C1 Egyptian podium finish is crucial for Qatar Class 1 team


Egyptian Grand Prix, October 25th-27th, 2007, round 5 of 8


For immediate release

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007





Victory 77 and Spirit of Norway tipped as main rivals to Qatar Team

Qatar 95’s Al-Sulaiti set to benefit from V8 engine improvements in Egypt


PORTO MARINA (Egypt): The Qatar Class 1 World Powerboat Championship team heads to Porto Marina, near El Alamein, in Egypt this weekend to resume the challenge for honours in the WPPA Class 1 series. Pole Position qualifying takes place on Friday, October 26th and the Egyptian Grand Prix will take place on Saturday, October 27th.


The Qatar 96 crew of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini currently lie second overall in the eight-round series, 19 points behind the UAE-based crew of Arif Said Al-Zafeen and Jean-Marc Sanchez in Victory 77. Qatar 95 team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini hold fifth position in their V8-engined boat, but will arrive in Egypt fresh from taking a podium finish in Romania last month.


Sheikh Hassan is also the president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and will be taking part in his 33rd Class 1 race, in a career which has seen him take two GP victories and 13 other podium finishes. Doha-based Al-Sulaiti will be celebrating his 18th Class 1 Grand Prix start in Egypt and last month’s third place in Romania marked his fifth podium finish to date.


“We must finish ahead of Victory 77 in Egypt and make sure we are on the podium,” admitted Sheikh Hassan, who will again benefit from Skema V12 power in Qatar 96. “The Victory 77 crew been very strong throughout the first part of the season, but we showed in Romania that our boat is faster and I do think that we can improve still further. We have reconfigured our boat and set it up for rougher conditions and reworked the handling. Both 95 and 96 have gone through the same set-ups.”


Sheikh Hassan admits that the new Egyptian venue offers an exciting challenge to the Class 1 field. “Everything will be new to us, but it is pleasing that Mohammed Al-Jaidah from the QMSF will be working as the Officer Of The Day. That will help the local organisers understand what is needed and how they should be running their event. The WPPA team will also be on hand to make sure that all rules and procedures are adhered to.”


The Anglo-Norwegian pairing of Steve Curtis and Bjorn Rune Gjelsten started the season badly, but leapt into third place in the championship in Romania, a mere 11 points behind Qatar 96. Sheikh Hassan knows full well that they can never be discounted in the Middle East races. “There are 80 points still available on the table and I don’t think that Spirit will let these disappear without a fight. Spirit will play a major role in deciding the outcome of this championship. They may even be involved in the fight for the title at the final round in Dubai in December.”


The President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation has been surprised by the disappointing performances of both the Jotun and Negotiator teams. “Neither crew has had good luck this season. Negotiator was the guinea pig for testing the new Sterling V8. Jotun were also involved in testing and the crew had their fair share of bad luck.”


The Qatar Class 1 Team has made subtle improvements to the performance of the V8 engines in Qatar 95 and Sheikh Hassan is convinced that Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini will be even more competitive in Egypt. “We will be able to use the first free practice session to experiment with settings,” added Sheikh Hassan.


Porto Marina is a fashionable and exclusive tourist location on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast. Located close to the notorious WW2 town of El Alamein, Porto Marina has an 11km beach and is around 300km from Cairo. It is characterised by its Venetian canals and boutiques.


The weekend gets underway with technical scrutineering and the first official practice session on Thursday (October 25th), before teams are permitted a second free practice session from 10.00hrs on Friday morning.


Friday afternoon’s Edox Pole Position competition will determine the crucial starting positions for Saturday’s race, which gets underway at 14.30hrs (Egyptian time). The total race distance will be 97.36Nm, made up of a start lap, two long laps and 18 normal tours of the course.


2007 WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship – positions after round 4 of 8:

1. Arif Said Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F)                  Victory 77                                           79 pts

2. Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96                                       60 pts

3. Bjorn Rune Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB)                                Spirit of Norway 10                           49 pts

4. Talib Al-Sayed (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)                          Victory 7                                             44 pts

5. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I)                              Qatar 95                                            36 pts

6. Marco Pennesi (I)/Giampaolo Montavoci (I)                              Foresti & Suardi 8                            22 pts

7. Tom Barry-Cotter (AUS)/Pal Virik Nilsen (N)                            Spirit of Norway 20                           20 pts

8. Bard Eker (N)/Chris Parsonage (GB)                                        Negotiator 50                                    12 pts

9. Giorgio Manuzzi (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I)                                            SeveneleveN 18                                10 pts

10. Mauro Esperto (I)/Kolbjorn Selmer (N)                                    Veneta Marina Foresti & Suardi 2   5 pts

11. Jorn Tandberg (N)/Christian Zaborowski (N)                          Jotun 90                                             3 pts   


2007 Edox Pole Position Championship – latest positions:

1. Bjorn Rune Gjelsten (N)/Steve Curtis (GB)                                Spirit of Norway 10                           60 pts

2. Arif Said Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F)                  Victory 77                                           42 pts

2. Talib Al-Sayed(UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)                           Victory 7                                             32 pts

4. Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 96                                       30 pts

5. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I)                              Qatar 95                                            19 pts

5. Jorn Tandberg (N)/Christian Zaborowski (N)                            Jotun 90                                             19 pts, etc




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: 23/10/2007

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