C1 Qatar Team head to Norway and pledge grand attack in Arendal

Norwegian Grand Prix, Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

For immediate release
Tuesday, July 17th, 2007


QMSF's Sheikh Hassan aims for third Class 1 GP win in Norway;
Qatar 95's Abdullah Al-Sulaiti bids to improve on fourth place in Greece

ARENDAL (Norway): The Qatar Team head to Scandinavia this week to complete final preparations for this Sunday's Norwegian Grand Prix, round two of the 2007 WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.
His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Doha-based team mate Abdullah Al-Sulaiti currently lie third and fourth in the eight-round series after the opening race in Greece, alongside their respective Italian throttlemen, Matteo and Luca Nicolini.

Sheikh Hassan, in particular, is relishing the opportunity to try and take his third Grand Prix victory in Scandinavia and boost the chances of the V8-engined Qatar 96 leading the championship after two rounds. ~I have some great memories of racing in Norway and of taking my two race wins here. It was especially satisfying to have beaten the strong Norwegian teams on their home ground. The win in Oslo is my finest Class 1 moment so far, in stark contrast to the crash in Doha last year.

~I feel sure that the two previous wins in Norway will give the whole team a great lift before this weekend's racing. The venue at Arendal is excellent. Racing in Norway certainly has a different feel. The number of spectators that gather for race weekend make everyone involved in Class 1 feel good about racing there.~

But the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) admits that Arendal is also a tight race course and his 30th GP outing will not be easy. ~It's more like a Formula One race track than a traditional Class 1 course and it's long. It's a difficult course to pass on, as there are very limited areas where it is safe to overtake. I feel that Arendal is more of a test of the driver's skills. It is important to take the right lines and set up the boat with the right balance.~

Both Sheikh Hassan and Qatar 95's Abdullah Al-Sulaiti feel that the Norwegian teams will start as favourites to win on home ground. ~The likes of Spirit of Norway and Jotun (last year's winners) will have the support of the local crowd and it will not be easy to attract that support,~ added Sheikh Hassan. ~Spirit and Jotun are the main threats and the second Spirit boat, number 20, will also be keen to perform well. Both Spirit and Jotun had disappointing races in Greece and need to bounce back this weekend. I feel that we have what it takes to get on the podium though. It will be difficult, but not impossible, to get both Qatar 95 and Qatar 96 on to the podium.~

Teams will benefit from a new Pole Position qualifying format in Norway and Sheikh Hassan has emphasised the importance of being in the top five, because of the narrow nature of the Arendal course. ~If we are forced to start the race from the second row, then it will be much harder to pass and get on to the podium. We need to put both Qatar boats on the podium, because it is important to bag as many points as possible early in the season.~

The weekend's formalities get underway on Friday (July 20th) with technical scrutineering and the first official two-hour practice session on the race course starting at 14.00 hrs. Saturday morning offers teams the chance to carry out official practice between 10.30 hrs and noon, before the Edox Pole Position competition fires into life at 14.30hrs.

The Norwegian Grand Prix takes place on Sunday, July 22nd. Teams will be permitted 90 minutes of official practice from 10.00 hrs and the race gets underway at 14.30hrs over 12 laps of a long course and a total distance of 95.72Nm. The race consists of a 7.55Nm start lap, nine runs across the main 6Nm Arendal course and two long laps of 16.8Nm.


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: 17/07/2007

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