C1 First and second places for Qatar Team in Pole qualifying for Dubai GP

Dubai Grand Prix, round 8 of 8 – December 2nd, 2006
UIM Class 1 Middle East Championship – round 4 of 4

For immediate release
Friday, December 1st, 2006


Qatar 96 confirms second place in Pole Position Championship;
Spirit of Norway and Victory 77 set for gripping title showdown

MINA SEYAHI (UAE): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini will start the Dubai Grand Prix, the final round of this year’s UIM Class 1 World and Middle East Powerboat Championships, in a superb Pole position for the second successive race. Team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase will start in second place as the two dominant Qatar Team boats go head-to-head in their bid to clinch a maiden UIM Middle East Powerboat title.

Saturday’s race will also decide the outcome of the World Championship and Sheikh Hassan takes the psychological advantage of a better starting position over his Doha-based team mate into the race, courtesy of a fastest time of 2m 27.92s today.

Friday's final Pole Position competition of the UIM Class 1 season was held in good race conditions and the Qatar boats were the class of the field, with Victory 77 set to take a slight advantage over Spirit of Norway into Saturday's race, courtesy of the third fastest time of 2m 31.71s. Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis were fourth, with King of Shaves in fifth and Foresti & Suardi in sixth place.

~That is a great start to the weekend and gives us the perfect platform to build on for tomorrow's race,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~Abdullah will be behind me and we hav a great chance now to win the Middle East title. Spirit and Victory will be watching each other's every move, so that should give us the chance try and pull away. I just need to make no mistakes and keep some tidy and clean lines through the corners.~

Spirit of Norway set the pace in Thursday’s first official practice session with a best time of 2m 39.96s on Gjelsten's and Curtis's only lap. The Qatar 96 and Qatar 95 boats completed one and two laps respectively and Sheikh Hassan was second quickest with a tour of 2m 40.70s. Victory 77 emphasised the Dubai team's potential with a third quickest time of 2m 41.15s, while Qatar 95 lapped in a sixth-best time of 2m 47.98s. Nine of the 10 boats took to the water.

In this morning’s second official practice session both Qatar 96 and Spirit of Norway decided against posting a lap time and Victory 77 claimed the fastest tour of 2m 43.29s. Qatar 95 ran for two laps and was second fastest in 2m 30.42s, with Chris Parsonage and James Sheppard in third place in King of Shaves.

Teams will benefit from one final official practice session on Saturday morning, before the Dubai Grand Prix gets underway at 15.00 hrs (Dubai time). The race will be held over a similar course and race distance to last Saturday's Mina Seyahi Grand Prix, using two strategic long laps, a short starting lap and 18 timed race laps.

Dubai Grand Prix – Pole Position results (unofficial):
1. Qatar 96 (Al-Thani (QA)/Nicolini (I)) 2m 27.92s
2. Qatar 95 (Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Di Biase (I)) 2m 31.39s
3. Victory 77 (Al-Marri (UAE)/Sanchez (F)) 2m 31.71s
4. Spirit of Norway 10 (Gjelsten (N)/Curtis (GB)) 2m 31.76s
5. King of Shaves 50 (Parsonage (GB)/Sheppard(GB)) 2m 32.78s, etc

UIM Class 1 Pole Position Championship
Positions after round 8 of 8:
1. Spirit of Norway 114 pts
2. Qatar 96 102 pts
3. Victory 77 87 pts
4. King of Shaves 67pts, 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: 01/12/2006

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