C1 Mechanical problems prevent Qatar Team from taking UIM Middle East title

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

For immediate release
Saturday, December 2nd, 2006


Technical problems spoil Qatar 96's title challenge;
Spirit of Norway clinches UIM World and Middle East titles

MINA SEYAHI (UAE): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Matteo Nicolini benefited from Pole Position to take the early lead in the Dubai Grand Prix, the final round of this year’s UIM Class 1 World and Middle East Powerboat Championships, but technical problems duly slowed the Qatar 96 boat, which had been running at the head of the field for several laps.

On the first official day of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006, the Qatar Team leader was ultimately unable to add the UIM Class 1 Middle East Powerboat Championship title to last year's UIM Class 1 European Championship. The Middle East series victory eventually fell to Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis in Spirit of Norway, who also celebrated yet another World Championship title, edging out Victory 77 rivals Mohammed Al-Marri and Jean-Marc Sanchez in a gripping finale to another exciting season of Class 1 racing.

After Qatar 96 hit mechanical problems, Spirit of Norway took up the initiative to edge ahead of arch title rivals Victory 77, with the Norwegian Jotun boat and the Qatar 95 crew of Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase running in third and fourth places. Qatar 95 began the race in second place behind their Qatar Team colleagues, as they desperately tried to stay in contact with Spirit of Norway and conserve their fading chances of taking a maiden UIM Middle East title. They ultimately finished fourth.

The Qatar Team eventualy just missed out on the regional championship, with Qatar 96 taking third place, while Qatar 95 sealed third in the UIM World Championship to add to their fourth place in the Middle East series. Over the closing laps Qatar 96 struggled to the finish of the Dubai Grand Prix in seventh place, as Spirit of Norway confirmed the regional and world titles.

“We made a great start and proved again that we are the quickest boat on the water.~ said Sheikh Hassan, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). ~But it was not meant to be. We have made huge progress over the last few races and can look ahead to next year with great enthusiasm. Abdullah has driven superbly in the last few races and achieved a glorious win in Doha earlier this season. It is disappointing to lose the championship, but that is racing.~

In Saturday morning’s final practice session, Spirit of Norway ran for two laps and posted a fastest time of 2m 33.48s, just over a second quicker than an ever-improving Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Qatar 95. Sheikh Hassan was the third quickest of the eight boats that took to the water with a time of 2m 35.09s.

Dubai Grand Prix – results (unofficial):
1. Spirit of Norway 10 (Gjelsten (N)/Curtis (GB))
2. Victory 77 (Al-Marri (UAE)/Sanchez (F))
3. Jotun 90 (Tandberg N)/Zaborowski (N))
4. Qatar 95 (Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Di Biase (I)),
5. Victory 7 (Bin Hindi (UAE)/Al-Suwaidi (UAE))
7. Qatar 96 (Al-Thani (QA)/Nicolini (I)), 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: 02/12/2006

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