C1 Sheikh Hassan chases third Class 1 GP win in Norway
2008 CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
BMW Norwegian Grand Prix, round 4 – July 19th-20th, 2008
For immediate release
Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
SHEIKH HASSAN CHASES THIRD CLASS
ONE GRAND PRIX VICTORY IN NORWAY
Qatar Team faces crucial Norwegian title challenge
Nicolini’s new Cat design set for more development racing
DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Class 1 World Powerboat Team heads to Arendal in Norway this week for Sunday’s Norwegian Grand Prix and a country where His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani has already collected two Class 1 race wins.
The President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) lines up for his 40th Class 1 race start alongside Steve Curtis MBE and Qatar 95 team mates Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini for the crucial race meeting, which could well decide the eventual outcome of the 2008 World Championship. Curtis won the Norwegian Grand Prix when it was held at Arendal in 2001.
Sheikh Hassan and Curtis are currently fourth in the title race, two points behind their Qatar 95 colleagues, but 29 points adrift of the pace-setting Victory 1 boat from the UAE.
“I just hope that it will be Qatar 96 and Victory 1 running for the title at the end of the season,” admitted Sheikh Hassan. “It was obvious on the last round that from second to fourth place was very close and Victory 1 is currently ahead and has a good advantage. I feel that the only advantage that Victory 1 has over the rest of the fleet is the electronics on board. We, at the Qatar Team, decided not to go for electronic improvements as it will not help the sport at all, as not everyone has the budget to spend on it.”
Sheikh Hassan was delighted with the two podium finishes for the Qatar Team in Moscow nonetheless. “It’s good for team morale to have the two boats on the podium and to put some pressure on the leading boat and to show them that we will not let them get away easily. Both our boats performed well in Moscow. Fingers crossed we do the same in Norway.”
Sheikh Hassan has already won two races in Oslo (2004) and Trondheim (2005) and relishes the thought of achieving a hat-trick of Norwegian race wins. “We would like to go for the hat-trick in Arendal. But it will not be that easy. We will play the game right and hopefully it will work out to our advantage. Steve and I are doing extremely well inside the cockpit and communicating well, both in the boat and when talking about race strategies.”
Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini have made an excellent start to the season and are a mere three points behind Victory 7 in third place in the title race. “We have not thought of 95 as a threat for the title, but Abdullah (making his 25th GP start in Arendal) and Matteo have every right to aim for it as the results will reflect on the team’s image,” added Sheikh Hassan.
The Qatar Team faces the usual line-up of Norwegian, Italian and Spanish rivals this weekend in addition to the Victory Team, but the Arendal race meeting will also see the return to Class 1 competition of young Australian Tom Barry-Cotter and Norwegian partner Pal Virik-Nilsen. They return to harness as the 2007-2008 Australian Offshore Superboat Champions.
“Mohammed Al-Nasser and Luca (Nicolini) will also run in Qatar 9 again this weekend,” confirmed Matteo Nicolini, after their promising showing in Moscow. “Probably I will test the new Nicolini Cat with Abdullah or Sheikh Hassan on Friday and we will use the same engine configurations as we did in Russia. We want to use the new boat in the championship as soon as possible and Egypt is looking likely.
“This is a completely new boat and from the start has showed good performance. And with Mohammed, who has not had much time in a Class 1. and with Luca also in this boat for the first time, they were running only six seconds off our pace (in Russia) which shows that the boat has great potential.”
Nicolini also confirmed that the damaged Qatar 96 is close to being repaired. After the Arendal meeting the deck will be positioned on the hull and the finishing and rigging will be completed.
Norwegian race weekend gets underway on Friday, July 18th with technical scrutineering and the first official practice session on the course from 2pm. This will be followed by an official welcome reception at 7pm. The second official practice stint begins at 10.30hrs on Saturday morning and lasts for 90 minutes. This precedes a Nor-Tech Speed Record attempt at 13.40hrs and the start of the Edox Pole Position competition at 14.30hrs.
Race day (Sunday) begins with a final practice session from 10.00hrs and the BMW Norwegian Grand Prix fires into life from 14.30hrs and will immediately be followed by the podium presentation. The race will run for a distance of 96.70Nm, comprising a short start lap of 5.36Nm, 14 laps of 5.65Nm and two compulsory long laps of 6.12Nm apiece.
CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP – positions after round 3
1. Victory 1 - M Al Marri (UAE)/N Bin Hendi (UAE) – 64pts
2. Victory 7 - A Al Mehairbi (UAE)/JM Sanchez (France) – 40pts
3. Qatar 95 - A Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)/M Nicolini (Italy) – 37pts
4. Qatar 96 - H Al-Thani (Qatar)/S Curtis (England) – 35pts
5. Foresti & Suardi 8 - K Selmer (Norway)/G Montavoci (Italy) – 25pts
6. Jotun 90 - B Jacobsen (Norway)/J Tandberg (Norway) – 18pts
7. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - S Carrasco (Spain)/D Cirilli (Spain) – 8pts
8. SeveneleveN 18 - G Manuzzi (Italy)/N Giorgi (Italy) – 5pts
9. Negotiator 50 - B Eker (Norway)/C Parsonage (England) – 4pts
(Championship points include bonus points allocated to teams for running engines for two consecutive races - one point, per engine, per race)
CLASS 1 EDOX POLE POSITION - positions after round 3
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).