C1 Qatar Team set to start Norwegian Grand Prix in fourth and sixth places

Norwegian Grand Prix, Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

For immediate release
Saturday, July 21st, 2007


Fourth-placed Sheikh Hassan aiming for the podium on Sunday;
Edox Pole Position victory falls to Curtis and Gjelsten in Spirit of Norway

ARENDAL (Norway): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Qatar team mate Abdullah Al-Sulaiti will start Sunday's Norwegian Grand Prix in unofficial fourth and sixth positions after Saturday afternoon's Edox Pole Position competition on a tricky fjord course at Arendal in southern Norway.

The first of two Norwegian races in the space of four weeks is the second round of a new-look 2007 WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship. Thousands of spectators lined the banks of the course and the harbour area in Arendal, proving the increasing popularity of Class One racing in Norway.

Norway's Bjorn Rune Gjelsten and British team mate Steve Curtis will start Sunday's race in Pole Position at the helm of Spirit of Norway after winning the five-boat shoot-out from Victory 77, Victory 7 and Qatar 96. The Norwegian Jotun boat stopped during the shoot-out.

Victory 77 set the pace in the first Edox Pole Position qualifying stint and was the only boat to break the 4m 48s barrier. Spirit of Norway posted the second fastest time of 4m 48.75, with Qatar 96 in third and Victory 7 and Jotun completing the top five to go forward to the final shoot-out. Qatar 95 recorded a time of 5m 04s and will start the race on the second row.

Sheikh Hassan is taking part in his 30th Class I race meeting alongside his experienced Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini, himself a veteran of 78 previous Class 1 races. Al-Sulaiti is set to start his 15th race on Sunday in Qatar 95, with throttleman Luca Nicolini, with whom he teamed up for the first time in Greece at the start of last month.

~The weather was always going to be the crucial factor during the Pole Position on Saturday afternoon,~ admitted Sheikh Hassan. ~It deteriorated during the morning and it started to rain. The sea was quite rough and we had to take a calculated decision on the set-up for the boat to get the weight right to compensate for the heavy seas. I was quite happy with our times this morning. Spirit of Norway set the target, but we were up there and in contention.

~I was quite happy with the way we performed during the first practice session on Friday,~ admitted Sheikh Hassan. ~But Abdullah and Luca still have to get their set-up right. There is still work to do to get the maximum power from the Mercury V8 engines.~

Qatar 96 finished third in Saturday morning's official practice session, with Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini posting a second lap of 4m 49.48s. Spirit of Norway was fastest in 4m 46.10s, with Victory 77 in second place a mere 0.38s adrift. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini were down in eighth place with a solitary lap of 5m 14.73s.

The President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) admits that Arendal - hosting a Class 1 race for the 10th year - is the most popular venue on the Class 1 racing calendar. ~There is a fantastic atmosphere here over race weekend,~ added Sheikh Hassan. ~You really are treated like a Formula One racing driver. People are so friendly and welcoming. We just need the sun to shine now for the Grand Prix on Sunday...~

Tomorrow (Sunday) teams will be permitted an official practice before the Norwegian Grand Prix gets underway at 14.30hrs over 12 laps of the Arendal course and a total distance of 95.72Nm.

2007 WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship - Edox Pole Position results (unofficial - round 2)

1. Bjorn Rune Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Norway 10
2. Arif Said Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 77
3. Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 7
4. Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96
5. Christian Zaborowski (N)/Jorn Tandberg (N) Jotun 90
6. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I) Qatar 95


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: 21/07/2007

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