C1 Fourth and fifth places for Qatar Team in qualifying for Greek Gfrand Prix

Greek Grand Prix, Palaio Faliro-Athens - June 9th-10th, round 1 of 8

For immediate release
Saturday, June 9th, 2007


Zaborowski and Tandberg set to start on pole in Jotun;
WPPA organisers announce new format for Edox Pole Position

PALAIO FALIRO (Greece): The Qatar Team will start Sunday's Greek Grand Prix in fourth and fifth positions after the first Edox Pole Position competition of the new WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship season was replaced by a 90-minute practice session to determine race starting positions at Palaio-Faliro in Athens on Saturday afternoon.

His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini finished fourth after the delayed session at the helm of the Skema V12-powered Qatar 96 hull. Team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini will start the opening race of the year in fifth position in the V8-engined Qatar 95. The fastest time of the session fell to Christian Zaborowski and Jorn Tandberg in the Norwegian Jotun boat.

This year's Edox Pole Position has taken on a new format and this will be used on subsequent races. All teams will be permitted to run for three laps during a 40-minute qualifying stint in a bid to record a fast time. The top five then qualify for a 25-minute shoot-out, similar to the system used in the F1 World Championship, with the other boats filling positions six to 11 on the grid.

Teams will be permitted to return to the pits during the first stint to make any necessary changes. Race officials have also introduced a 10-minute break between the two sessions to enable crews to work on minor adjustments to the boats before the final five-boat shoot-out.

In Greece, however, teams were not able to benefit from the new format. The Edox Pole Position was effectively cancelled and times from an open 90-minute practice session were used to calculate the starting order for Sunday's race.

~This new format for the Pole will be fantastic,~ enthused Sheikh Hassan, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). ~It makes it more exciting for spectators, but also places more emphasis on getting into the top five and ensuring that you have a good set-up. The option to make adjustments to the boats during the session is also a good idea. Pole will be very interesting this season.~

Nicolini admitted that he and Sheikh Hassan would have preferred Saturday morning's practice session to find the correct set-up for the Pole competition, but a further test of the boat was not possible. The stint was cancelled by Greek authorities on safety grounds and this afternoon's practice session replaced the Edox Pole Position.

The Qatar Team took to the water for the first time in Greece on Friday afternoon during the first permitted practice session. Spirit of Norway topped the lap times with a clinical single lap of 2m 33.73s, while Qatar 96 and Qatar 95 were fifth and eighth. Sheikh Hassan and Nicolini used the time to familiarise themselves with the V12 engines and set a best time of 2m 35.93s during their two-lap stint. Qatar 95 had a troubled single lap of 3m 05.35s to take eighth.

The WPPA Class 1 fraternity are using the multi-million dollar Flisvos Marina this weekend in Palaio Faliro. This luxury facility was built as the Olympic Marina for the 2004 Olympic Games.

Competitive action on Sunday begins with an official practice session from noon. The Greek Grand Prix will fire into life at the later time of 17.00hrs over 21 laps of a new course and a total distance of 96.63Nm. This consists of a 4.81Nm start lap, 18 runs across the 4.54Nm course and two long laps of 5.05Nm.

2007 WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship
Greek Grand Prix - qualifying order (unofficial)

1. Christian Zaborowski (N)/Jorn Tandberg (N) Jotun 90
2. Bjorn Rune Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Norway 10
2. Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 7
4. Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96
5. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I) Qatar 95
6. Bard Eker (N)/Chris Parsonage (GB) Negotiator 50, 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: 09/06/2007

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