C1 Qatar Class 1 team head to Romania for Euro title showdown
2007 WPPA CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Romanian Grand Prix, August 31st-September 2nd, 2007, round 4 of 8
For immediate release
Monday, August 27th, 2007
QATAR CLASS 1 TEAM HEAD TO CONSTANTA FOR
CRUCIAL BLACK SEA POWERBOAT SHOWDOWN
Sheikh Hassan eyes Euro title as Abdullah Al-Sulaiti continues V8 development;
New Romanian venue set to decide outcome of 2007 WPPA European Championship
DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, team mate Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and members of the Qatar Class 1 World Powerboat Championship team arrive at the Black Sea resort of Constanta in Romania this week to prepare for the Romanian Grand Prix, round four of this year's WPPA series, which takes place on Sunday afternoon (September 2nd).
Sheikh Hassan and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini know full well that they must comfortably beat championship leaders Victory 77 over the brand new Class 1 course to stand any chance of clinching a second European title in the space of three years. There are 20 points at stake for an outright win in Romania and the Qatar 96 crew currently lie second in the championship and 15 points adrift of the UAE-based team. A win would mean that Arif Said Al-Zafeen and Jean-Marc Sanchez would have to score less than four points or not finish for the Qatar Team to secure the title.
"The European Championship is still wide open, even though there are 15 points between us and Victory 77," admitted Sheikh Hassan. "It will not be easy, but it will only take Victory 77 to stop during the race for us to potentially take the title. It's hard to work out the mathematical permutations, but it promises to be an exciting weekend."
Sheikh Hassan and the Qatar Team have never raced in Constanta before, but the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation admits that the Black Sea course looks likely to be a fast one. "It could be fairly easy to work with, but that is only on paper and we need to take to the water on Friday and see the real course before we can judge things accurately. The Black Sea venue is totally new for me and I am looking forward to the challenge. It's always a welcome sight to see new venues given the opportunity to get on board with the Class 1 calendar. This will add value to the sport in the future."
The Qatar 96 crew and team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini in Qatar 95 arrive in Romania with a superb chance of adding to their points' tallies in the overall WPPA World Championship before the series moves to Egypt, Qatar and the UAE for the final four rounds later in the year. The two crews lie second and fifth in the title race, although seven crews still have a chance of lifting the main title in Dubai in December.
The Qatar Team have been working on engine performance with Qatar 95's Mercury Class 1 V8s and Sheikh Hassan's Skema V12s. Both Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini have been developing the V8s and there were some improvements in Oslo recently. "We hope that we can convince WPPA to increase the air restrictor size on the V8s, because it has been shown that there is no parity between the V8 and the current highly-tuned V12," said a team spokesman.
While Sheikh Hassan attempts to overhaul Victory 77 for the European title, the Spirit of Norway crew of Bjorn Rune Gjelsten and Steve Curtis have leapt back into championship contention after a lacklustre opening two races. "I think that Spirit will be just as aggressive in Romania as they were in Oslo. I feel sure that they found the problem they encountered on the first two rounds and now they are on track. That will open up this championship right to the final round in December."
The Qatar Team will work on a strategy for the Romanian race, but Sheikh Hassan knows that a good start is crucial. "The start put Victory 77 into the position they are in now. They were behind Spirit of Norway on the first two rounds and got the opportunity to take the lead when Spirit stopped. I guess they were in the right place at the right time and that gave them the chance to create a gap and run in clear water for some time."
WPPA officials have introduced a new Edox Pole qualifying system this season, although Sheikh Hassan admits that improvements can still be made. "The Pole Position can be better. We have been experimenting with the new concept, but I feel it will only work when we get the spectators involved by having the pits and commentator close by to explain to the crowds what is going on."
Constanta (pronounced kon'stan.tsa) is the largest port city in Romania and has a population of around 500,000. It is the largest city in the region of Dobruj and the capital of Constanta County. The area is one of Romania's premier tourist resorts, while local industry includes tanning and the manufacture of petroleum drums.
The weekend's activities get underway on Friday, August 31st with technical scrutineering and registration from 09.00 hrs. This will be followed by the first official practice session between 13.00 hrs and 15.00 hrs, prior to the boars being paraded at the nearby Cazino Marnaia.
Saturday morning's high-speed action resumes with the second official practice stint from 11.00 hrs, before the crucial Edox Pole Position starts at 15.00 hrs (local time). There is a third official practice session on Sunday morning (September 2nd) before the Romanian Grand Prix fires into life at 15.00 hrs.
2007 WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship - positions after round 3:
1. Arif Said Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 77 58 pts
2. Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96 43 pts
3. Talib Al-Sayed (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 7 40 pts
4. Bjorn Rune Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB) Spirit of Norway 10 36 pts
5. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I) Qatar 95 20 pts
6. Marco Pennesi (I)/Giampaolo Montavoci (I) Foresti & Suardi 8 17 pts
7. Tom Barry-Cotter (AUS)/Pal Virik Nilsen (N) Spirit of Norway 20 16 pts
8. Tomaso Polli (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I) SeveneleveN 18 8 pts
9. Bard Eker (N)/Chris Parsonage (GB) Negotiator 50 4 pts
10. Domeninco Cirilli (E)/Kurt Olsen (N) Veneta Marina Foresti & Suardi 2 4 pts
Jorn Tandberg (N)/Christian Zaborowski (N) Jotun 90 0 pt
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. Talib Al-Sayed(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
6. Jorn Tandberg (N)/Christian Zaborowski (N) Jotun 90 10 pts
7. Tom Barry-Cotter (AUS)/Pal Virik Nilsen (N) Spirit of Norway 20 9 pts
8. Marco Pennesi (I)/Giampaolo Montavoci (I) Foresti & Suardi 8 7 pts
9. Tomaso Polli (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I) SeveneleveN 18 3 pts
10. Domeninco Cirilli (E)/Kurt Olsen (N) Veneta Marina Foresti & Suardi 2 2 pts
Bard Eker (N)/Chris Parsonage (GB) Negotiator 50 0 pt
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).