C1 Sheikh Hassan and Qatar 96 qualify third for Russian Grand Prix

Russian Grand Prix, round 3 - July 4th-6th, 2008

For immediate release
Saturday, July 5th, 2008


Qatar 95 in fifth position; Edox Pole Position for Victory 1
Qatar's Mohammed Al-Nasser shakes down new Qatar 9

MOSCOW (Russia): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and British throttleman Steve Curtis MBE will start Sunday's Russian Grand Prix, round three of the 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, in third place after Saturday afternoon's Edox Pole Position competition on Moscow's Khimki Reservoir.

Team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini qualified in fifth position and Mohammed Al-Nasser and Luca Nicolini pushed the new Qatar 9 boat through a crucial test and qualified in sixth place. The Edox Pole Position competition was won by Mohammed Al-Marri and Nadir Bin Hendi in Victory 1 with a winning lap of 2m 24.95s.

Victory 1 was the first boat to lay down the gauntlet in the Edox Pole Position with an eventual winning lap of 2m 24.95s. Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini followed with a tour of 2m 31.03s and Qatar 96 edged in front of their team mates with a lap of 2m 26.15s to slot into second place, a mere 1.2 seconds behind the championship leaders. Jotun pushed Qatar 95 down to fourth with a time of 2m 28.26s, as seven boats took to the water in the first quarter of the crucial one-hour session.

Qatar 9 slotted into fifth with a lap of 2m 35.95s and the Jotun crew improved their time by a mere 0.03 seconds and retained third. Sheikh Hassan also improved on his first lap time with a potent 2m 25.70s, but it was still 0.75s short of Victory's pole-leading time. Victory 7 recorded a lap of 2m 30.34s and edged Qatar 95 down to fifth and Jotun and Qatar 9 again improved on lap three but retained third and sixth.

In the closing minutes Victory 7 climbed to third with a useful lap of 2m 28.01s and pushed Jotun and Qatar 95 down to fourth and fifth places. But Jotun's last throw of the dice was a superb tour of 2m 25.59s, which pushed Qatar 96 into third and was enough for the Norwegian crew to claim second and ensure that Victory 1, Jotun, Qatar 96 and Victory 7 filled the four places on the front row of the grid for Sunday's race.

"Steve and I knew the importance of qualifying as high as possible in the Pole Position," said Sheikh Hassan. "It was encouraging to set the fastest time on Friday, but Victory upped their game again today and it makes the contest really exciting for tomorrow. We also used the two days to carry out more tests with Qatar 9, our new boat. We have been testing some components and it's been good to give Mohammed (Al-Nasser) and the hull a run out. Qatar 9 took part in the Pole Position, but we will make a decision on whether it runs in the race later."

Sheikh Hassan also took time out from his race preparations to carry on the work of the Qatar Orphan Foundation and the championship's Class 1 for Dhreima initiative. He visited a Moscow orphanage and children were shown around the dry pits by Matteo Nicolini and Steve Curtis.

Eight boats took to the water for the first official practice session on the 3.86Nm course on Friday afternoon and Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis set the fastest lap of 2m 15s on the last of their five tours in Qatar 96. World Championship leaders Mohammed Al-Marri and Nadir Bin Hendi were 3.25s behind in Victory 1 and Mohammed Al-Nasser and Luca Nicolini gave the new Qatar 9 a useful shakedown with the fourth fastest lap of 2m 34.71s. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini only ran for one lap and posted a time of 2m 48.59s.

Victory 1 redressed the balance in the second practice session on Saturday morning, by posting a fastest lap of 2m 23.95s, although all teams realised the importance of qualifying in a good position for the race, as organisers have introduced a two-line start procedure - four boats in each line - for the Grand Prix because of the narrow nature of the Russian course. Qatar 96 posted the second fastest time of 2m 25.86s, with Qatar 95 down in fifth in 2m 34.06 and Qatar 9 in sixth with 2m 40.82s. Nine boats took part in the second practice session.

There will be a final one-hour practice session from 09.30hrs on Sunday morning and then the 24-lap, 95.63Nm Russian Grand Prix roars into life at 13.30hrs (local time) on the Khimki Reservoir.

Russian Grand Prix - Edox Pole Position results (unofficial):
1. Victory 1 - Mohammed Al Marri (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)     2m 24.95s
2. Jotun 90 - Inge Brigt Aarbakke (Norway)/Jorn Tandberg (Norway)   2m 25.59s
3. Qatar 96 - Hassan Al-Thani (Qatar)/Steve Curtis (England)     2m 25.70s
4. Victory 7 - Abdullah Al Mehairbi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (France)    2m 28.01s
5. Qatar 95 - Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)/Matteo Nicolini (Italy)     2m 28.14s
6. Qatar 9 - Mohammed Al-Nasser (Qatar)/Luca Nicolini (Italy)    2m 34.40s
7. SeveneleveN 18 - Giorgio Manuzzi (Italy)/Nicola Giorgi (Italy)     2m 40.78s
8. Foresti & Suardi 8 - Kolbjorn Selmer (Norway)/Gianpaolo Montavoci (Italy)   2m 43.25s
9. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - Sergio Mora Carrasco (Spain)/Domenico Cirilli (Spain)       2m 44.65s

CLASS 1 EDOX POLE POSITION - positions after round 3 (unofficial)
1. Victory 1 - 55pts
2. Qatar 96 - 47pts
3. Jotun 90 - 36pts
4. Qatar 95 - 28pts
5. Victory 7 - 20pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 8 - 11pts
7. SeveneleveN 18 - 10pts
8. Negotiator 50 - 7pts
9. White 4 - 5pts
9. Qatar 9 - 5pts
11. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - 2pts
12. Windmare 21 - 0pts


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: 05/07/2008

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