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C1 Qatar Team looks ahead to two Norwegian races with optimism

Attention: Sports Editors
2007 WPPA CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Latest news from the Qatar Team

For immediate release
Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

QATAR CLASS 1 TEAM LOOKS AHEAD TO
TWO NORWEGIAN RACES WITH OPTIMISM

Qatar Team pleased with technical improvements to 95 and 96;
Sheikh Hassan set to make his 30th Class 1 Grand Prix start in Norway

DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Team are counting the days before His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Doha-based team mate Abdullah Al-Sulaiti return to competitive WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship racing action in Norway in less than three weeks time.

The pair finished third and fourth overall in the Greek series opener last month, with their respective Italian throttlemen Matteo and Luca Nicolini, and are relishing the prospect of adding to their championship points' tallies in Arendal on Sunday, July 22nd.

~The first race was okay for the Qatar Team,~ said Sheikh Hassan, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), who will be tackling his 30th Grand Prix in Arendal since emerging as a future Class 1 star back in 2003. He finished fourth at the same Norwegian venue in 2006 after steering problems.

~We had some problems with performance in Greece and I know that we didn't get the most out of either Qatar 95 or Qatar 96. We were not able to practice as we wanted to and that unfortunate situation didn't help our pre-race preparations at all. Matteo and I knew we were short in propeller size and we could not take delivery of new propellers in time. But the change in race course direction and the continuous delays were also major factors in giving us enough time to come up with alternative solutions for the Greek race.~

Sheikh Hassan was the 2005 Class 1 European Champion and has a good track record in Scandinavia: he took both his Class 1 GP victories to date in Norway - in Oslo in 2004 and Trondheim in 2005 - and is confident that Qatar 96 will be up to speed in Arendal.

~Greece is now confined to the history books and we are already planning for Norway. Last year was disappointing for us and Arendal was not good at all, but I do believe that we will be arriving with a good package for Norway and we can create a big fan base there.~

The Qatar Team hopes to be completely up to speed in time for the second of the Norway races in Oslo and the third Grand Prix of the season in mid-August. ~I hope that the new package will be up and running for race three. Of course we will conduct some tests if time permits before Oslo to make sure that the reliability factors are in place with the new package. The last thing we can afford is an unreliable engine on the water.~

Sheikh Hassan admits that there will be no time to test before the Arendal race and the team will maintain the same engine packages for both boats - with Qatar 95 running V8s and Qatar 96 set to be powered by the Skema V12s. ~There were no major problems for Abdullah and Luca in Qatar 95 and, towards the final laps of the race, 95 was getting up to speed. We finally reached the pojnt where minor problems were resolved and they should be alright for the next race.~

Qatar's lead driver admits that two of Qatar 96's main rivals - Jotun and Spirit of Norway - had problems in Greece and he is fully aware that they will be aiming to bounce back with a vengeance in Norway. ~They will be very hard to compete with in Arendal. Jotun was the winner at the same venue last year and they will be fired up for race weekend. Both the Victory boats were very fast and they surprised everyone. But I do believe that the next race will not be an easy win for them by any means.~

The Qatar Team's goal is to be leading the championship by race three and Sheikh Hassan knows that means taking a podium finish in the first Norway race. He already has 10 podium finishes to his name. ~I am looking forward to the new Pole Position concept, which we will use for the first time in Norway. It makes it more challenging and more exciting for competitors and spectators. I'm looking forward to the next two races immensely.~

2007 WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship - positions after round 1:

1. Arif Said Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 77 20 pts
2. Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 7 15 pts
3. Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96 12 pts
4. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I) Qatar 95 9 pts
5. Bjorn Rune Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Norway 10 7 pts
6. Tomaso Polli (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I) SeveneleveN 18 5 pts
Christian Zaborowski (N)/Jorn Tandberg (N) Jotun 90 0 pts
Bard Eker (N)/Chris Parsonage (GB) Negotiator 50 0 pts
Enrico Ceriale (I)/Maurizio Ceschin (I) Overwave 11 0 pts
Tom Barry-Cotter (AUS)/Pal Virik Nilsen (N) Spirit of Norway 20 0 pts
Domenico Cirilli (E)/Giampaolo Montavoci (I) Foresti & Suardi 8 0 pts

Ends

For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).

www.class-1.com
www.qmsf.org

Date issued: 04/07/2007

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