Austrian power boat challenge for Sheikh Hassan and Damas


For immediate release
Tuesday, September 9th, 2003


Damas team looks to end European race programme in style

TRAUNSEE (Austria): Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, heads for Traunsee in Austria this weekend keen to end his programme of three European rounds of the Superfund Class 1 World Power Boat Championship in fine style.

The Qatari is now part of the newly-formed Qatar 96 Team and rented the Victory Team-built Damas boat for the final three European races of the calendar in England, Norway and Austria before the Class 1 series switches to the Middle East for the final three races in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

~The first two races were a steep learning curve for me,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~The weather conditions for my first race off the coast of Plymouth were particularly tricky. But I managed to finish in sixth place.

~We made some fine adjustments to the propeller settings for the second race off the coast of Oslo and the weather was much better. It was a difficult race, but I again managed to finish in sixth position.~

Hassan, 35, again teams up with the Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini - the 1997 Class Two World Champion - this weekend for their last race in Damas before the Qatari takes delivery of a new Michael Peters-designed Victory boat in time for the sixth round of the series in Qatar in October. Nicolini has a duel role and is also the Qatar Offshore Team Manager.

~I am so looking forward to getting my hands on the new boat,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~I should have made the switch before. We have a full service package from Victory. This is probably the best set-up we could have anywhere.~

Damas is powered by a pair of 8.2-litre, V12 Lamborghini petrol engines. But Sheikh Hassan stands to profit from Victory Team's extensive experience in Class One racing when he makes the switch to the new boat.

The Dubai-based business is involved in the technological progression of safety cells, escape tunnel hatches, suspension seats, telemetry and data reception, lifting rudder systems and dry sump development for marine Lamborghini engines.

The Spirit of Norway entry of Norwegian Bjorn Gjelsten and Britain's Steve Curtis has dominated the Superfund Class One World Power Boat Championship this year by winning three of the four races thus far. The pair have a 32-point lead over both Highlander and Maritimo in the championship.

This trio again faces competition in Austria from Dubai's Victory 7 and Victory 77 boats, Sheikh Hassan's Damas boat and the ever-improving Jotun team. Qatar's first ever entry into powerboat racing was in 2002, when a team of three Qatari drivers reached third overall in the Formula 2000 Championship.


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Date issued: 09/09/2003

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