C1 Slovenian Grand Prix presents new challenge for Qatar Team
UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Slovenian Grand Prix, round 6 - Sunday, September 3rd, 2006
For immediate release
Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006
QATAR'S TEAM VOWS ALL-OUT ATTACK
IN FORTHCOMING GRAND PRIX IN SLOVENIA
New strategy for outgoing Class 1 European Champions
DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini may not be able to retain their UIM Class 1 European Championship title, following the disappointing cancellation of round seven of the series in Cannes in October, but they have a positive strategy in place for the sixth round of the series in Slovenia in 13 days time.
~Basically we have to win the race in Slovenia to stand a really good chance of winning the world title,~ said a determined Sheikh Hassan. ~There are still 60 points available for the Slovenian race and the two final races in Dubai in the winter and we have a great chance. No one can predict what may happen to the other teams on the final three races, so we will do our best to win and ensure that we are at least in the top three at the end of the season.~
Sheikh Hassan's Qatar team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase have been a revelation this season in the Mercury-engined Qatar 95 and followed up their Middle East Grand Prix win in Doha with second overall in Plymouth earlier this month. ~Abdullah is getting better each race and we are making improvements on his boat before Slovenia, so he can be even more competitive. His relationship with Lino is getting better all the time and that is the answer to a good crew understanding inside the boat.~
Neither the Qatar 96 nor the Qatar 95 crew plan to test before the Grand Prix in the tourist resort of Portorose on the Slovenian Mediterranean coast on Sunday week, but Sheikh Hassan knows the importance of good preparations during the official practice sessions on Friday and Saturday.
~Slovenia is new to all of us, so it will be another venue where we will be testing propellers and gears for the course next Friday and Saturday morning. It looks a nice venue and I am just hoping that we don't get rough waters like we had in Spain.~
The cancellation of the race in Cannes and the failure to replace it with a potential Grand Prix in Monaco means that Qatar 96 can no longer retain the UIM Class 1 European crown that Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini clinched in Trondheim last year. ~It's disappointing, but it was very late in the day and there is nothing we can do about it and there is no time to find a replacement venue this year. Now we must concentrate on the World and Middle East Championships.~
~We were leading the last race in Plymouth and our retirement gave Victory 77 a great position that they held and went on to win. We were ahead by a good margin and pulling away, so I do believe that we had the best boat in that race and the best set-up. There is every reason to think that we can repeat that performance in Slovenia next weekend.~
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