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C1 Fourth and fifth places for Qatar Team in Edox Pole Position qualifying in Oslo

Attention: Sports Editors
2007 WPPA CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Scandinavian Grand Prix, August 11th-12th, 2007, round 3 of 8

For immediate release
Saturday, August 11th, 2007

QATAR TEAM SET TO START SCANDINAVIAN
GRAND PRIX IN FOURTH AND FIFTH POSITIONS

Edox Pole Position victory for Spirit of Norway;
Qatar Team pleased with V8 engine improvements in Qatar 95

DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini will start Sunday's Oslo-based Scandinavian Grand Prix, round three of the WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, in fourth position after Saturday afternoon's Edox Pole Position competition.

Team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini were fifth quickest in the Mercury Class 1 V8-engined Qatar 95, although the fastest time and the advantage of Pole for Sunday's race fell to Bjorn Rune Gjelsten and Steve Curtis in Spirit of Norway. They duly extended their Pole Championship lead to 13 points over both Victory 7 and Victory 77.

The Edox Pole competition was cancelled in Greece, but Spirit of Norway headed into the Oslo meeting with a slender five-point lead over the overall championship-leading Victory 77 crew of Arif Said Al-Zakeen and Jean-Marc Sanchez, with Qatar 96 and Qatar 95 in fourth and fifth positions.

Spirit of Norway, Victory 77, Victory 7 and the two Qatar Team boats made it through to the crucial five-boat shoot-out, with Tom Barry-Cotter and Pal-Virik Nilsen forced to settle for sixth place in the second Spirit of Norway boat. The number eight Foresti & Suardi boat and Jotun were seventh and eighth, although there was more disappointment for Chris Parsonage and his Negotiator concern.

Spirit posted an unbeatable lap time in the shoot-out to confirm a second successive Pole win, but both Sheikh Hassan and Abdulah Al-Sulaiti fulfilled the major objective of starting Sunday's Grand Prix from the front row of the grid in Qatar 96 and Qatar 95.

~The weather conditions were very tricky this morning during the final practice,~ said Sheikh Hassan. ~It was raining and visibility was very poor. It was not easy to calculate the best turning points in the corners. With the new Pole Position system of two rows of five boats, it was crucial that we qualified for the five-boat shoot-out. The weather conditions were crucial. The water was calm, but it was all about visibility and making sure we didn't make a mistake.~

In Friday afternoon's first official practice session, Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis set the fastest lap of 2m 31.82s on their last of four laps, although Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini were satisfied with the second quickest time of 2m 34.98s on their second tour. Series leaders Victory 77 were third, while Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini showed a marked improvement on the pace they had in Arendal recently with a fifth fastest lap of 2m 39.11s on their last of five laps.

~This was better than Arendal, but we still need to do some work,~ said Doha-based Al-Sulaiti, who is tackling his 16th Class 1 Grand Prix this weekend. ~We have worked hard on improving the engine and now we must work on the set-up. It has taken time to get the Mercury Class 1 working with the 68mm air restrictor ruling to find the performance to match the V12s. Hopefully this weekend we will achieve this.~

Saturday morning's practice session heralded a fastest time for Victory 77, with the UAE crew posting a fastest lap of 2m 33.06s, 2.37 seconds quicker than Spirit of Norway. Both the Qatar boats were again on the pace, with Sheikh Hassan running for a solitary lap of 2m 36.50s to take the third quickest time and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti setting a time of 2m 41.78s on the second of his four tours in Qatar 95 to earn fourth.

~The team have worked hard with the V8s,~ added Sheikh Hassan. ~We have made some minor improvements to the engines and Abdullah and Luca now have more torque. It's just a matter now of finding a good propeller setting and choosing the correct gear ratios.~

Sunday's Scandinavian Grand Prix fires into life at 14.30 hrs (15.30 hrs Doha time) on Sunday afternoon in Oslo. Ahead of the 11 boats will be a total race distance of 98.02Nm on Oslo fjord, comprising a start lap of 4.22 Nm, 18 laps of 4.68Nm and two compulsory long laps.

2007 Scandinavian Grand Prix - Edox Pole Position results (unofficial):
1. Bjorn Rune Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Norway 10 2m 30s
2. Talib Al-Saeed (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 7 2m 32s
3. Arif Said Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F)Victory 77 2m 35s
4. Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96 2m 37s
5. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I) Qatar 95 2m 41s, etc

2007 Edox Pole Position Championship - latest positions:
1. Bjorn Rune Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Norway 10 40 pts
2. Arif Said Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 77 27 pts
2. Ahmed Al-Suwaidi/Talib Al-Saeed (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 7 27 pts
4. Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96 18 pts
5. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I) Qatar 95 12 pts, etc

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: 11/08/2007

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