Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani is relishing the prospect of a return to racing in Oslo at the Scandinavian Grand Prix - round 3 of the WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship (Sunday, 12 August) - the scene of his maiden Grand Prix win with Matteo Nicolini in 2004, and the last time the city staged a round of the World Championship. Sheikh Hassan declared “I have great memories of that first Class 1 win in Oslo in 2004. Those happy memories will never go away. The result came after a big accident at the beginning of the season in Lisbon, a non-finish in Spain and a third overall in Plymouth at the British Grand Prix. The Oslo win was the best gift of the year for the team.”
Qatar 96 and Qatar 95 currently hold equal second and fifth in the title race, but Sheikh Hassan insists that the team needs to improve the performance in Oslo. “Second place at the last race in Arendal was not good enough,” insists Sheikh Hassan. “We really had hoped for a better performance. I believe we had a great chance to win the race, but we were late getting the boat up to speed at the start due to bad communication with the pace boat.”
Sheikh Hassan and Italian throttle man Matteo Nicolini, who clinched their first Class 1 European title in 2005 after a second win in Norway in Trondheim, head to Oslo bidding for a third Grand Prix win in Norwegian waters in four years to keep their European title hopes on track. “We need to win in Oslo to close the gap on leaders Victory 77 and put pressure on them for the European Championship decider in Romania in September.” he said.