Cernobbio, Italy, September 18 (QNA) – HE Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and the Spirit of Qatar team return to UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship action in this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, based at Cernobbio, on scenic Lake Como.
Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis will team up in Spirit of Qatar 96 alongside Spirit of Qatar 95’s Ali Al-Neama and Matteo Nicolini for the first time since the Pearl Qatar Grand Prix in March. The team opted to miss the ill-fated inaugural Gabon Grand Prix in the summer and are relishing the return to action on a demanding course on Italy’s stunning Lake Como.
Despite missing the Gabon race meeting, Sheikh Hassan still holds third position in the UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship and is confident that the team can return to winning ways at the home race of Matteo Nicolini, throttleman for Spirit of Qatar 95.
“We are excited and looking forward to getting back into racing,” admitted Sheikh Hassan, driver of Spirit of Qatar 96 and president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). “We were testing on the lake over the weekend and hope that things will be good for this coming weekend. We tested again on Monday and then headed to the race venue today (Tuesday),” he said.
“We missed Gabon but anything and everything is possible, depending upon what the final calendar of races looks like. It is still not certain, but we hope to have some more races to enable us to make up the points,” Sheikh Hassan explained, adding “Lake Como is very nice. But race officials have changed the course to make it more complicated and it will be more difficult for our boat. It will be very hard to overtake. The outcome of the race may be set out by the first turn buoy.”
Despite being away from the racing seat since March, Sheikh Hassan has been keeping abreast of developments in the series and has left nothing to chance with his preparations. “I have been concentrating on what needs to be done on race day. I have been watching last year s race and trying to find out what went wrong. Then again, the revised course has messed those plans for everyone,” he said.
The weekend’s timetable gets underway with registration and administration on Thursday (September 20th). Teams will be permitted to practice on the racecourse for 90 minutes from 11.30hrs on Friday morning, before the all-important Edox Pole Position to determine race one starting order gets underway at 3pm (local time).
The first of the two weekend races starts at 14.30hrs on Saturday afternoon, following a second practice session on the Lake Como course, and a third practice session on Sunday morning precedes the second of the Italian Grand Prix races from 14.30hrs on Sunday afternoon.
2012 UIM Class One World Powerboat Championships current standings
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 54 pts
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 44 pts
3. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 32 pts
4. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Luca Fendi Racing 10 22 pts
5. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 9 pts
5. Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Zabo-Isiklar 91 9pts
7. Gian Maria Gabbiani (ITA)/Luca Nicolini (ITA) FA.RO.ACCiAI 23 7pts
8. Paul Gaiser (BRZ)/Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR) Welmax Offshore 90 5 pts
2012 UIM Class One Pole Position Championship current standings
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 40 pts
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 24 pts
3. Paul Gaiser (BRZ)/Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR) Welmax Offshore 90 16 pts
4. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 15 pts
5. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 12 pts, etc