was my first time racing on a rough sea. Our boat is one of the oldest in the championship and it is heavy, so we felt every wave. It also lacks the power of the top runners and is more difficult to control.~

Sheikh Hassan will take delivery of his new Victory-built boat in time for the final three races of the season in the Middle East in October and December, but reckons that the experience he is gaining now will stand him in good stead for the rest of the season.

~It will definitely make our lives easier when we get the new boat,~ he added. ~I have not been to this race in Norway before, but I understand that the race course is similar to previous years. We need to have the right selection of propellers to give the boat a higher top speed. We struggled to match the top speeds of the leaders in Plymouth and this should help us to close the time gap on the leaders in Norway.~

The final European race had been scheduled for Austria in September, but this event has now been cancelled and championship officials are currently looking for a replacement.

~I really hope that they can find another race,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~It is disappointing news. I need as much seating time inside a boat in race conditions as possible before the Qatar races. Solo training sessions are useful, but they are never the same as a real racing environment.~

The Superfund Class 1 World Power Boat Championship is currently led by the Spirit of Norway team with 55 points. They have a 16-point advantage over Maritimo after winning the opening two races of the series.

Dubai's Victory 7 lies third overall, a mere four points further adrift, with Highlander and Victory 77 completing the top five.

Held on the steely blue waters of Oslo Fjord, the teams will compete over 17, 6.1Nm laps with the course bringing them at speed into the heart of Norway's capital for one of two sweeping 180 degree turns.


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Date issued: 06/08/2003

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