C1 Sheikh Hassan aims to take championship lead in Montenegro


Montenegrin Grand Prix, round 2 of 9. May 23rd-25th, 2008


For immediate release

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008





Qatar Team heads to Adriatic to rekindle title quest

Budva set to host new Class 1 team race debut


DOHA (Qatar): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and British throttleman Steve Curtis MBE will be aiming to take the outright lead in the 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, when they tackle the inaugural Hypo Group Montenegrin Grand Prix in Montenegro this weekend (May 23rd-25th).


The President of the QMSF hopes to benefit from a recent team test session on Lake Lecco in Italy, when he and Englishman Curtis line-up against their arch rivals at the new Adriatic coast venue, equipped with improved Skema V12 engines in Qatar 96. Italian team mate Matteo Nicolini was also present at the recent test session and joins Doha-based Abdullah Al-Sulaiti at the helm of Qatar 95, which finished fourth in the opening Qatar race.


Budva is a new venue for Class 1 racing and looks set to witness the racing debut of the Windmare 88 team, with French driver Jerome Brarda and his Italian throttleman Lino Di Biase, who won the Qatar Grand Prix with Abdullah Al-Sulaiti two seasons ago. The Spanish 88 boat is also likely to start the Budva race, with Sergio Mora Carrasco joining Domenico Cirilli at the helm.


But Sheikh Hassan’s main focus will be on finishing Sunday’s race ahead of the Dubai-based Victory Team, which won the opening round of the series in Doha and leads the championship. Defending World Champion Arif Saif Al-Zafeen was injured in an F2 accident last month and will be replaced in the Victory Team by Mohammed Al-Marri. This pair and fellow Emirati Nadir Bin Hendi are hotly-tipped to be Qatar 96’s closest challengers this season in Victory 1 and Sheikh Hassan knows the importance of redressing the balance on the Adriatic.


“I am very confident that we will be strong for the race this weekend,” admitted Qatar’s former Class 1 European Champion. “Victory Team has a very good performance, but we all also competitive and have the same performance. Recent testing should also stand us in good stead to gain on them and I do believe that we will overcome the five extra points we gifted them when we crashed in Doha. I am sure that Victory know we are the team to beat if they are to retain their World Championship title this year.”


Although both the Qatar and Victory teams were closely matched in Doha, Sheikh Hassan expects the Negotiator crew of Bard Eker and Chris Parsonage to bounce back quickly from their accident in Qatar and the Norwegian Jotun crew of Bjorge Jacobsen and Jorn Tandberg can never be discounted now that the Ugland Offshore Racing boat has been refettled after mechanical problems in Doha Bay.


Ten boats are expected to line-up at the start of race proceedings on Friday (May 23rd) for the first official practice session on the new course. The outside of the proposed course passes around the island of Sveti Nikola and there is a strong chance of rougher conditions to further place the emphasis on a good race set-up for the weekend.


Budva is one of the oldest and most historic cities on the Adriatic Sea and boasts a stunning coastline. The coastal area - Budvanska Rivijera – is the metropolis of Montenegrin tourism and well known for its sandy beaches, diverse nightlife and beautiful examples of Mediterranean architecture. It is a fitting venue to host round two of the 2008 championship.


After a second timed practice session on Saturday morning, the Edox Pole Position competition roars into life on Saturday afternoon, with the main Montenegrin Grand Prix taking centre stage on Sunday (May 25th).

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


2008 Class 1 World Powerboat 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-Mehairbi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (F) Victory 7                     12 pts

4. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (QA)/Matteo Nicolini (I) Qatar 95                                         9 pts

5. Kolbjorn Selmer (N)/Giampaolo Montevoci (I) Foresti & Suardi 8                     7 pts

6. Giorgio Manuzzi (I)/Nicola Giorgi (I) SevenEleven 18                          5 pts

7. Bard Eker (N)/Chris Parsonage (GB) Negotiator 50                                       4 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: 20/05/2008

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