C1 Qatar Class 1 Team upbeat after shakedown tests in Europe
2007 WPPA CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Latest news from the Qatar Team
For immediate release
Thursday, May 31st, 2007
QATAR TEAM UPBEAT AFTER POSITIVE
CLASS 1 SHAKEDOWN TESTS IN EUROPE
Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani to start season with V12 power;
Minor improvements made to both Qatar boats for start of new season
DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Team have carried out crucial shakedown tests with the Qatar 95 and Qatar 96 boats that His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani hopes will propel the Doha-based operation to success in this year's WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship. The season gets underway with the Greek Grand Prix at Palaio Faliro-Athens on Sunday, June 10th.
~We have carried out tests with both boats and the engines are okay,~ admitted Sheikh Hassan, who is also the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). ~We have decided that Qatar 95 will run with V8 engines at the start of the season and 96 will run the V12s. The performance of 96 is acceptable, because we have made a lot of changes compared to the V8s we used last season. The entire team has been satisfied by the test results and we can look forward to the first race. Only when we are 100% comfortable with the development of the V8 will Matteo (Nicolini) and I switch back to them.~
Sheikh Hassan admits the Qatar 95 crew of Doha-based Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Italian throttleman Luca Nicolini will benefit from a new air scoop design on the V8-engined Qatar 95. ~We were not blessed with the best of weather conditions during our last test session. Air temperatures were quite high and there was a lot of humidity in the air. But, when we compare the same test results with previous tests carried out on the same lake with different air temperatures, we are happy with the results.~
While the Qatar Team knows that the new eight-round Class 1 season is sure to throw up many new challenges, Sheikh Hassan is relishing the opportunity to tackle a new race venue in Greece against established Class 1 stars and newcomers to the sport. ~The first race, as in any sport, will give us a clear pointer as to who the challenges may come from this season and what we have to work on to improve our position.
~I believe new faces in the sport is a very healthy signal. It will make the racing more interesting and we will see how quickly a newcomer gets up to speed and challenges for the podium. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen, the new driver of Victory 77, has an excellent history in races in the UAE. We welcome all new drivers to the Class 1 family.
~I know that Chris Parsonage and Bard Eker will be running a V8 configuration and we don't know how that boat will perform with the new power. Our main rivals in the last couple of seasons have been Spirit of Norway, but Steve Curtis and Bjorn Gjelsten are running V12s, so there are no changes there and we are back with the V12s in any case. Beating them is a must, there is no option there. As always we will enter races to try and finish on the podium and not to run behind the rest of the fleet.~
Sheikh Hassan admits that there will be no time in Greece for Mohammed Al-Nasser to further his experience in Class 1 racing. ~We have two engine configurations and we need to work as hard as possible on our strategy, before we give him more opportunities at future race venues.
~I feel that one of the strengths of the Qatar Team has been the development programme we have with equipment during the season. You can see from the results we achieved last season and the improvements in the last three races and how fast the boats were. I believe that we will be up there at the front this season fighting for the championship title.~
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