C1 Determined Sheikh Hassan set to redress the balance in Dubai Grand Prix
2007 WPPA CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP, round 8 of 8
2007 WPPA CLASS 1 MIDDLE EAST POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP, round 4 of 4
Dubai Grand Prix – Thursday, December 6th-Saturday, December 8th, 2007
For immediate release
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
DETERMINED SHEIKH HASSAN SET TO REDRESS
THE BALANCE IN FINAL 2008 CLASS ONE RACE
Ever-improving Qatar 95 crew look for Dubai Grand Prix victory
MINA SEYAHI (UAE): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Italian team mate Matteo Nicolini will be bidding to end the 2007 WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship season on a high note by taking their first victory of the year in the Dubai Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon.
Mechanical problems with the normally-reliable Skema V12-engined Qatar 96 cost them the chance of clinching the world title in last Saturday’s Mina Seyahi Grand Prix, but Sheikh Hassan is determined to end the season with a win in the second of the UAE races and increase his chances of clinching the WPPA Middle East title at the 11th hour.
Sheikh Hassan needs to win the Dubai Grand Prix to give himself a chance of winning the prestigious regional title. The President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation currently has 32 championship points and holds fourth position in the rankings, but he only trails the leading Spirit of Norway boat by 11 points and World Champions Victory 77 by nine. The Qatar 96 crew must also finish ahead of Spirit of Norway to confirm second position in the World Championship. Both teams are currently tied on 96 points apiece.
Meanwhile, Qatar 95 team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini will be aiming to build upon an excellent second overall at last weekend’s Mina Seyahi Grand Prix, which has catapulted the Doha driver into fifth position in the Middle East title race and fourth in the World Championship standings. Al-Sulaiti needs to finish ahead of Victory 7 to confirm fourth in the main championship, although he still has a mathematical chance of lifting the regional title. He trails Bjorn Rune Gjelsten and Steve Curtis by 19 points, with 20 available for an outright Dubai Grand Prix win.
“Qatar 95 is coming on strong,” admitted Sheikh Hassan. “Both Abdullah and Luca are getting used to each other and the boat is getting faster each race. I hope to see them again on the podium this weekend.”
A dramatic and controversial start hampered Sheikh Hassan’s chances of winning last weekend and the Qatar 96 driver was shocked at the driving of two of his main rivals at the start of the race. “Both Victory 77 and Victory 7 were clearly ahead of the rest of the boats at the start and it was done for a reason only the Victory Team know about,” added Sheikh Hassan.
“I was surprised to see that the Jury did nothing about this behaviour, as it has been done before. That is a reflection on the behaviour of the team and maybe the Victory Team management as well. We need to have stronger rules in the WPPA Championship in the future and penalties applied on the spot to prevent this happening again. I don’t see any need to win the race under the current race practice. After what happened at the last race, I will have my own rules that I will play by. Maybe the existing rules will no longer apply to the Qatar Team.”
The timetable for the final race of the season gets underway at the Dubai International Marine Club on Thursday afternoon (December 6th) with the first official practice session between 2pm and 3.30pm. Competitors will be able to practice for a second time between 10.00am and 11.00am on Friday morning, before the Edox Pole Position competition fires into life at 2.30pm. Gjelsten and Curtis have already clinched the Pole Position Championship, but the Qatar Team will be keen to ensure a top three finish to guarantee a favourable starting position for Saturday’s race.
Teams will be permitted a third practice session on the Mina Seyahi course from 10.00am on Saturday morning (December 8th) and the Dubai Grand Prix will get underway at 2.30pm (1.30pm Doha time).
WPPA CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP – after round 7 of 8
1. Victory 77 – A Al Zafeen (UAE)/JM Sanchez (F) – 127pts
2= Qatar 96 – H Al Thani (QA)/M Nicolini (I) – 96pts
2= Spirit of Norway 10 – B Gjelsten (N)/S Curtis (GB) – 96pts
4. Qatar 95 – A Al Sulaiti (QAT)/L Nicolini (I) – 64pts
5. Victory 7 – T Al Sayed (UAE)/N B Hendi (UAE) – 62pts
6. Negotiator 50 – B Eker (N)/C Parsonage (GB) – 49pts
7. Foresti & Suardi 8 – M Pennesi (I)/G Montavoci (I) – 39pts
8. Spirit of Norway 20 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS)/P Nilsen (N) – 34pts
9. SeveneleveN 18 – T Polli (I)/N Giorgi (I) – 17pts
10. Jotun 90 – C Zaborowski (N)/J Tandberg (N) - 14pts
11. Fainplast 2 – K Selmer (N)/G Carpitella (I) – 8pts
WPPA CLASS 1 MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP – after round 3 of 4
1. Spirit of Norway 10 – B Gjelsten (N)/S Curtis (GB) – 43pts
2. Victory 77 – A Al Zafeen (UAE)/JM Sanchez (F) – 41pts
3. Negotiator 50 – B Eker (N)/C Parsonage (GB) – 33pts
4. Qatar 96 – H Al Thani (QA)/M Nicolini (I) – 32pts
5. Qatar 95 – A Al Sulaiti (QA)/L Nicolini (I) – 24pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 8 – M Pennesi (I)/G Montavoci (I) – 15pts
7. Victory 7 – T Al Sayed (UAE)/N B Hendi (UAE) – 14pts
8. Spirit of Norway 20 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS)/P Nilsen (N) – 10pts
9. Jotun 90 – C Zaborowski (N)/J Tandberg (N) - 5pts
10. Fainplast 2 – K Selmer (N)/G Carpitella (I) – 3pts
11. SeveneleveN 18 – T Polli (I)/N Giorgi (I) – 1pts
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: email@example.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).