C1 Second and third places for Qatar Team in Russian Grand Prix

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

For immediate release
Sunday, July 6th, 2008


Victory 1 crew extend championship lead with Moscow race win
Qatar's Sheikh Hassan takes second; Qatar's Al-Sulaiti in third place

MOSCOW (Russia): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and British throttleman Steve Curtis MBE produced a spirited performance in the Russian Grand Prix on Moscow's Khimki Reservoir. But the Qatar 96 crew could only manage second position, as the UAE's Mohammed Al-Marri and Nadir Bin Hendi clinched the vital win in Victory 1 and duly extended their lead in the 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.

Qatar's Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini shadowed their Qatar team mates throughout the race and finished third overall in Qatar 95 to remain well in the title hunt. Qatar's Mohammed Al-Nasser and Italy's Luca Nicolini qualified sixth for the race in the new Qatar 9, but withdrew after the opening lap with propeller problems.

"It was not an easy race and Moscow is not the type of race course for overtaking," admitted Sheikh Hassan. "But we are on the podium again and both our boats have picked up championship points. We have a little minor damage on the boat but we must focus straight away on the next race in Norway and look to win here. I have a good record in Norway and it would be nice for the entire team to take a win there."

Sheikh Hassan and Curtis began the 24-lap race from third position but, more importantly, on the front row of the grid. They trailed Victory 1 by 24 championship points and it was imperative that the Qatar 96 crew made a good start into the all-important first turn. But arch rivals Victory 1 and Victory 7 were the first two boats through the first lap, with Victory 1 edging into a near 10-second lead. Qatar 95, Qatar 96 and Qatar 9 held fourth, fifth and sixth places.

The Victory boats charged through three laps and extended their lead over Jotun, with SevenEleven climbing to sixth behind Qatar 96 and Qatar 95. Qatar 9 had stopped after the first lap with propeller trouble.  Victory 1's advantage over Victory 7 had risen to 20 seconds after five laps, as Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis pulled clear of Qatar 95 and rose to third, 36 seconds behind Victory 7, when Jotun hit propeller trouble on the fifth tour.

The Qatar Team was on a charge and Qatar 96 had reduced Victory 1's overall lead to 55 seconds after lap eight and 54 seconds through lap nine, as both Qatar boats held second and third places and Victory 7 slipped back to fifth behind Foresti & Suardi, although SevenEleven had already fallen by the wayside. 

Lap strategies ensured that Victory 1's overall lead was reduced to 40 seconds after 10 laps, as the Qatar boats applied the pressure. The gap was up to 42 seconds after the next tour and Victory 1's overall lead was 40 seconds at the halfway point. Al-Marri and Bin Hendi's lead had grown to 55 seconds through 14 laps, as Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini shadowed Qatar 96 in third position. Foresti & Suardi was a distant fourth, two laps behind, but Victory 7 and Jotun were struggling at the rear of the field just to reach a points-scoring finish after earlier propeller problems.

Victory 1's leading margin had risen to 58 seconds after 16 laps and 61 seconds after 17 tours, as the leading Qatar team settled for second position and a valuable points' haul to close the gap on Victory 7 in the championship.

The leading trio held station over the closing five laps, with Victory 1 clinching the eventual win by the margin of 1m 49.41s, from Qatar 96 and third-placed Qatar 95. Foresti & Suardi, Victory 7 and Jotun were the other finishers, with Victory 7 passing Foresti & Suardi into fourth in the closing minutes.

Only five boats took the water on Sunday morning for the final practice session and the Norwegian Jotun crew were quickest in a time of 2m 35.48s on the first of their two laps. Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini posted a 2m 35.61s tour at the start of a two-lap stint and Qatar 9 lapped in a best of 2m 39.14s.

Russian Grand Prix - results (unofficial):
1. Victory 1 - Mohammed Al Marri (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)     59m 35.15s
2. Qatar 96 - Hassan Al-Thani (Qatar)/Steve Curtis (England)     @ 1m 49.41s
3. Qatar 95 - Abdullah Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)/Matteo Nicolini (Italy)     1 lap behind
4. Victory 7 - Abdullah Al Mehairbi (UAE)/Jean-Marc Sanchez (France)    3 laps behind
5. Foresti & Suardi 8 - Kolbjorn Selmer (Norway)/Gianpaolo Montavoci (Italy)   3 laps behind
6. Jotun 90 - Inge Brigt Aarbakke (Norway)/Jorn Tandberg    5 laps behind
SeveneleveN 18 - Giorgio Manuzzi (Italy)/Nicola Giorgi (Italy)     DNF
Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - Sergio Mora Carrasco (Spain)/Domenico Cirilli (Spain)  DNF
Qatar 9 - Mohammed Al-Nasser (Qatar)/Luca Nicolini (Italy)    DNF  


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: 06/07/2008

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