C1 Qatar 96 set to start Slovenian Grand Prix in second place

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

For immediate release
Saturday, September 2nd, 2006


Al-Sulaiti and Di Biase fifth in Qatar 95;
Fastest time for Spirit of Norway

PORTOROSE (Slovenia): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini and Qatar 95 team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase will start Sunday’s Slovenian Grand Prix, round six of the 2006 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, in second and fifth positions after today’s Pole Position competition on a new course off the coast of Portorose.

The Anglo-Norwegian crew of Steve Curtis and Bjorn Gjelsten took the Pole Position championship-leading Spirit of Norway into Pole Position for Sunday’s race with a fastest time of 2m 42.90s. They now hold a 20-point advantage in the Pole Championship over Victory 77, although Qatar 96 leap frogged into third place.

Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini in Qatar 96 had been the first boat out on to the water and set the target and eventual second-placed time of 2m 44.48s. Victory 77 were third in 2m 45.15s, Jotun took fourth and Qatar 95 posted the fifth fastest lap of 2m 48.34s, albeit 0.34s behind the Norwegian crew.

“I am quite happy with second place today,” said Sheikh Hassan. “The conditions were not that easy and the boat was bouncing around a little, but it was the same for everyone. Now we must try and beat Spirit of Norway to the first corner and make our race strategy work. It is a nice course and it should be an exciting race.”

Officials decided before the start of the weekend’s action to withdraw the controversial new propeller regulations and that enabled teams to revert to last year’s specification.

Spirit of Norway was fastest in the first free practice session on Friday afternoon, posting a 2m 43.71s third lap. Sheikh Hassan and Nicolini took to the water for five laps in Qatar 96 and posted a best lap of 2m 47.96s on their third tour, while team mates Al-Sulaiti and Di Biase carried out a three-lap test with a best time of 2m 48.67s. Victory 77 was the fourth boat to test with a time of 2m 49.78s.

Saturday morning’s second free practice session saw Spirit of Norway post their intention with a clinical fastest lap of 2m 41.31s. Qatar 96 were second quickest in 2m 45.50s.

Tomorrow (Sunday), the first ever Slovenian Grand Prix gets underway at 14.30 hrs (local time) 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.

Slovenian Grand Prix – Pole Position results –
1. Spirit of Norway 10 (Gjelsten (N)/Curtis (GB)) 2m 42.90s
2. Qatar 96 (Al-Thani (QA)/Di Biase (I)) 2m 44.48s
3. Victory 77 (Al-Marri (UAE)/Sanchez (F)) 2m 45.15s
4. Jotun 90 (Tandberg (N)/Zaborowski (N)) 2m 48.00s
5. Qatar 95 (Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Di Biase (I)) 2m 48.34s
6. Victory 7 (Bin Hindi (UAE)/Al-Suwaidi (UAE)) 2m 50.37s

UIM Class 1 Pole Position Championship
Positions after round 6:
1. Spirit of Norway 90 pts
2. Victory 77 70 pts
3. Qatar 96 62 pts
4. Jotun 54 pts
5. King of Shaves 53 pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 43 pts
7. Qatar 95 28 pts
8. Victory 7 27 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: 02/09/2006

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