C1 Sheikh Hassan survives spectacular crash but takes second in Pole Position


Qatar Grand Prix, round 1 – February 28th-March 1st


For immediate release

Friday, February 29th, 2008





Pole Position falls to Victory 1 for Qatar Grand Prix

Qatar’s Abdullah Al-Sulaiti sets third fastest time in Qatar 95

Class 1 rookie Mohammed Al-Nasser sixth in White 4


DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and new British throttleman Steve Curtis MBE set the second fastest time on their first qualifying lap for Saturday’s Qatar Grand Prix, but flipped Qatar 96 at high-speed on their second run and were unable to continue in an Edox Pole Position qualifying session that saw defending World Champion Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi take Pole Position for Saturday’s Qatar Grand Prix.


Both Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis managed to extricate themselves quickly from the shattered Qatar 96, but it was the worst possible start to the team’s 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship campaign. The Qatar 96 crew had been fastest in Thursday afternoon’s first practice session and their single lap on Friday afternoon was enough to claim second on the grid, but their progress on Saturday depends upon team decisions and whether they are able to switch to White 4 and replace the Mercury V8 engines with their usual Skema V12s in time for the race.


“Both Sheikh Hassan and Steve are fine after the accident and do not need any medical treatment,” said QMSF spokesman Sami Abu Sheikha. “We will take a few hours to consider the next plan of action and whether Sheikh Hassan and Steve will be able to race on Saturday in another boat.”


“We were pushing hard and caught a gust of wind and flipped over backwards,” admitted Steve Curtis. “It was as simple as that. Obviously very disappointing.”


Qatar’s Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini will start from third position in Qatar 95, while Doha’s Mohammed Al-Nasser and Italian throttleman Luca Nicolini set the sixth fastest time in the Mercury V8-engined White 4, which is being managed by the Italian arm of the Qatar Team and is based around last year’s Qatar 95 hull.


Qatar 96 and Victory 1 were the first boats on to the water for the Edox Pole Position, with Sheikh Hassan posting the marker of 2m 36.25s. His UAE rivals ran a 2m 41.25s lap and Al-Sulaiti managed to get inside the Victory Boat’s time with a 2m 38.37s. Mohammed Al-Nasser’s first ever Class 1 Pole Position contest in White 4 began with a commendable tour in 2m 43.64s. But Sheikh Hassan’s crash occurred on their second tour and brought an end to their challenge for Pole in spectacular fashion.


Britain’s Chris Parsonage and Norwegian team mate Bard Eker soon slotted Negotiator into fourth position with a best early lap of 2m 38.95s. The Jotun crew of former race mechanic Bjorge Jacobsen and Jorn Tandberg posted a first lap of the weekend of 2m 40.43s to push White 4 down into fifth place. Al-Nasser improved on his time with a 2m 43.57s, but remained in sixth place, as the UAE’s reigning World Champion Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and team mate Nadir Bin Hendi moved into the lead with a third lap time of 2m 35.95s.


Norway’s Kolbjorn Selmer and Italian team mate Giampaolo Montevoci lapped Foresti & Suardi in 2m 58.68s to take seventh position, but still there was no sign of either SevenEleven or Victory 7. Foresti & Suardi improved slightly with a second lap of 2m 58.09s, but remained in seventh place.


Class 1 newcomer Abdullah Al-Mehairbi and French throttleman Jean-Marc Sanchez eventually took to the water in Victory 7 and posted an opening time of 2m 45.03s, which pushed them down to seventh position.



Giorgio Manuzzi and Nicola Giorgi also took to the water and posted the ninth fastest time of 3m 06.62s in SevenEleven and immediately bettered it with a 3m 01.81s lap. There were a couple of moves up the leaderboard further down the field, but Qatar 96’s accident had put a damper on the first Edox Pole competition of the season.


Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi had set the fastest time of 2m 37.39s in the second 90-minute practice session on Friday morning, where seven boats took to the water in Doha Bay. Qatar 96 was second with a lap of 2m 39.47s and Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini posted a fastest lap of 2m 41.32s to hold fourth. Al-Nasser ran fifth quickest in White 4 with a hot lap of 2m 43.10s.


Tomorrow (Saturday) Class 3 boats take to the water first for a one-hour practice session from 09.00hrs. The Class 1 contingent take their turn for 90 minutes from 10.00hrs and this will be followed by the Class 3 race at 12.30hrs. The Qatar Grand Prix will fire into life at 15.00hrs on the Doha Bay course.


Timetable of events for Qatar Grand Prix

Saturday, March 1st – Doha Bay


09.00 hrs – 10.00 hrs            Class 3 official practice

10.00 hrs – 11.30hrs             Class 1 3rd official practice

12.30 hrs – 13.00 hrs            Class 3 race

15.00 hrs                                2008 Qatar Grand Prix


2008 Qatar Grand Prix – Edox Pole Position results (unofficial):

1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 1               2m 35.95s

2. Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Steve Curtis (GB) Qatar 96      2m 36.25s

3. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 95                            2m 37.54s

4. Bjorge Jacobsen (N)/Jorn Tandberg (N) Jotun 90                               2m 37.78s

5. Bard Eker (N)/Chris Parsonage (GB) Negotiator 50                          2m 38.01s

6. Mohammed Al-Nasser (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I) White 4             2m 43.57s

7. Abdullah Al-Mehairbi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 7      2m 43.85s

8. Kolbjorn Selmer (N)/Giampaolo Montevoci (I) Foresti & Suardi 8      2m 58.09s

9. Giorgio Manuzzi (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I) SevenEleven 18                          3m 01.81s


2008 Edox Pole Position – championship positions after round 1:

1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) Victory 1                       20 pts

2. Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani (QA)/Steve Curtis (GB) Qatar 96        15 pts

3. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 95                                   12 pts

4. Bjorge Jacobsen (N)/Jorn Tandberg (N) Jotun 90                                       9 pts

5. Bard Eker (N)/Chris Parsonage (GB) Negotiator 50                                  7 pts

6. Mohammed Al-Nasser (QA)/Luca Nicolini (I) White 4                                  5 pts

7. Abdullah Al-Mehairbi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 7                  4 pts

8. Kolbjorn Selmer (N)/Giampaolo Montevoci (I) Foresti & Suardi 8           3 pts

9. Giorgio Manuzzi (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I) SevenEleven 18                              2 pts




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: 29/02/2008

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