C1 Qatar Team carries out test session at Lake Lecco in Italy


For immediate release
Sunday, May 11th, 2008


Qatar Team carries out two-day test at Lake Lecco in Italy
QMSF President delighted with progress of young Qatari drivers

DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and British throttleman Steve Curtis MBE will be totally prepared and raring to go, when they continue their campaign for the 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship title in Montenegro on May 23rd-25th.

The team has just returned from a two-day test at Lake Lecco in Italy, where throttlemen Steve Curtis and Sheikh Hassan's former partner and Qatar 95 team mate Matteo Nicolini carried out various improvements and tests with the Qatar hulls.

Sheikh Hassan's Qatar 96 was badly damaged in a spectacular crash during the Pole Position qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix at the start of March and the team is not prepared to rush repairs through in time for the second round, taking place at the Adriatic coastal town of Budva for the first time. "We will take our time in repairing the damaged boat to make it 110% better than it was," admitted Sheikh Hassan. "It means the usual boat will miss the Budva race. We will be using the spare boat again and this will be fitted with the V12 Skema engines."

These power plants were tested in Italy last week, with Nicolini and Curtis working on hull and aerodynamic modifications to ensure that Qatar 96 is more than a match for their main rivals in Montenegro. "I know that the boat will be fast," added Sheikh Hassan. "The feedback from Steve, Matteo and our crew chief has been very positive."

Sheikh Hassan and Curtis managed to take a sensational second place on the first round in Qatar and remain firmly in contention for the world title, even at this early stage in the championship. Qatar's Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini were fourth and have also been working on improvements to their Qatar 95 hull.

Meanwhile, the sport's governing body has recently added another race to the 2008 calendar, with teams now planning to visit Russia later this summer and China as early as 2009. "The sport needed one more round and a new venue," enthused Sheikh Hassan, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). "Maybe this will also help us attract a team or two from Russia in the future. The extra round will also enable us to make up the points that we lost by not winning in Qatar in March.

"China is another venue that we will be looking forward to next year. The sport is gaining a lot of attention at the moment in the Far East and hopefully Australia will be another potential race venue in the future."

Meanwhile, the QMSF is nurturing young talent across various different race boat formulae, with Yousef Al-Khulaifi and Ahmad Al-Fayyad taking part in UIM F1 racing this season and several local names improving all the time in pleasure boat racing in Doha.

"We are looking for local drivers all the time," enthuses Sheikh Hassan. "To see them doing well is a real boost for the QMSF. We will also be working on a Class One test programme for Mohammed Al-Nasser, but we lost one boat at the start of the Class One season and it will be hard to locate another one for Mohammed and Luca (Nicolini) to test again. But this is something that we will not neglect in the future."


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: 11/05/2008

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