C1 Second place for Qatar 96 sets up Middle East title dream in the UAE

Mina Seyahi Grand Prix - round 7 of 8
UIM Class 1 Middle East Championship – round 3 of 4

For immediate release
Saturday, November 25th, 2006


Penalty lap costs Qatar 96 potential victory in Mina Seyahi GP;
Victory 77 takes crucial GP win to boost title hopes; third for Qatar 95

MINA SEYAHI (UAE): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian team mate Matteo Nicolini finished second overall in today’s Mina Seyahi Grand Prix, the seventh round of the 2006 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.

Victory in the first of the two back-to-back UAE Class 1 races fell to the UAE’s Mohammed Al-Marri and Frenchman Jean-Marc Sanchez in Victory 77. They will now take the outcome of this year’s World Championship into what promises to be a thrilling final Dubai Grand Prix next Saturday off the coast of the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC). Arch rivals Spirit of Norway stopped near the finish of the race with technical problems.

“This result has given a major boost to our goal of winning the Middle East title for the first time,” said Sheikh Hassan. “Both Abdullah and I scored valuable points and that means we will be in a very strong position at the start of next weekend’s race. I had a very tight line into the buoy and the penalty was the result of maybe being a little too clever.”

Sheikh Hassan started the race on Pole Position after a superb qualifying lap on Friday. He was again the class of the field in the morning’s practice session and was the early leader in the race, before falling back to second overall when the Michael Peters-designed boat was awarded a penalty lap for striking a buoy. Second place was sufficient, however, to extend his overall lead in the UIM Class 1 Middle East Championship with one round remaining.

Qatar 96’s delay handed the advantage to Spirit of Norway, with arch rivals Victory 77 in close attention, Mohammed Al-Marri and Jean-Marc Sanchez desperate to beat the Anglo-Norwegian crew in a bid to keep their 2006 world title hopes alive.

Long lap strategies were crucial on the day, as the race developed into a three-way contest between Spirit of Norway, Qatar 96 and Victory 77. The Dubai team were the last to take a long lap, as Spirit of Norway headed into the final six tours with the title seemingly in the bag, only to stop near the end in fifth place and suffer the agony of seeing their closest rivals take the Grand Prix win.

Doha-based Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase came into this penultimate round of the 2007 UIM Class 1 championship in third position in the Middle East series. The winners of May’s Middle East Grand Prix in Doha lined up fourth this morning in Qatar 95.

They ran several consistent laps in today’s race to take the final podium place, with Chris Parsonage and James Sheppard in fourth place on their return in the rebuilt King of Shaves hull. Qatar 95 moves further into contention for the UIM Class 1 Middle East title and will shadow team mates Qatar 96 into the final round.

In Saturday morning’s final official practice session, Sheikh Hassan and Nicolini were the class of the field, setting the fastest time of 2m 36.04s on their first of two laps. Spirit of Norway was the only other boat to post a time under 2m 40s, setting a distant 2m 39.43s on their opening lap. Al-Sulaiti and Di Biase ran for one lap, posting a time of 2m 48.42s.

Mina Seyahi Grand Prix – results (unofficial)
1. Victory 77 (Al-Marri (UAE)/Sanchez (F))
2. Qatar 96 (Al-Thani (QA)/Nicolini (I))
3. Qatar 95 (Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Di Biase (I))
4. King of Shaves 50 (Parsonage (GB)/Sheppard(GB)), etc


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: 25/11/2006

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