Cernobbio, Italy, September 22 (QNA) – Qatar Ali-Neama and HE Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani finished third and sixth overall in race one at the Italian Grand Prix, round three of the 2012 UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship, on Lake Como on Saturday afternoon. Partnered by Italian Matteo Nicolini and England s Steve Curtis respectively, the Spirit of Qatar duo were not able to stay with the Victory 3 crew of Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Mohammed Al-Marri, once the Emirati crew made a good second start to the race that had initially been red flagged following a crash involving Gian Maria Gabiani and Luca Nicolini.
HE Sheikh Hassan held third place for much of the race and looked set to overhaul Team Abu Dhabi s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori for second position when the wash and spray from the rival boat cost them time, flooded an engine and dropped them back to sixth position. Al-Neama and Nicolini duly inherited third place and held on to finish behind the two Emirati boats in an all Middle East podium.
“Team Abu Dhabi overshot a buoy and we had to go around them on the inside,” said Sheikh Hassan, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and driver of Spirit of Qatar 96.
“But they shut the door on us from about two or three feet and the engine flooded and it flooded the canopy. We knew that there were some other boats behind so we stayed away from them and it took us a while to get back up to speed with the engine, by which time it was too late to make a charge.
“There is always tomorrow, but the way the race course is designed it is a very tight line to the first buoy for the pole position boat and not really an advantage. We will see what happens tomorrow and whether they change the start procedure.”
A race Jury met late on Friday evening to discuss an alleged incident whereby Victory 3 had struck a turn buoy on the final qualifying lap of the Edox Pole Position on Friday afternoon. The protest put down by the Qatar team was duly upheld and the lap was erased from the standings, meaning that Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis started the initial race from pole position in Spirit of Qatar 96.
“We found out that there was a missing buoy out on the course so there was an unfair advantage for the boats, which did not have the chance to run the shorter course,” said HE Sheikh Hassan.(QNA)