Doha, February 14 – HE President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani announced Wednesday that the QMSF is making its final preparations for an exciting new racing program in the United States of America and that Qatar will go head-to-head with the mighty USA with a two-pronged racing challenge this season.
What has already been termed the new Ryder Cup of world powerboat racing will be fought out on rounds of this year’s Super Boat International (SBI) Championship, although the president of the QMSF laid down the gauntlet for the Qatar v USA challenge last season with ongoing support for U-1 Spirit of Qatar 96 in the 2012 H1 Unlimited Championship.
“A two-fold attack on the Americans was the plan from the start of the season,” enthused HE Sheikh Hassan. “I know that it adds to the weight of responsibility with our racing program, but I am confident that we can do it.”
Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis will challenge the Americans in their own waters at the helm of a mighty turbine-engined race boat on as many rounds of 2013 Super Boat International (SBI) as possible.
“All the turbine boats in the USA are very strong and it is difficult to choose between them. We must also remember that piston-engined boats are very competitive as well and we should never lose sight of their competitiveness. They are capable of the same speed as turbines and will play a major role in determining the outcome of the title race.”
A second yet-to-be-decided crew will use a rebuilt version of the Key West-winning Spirit of Qatar 96 in one of the classes at the same race meetings as Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis. “We have yet to decide upon the crew or the class that will be entered at the same races by the Spirit of Qatar Team,” confirmed the QMSF President.
“After the Key West experience, winning the World Championship title and the challenges that we faced, I felt that it was time to raise the bar even higher,” said an excited HE Sheikh Hassan. “Now is the time to fight with the big power in the different classes and at new race venues where the fans appreciate the racing and the atmosphere is fantastic. That s why we are coming to American open waters to race!”
Sheikh Hassan s new turbine boat, which has been built in the USA in collaboration with Whispering Turbines, Five-Axis Industries and Mystic Powerboats, is nearing completion. “It s in the final stages of rigging and painting, so it’s all coming along nicely,” added the defending Key West world champion, who has used many of his original Class 1 racing crew, in addition to new American team members to get the project up and running.
The new Mystic Spirit of Qatar Extreme/Turbine racing boat will be powered by a pair of T53 turbine engines, delivering around 1,600hp apiece and capable of propelling the boat to a top speed of 354km/h (200 mph) using Five-Axis technology.
Qatar’s new American racing program was originally planned around the series starting in Florida in May, but Super Boat International officials Stateside added the additional event at Biloxi in Mississippi on April 25-28 and two other venues to the nine-round calendar. Sheikh Hassan s team is working around the clock to try to be ready for race one.
“It will be very hard to prepare for that first race, as we had originally planned our racing around what had been issued in the first calendar. The two new venues have created an issue for us and we will have to rework our racing program to suit our plans.” Sheikh Hassan admits that two summer races also fall during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
If everything goes according to plan in the coming weeks, Sheikh Hassan and the Spirit of Qatar Team will begin the eagerly awaited Qatar v USA challenge at Biloxi in America s deep south on April 25th.
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