C1 Qatar Team arrives in Slovenia for Grand Prix challenge

Slovenian Grand Prix, round 6 – Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

For immediate release
Wednesday, August 30th, 2006


Mohammed Al-Nasser relishes new Class 1 test opportunity

PORTOROSE (Slovenia): Qatar Team members His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, Matteo Nicolini, Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase are now in Slovenia making their final preparations for Sunday’s Slovenian Grand Prix, round six of the 2006 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.

Neither the Qatar 95 nor Qatar 96 team members can win the UIM Class 1 European Championship, but Sheikh Hassan is confident that he can win the race outright and record the Qatar Team’s second GP triumph of the season.

“It’s getting very close this season with several boats in with a shout,” said Sheikh Hassan. “Jotun and King of Shaves had lacked the power last year and Jotun was a heavier boat than the rest. But the rules governing new propellers have made the Norwegians very competitive and those who want to use the older-style propellers have a 300 kilogramme weight ballast penalty added to the boats and that is where Jotun has benefited.

“King of Shaves was low on horse power, but with the new rules almost all the boats have the same power range and that’s what makes them competitive. Sadly for them, they will be unable to race this weekend after their Plymouth crash, but will be ready for the final races in Dubai.”

Sheikh Hassan again sees the Victory 77 and Spirit of Norway crews as the main rivals this weekend, with Qatar’s leading 95 boat trailing Spirit by 17 points and second-placed Victory 77 by a mere seven points. “Spirit of Norway has been hit by some bad luck this season and by the new propeller rules, but Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis are an experienced crew and will bounce back.”

The Qatar Team’s reserve driver Mohammed Al-Nasser is also hopeful of a second chance to test a Class 1 boat in Slovenia this weekend. The Doha racer was given his first opportunity alongside Lino Di Biase in Qatar 95 earlier this month in Plymouth.

“We will see and that will depend upon the testing of the two boats on Friday and Saturday,” said Sheikh Hassan. “If we feel that we have the right set-up, then we will allow Mohammed to take a few laps to add to his time in the cockpit. Plymouth was the first real opportunity we had to give him his chance. Norway was tight and the weather conditions were far from ideal in Spain.

“We need to carry out our pre-race tests with full engine power and that is not possible with a new driver. We intend to look at the 2007 line-up at the end of the season and we will assess whether we can have a full-time driver. Mohammed would have to carry out a lot of testing over the winter before he was allowed in the team full-time.”

The Qatar Team has been plagued by engine problems in recent races and it was a supercharger belt failure that cost Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini a potential race victory in Plymouth earlier this month. “We have been in communication with the engine supplier to look at the supercharger belt and the belt tensioner which caused the damage,” admitted Sheikh Hassan. “We are looking at the issue very closely and also working alongside the other teams that are using Mercury engines and faced similar problems to see what is the best long-term solution.”

This weekend’s race will take place off the coast of the Adriatic tourist resort and health centre of Portorose or Port of Roses. The town is situated on the northern side of Piran Bay, mid-way between Venice and Vienna, adjacent to the Italian port of Trieste.

Registration and the first official practice sessions take place on Friday, with the Pole Position competition taking centre stage on Saturday afternoon (September 2nd). The first ever Slovenian Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday afternoon and will be fought out over 19 laps and a race distance of 93.97 Nm. These consist of a start lap of 4.25 Nm, two compulsory 5.50 Nm long laps and 16 standard laps of 4.92 Nm.

2006 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship
Positions after round 5:
1. Spirit of Norway 72 pts
2. Victory 77 62 pts
3. Jotun 59 pts
4. Qatar 95 55 pts
5. Qatar 96 51 pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 44 pts
7. Victory 7 43 pts
8. Ceramiche Flaminia 23 pts
9. King of Shaves 22 pts
10. Seveneleven 12 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: 30/08/2006

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