|Sheikh Hassan and Curtis Seal Second OPA Offshore Victory in Florida|
|Monday, 14 June 2010 00:33|
SUNNY ISLES BEACH (USA): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and British throttleman Steve Curtis MBE maintained their excellent start to the 2010 OPA Offshore Racing Series in the United States of America by taking a second successive victory in the second round at Sunny Isles Beach in Florida on Sunday.
Qatar team-mates, Ali Al-Neama and Matteo Nicolini, were forced out of the 3rd Annual Sunny Isles Beach Offshore Challenge on the Atlantic Ocean course on their second event together in the Skema V12-engined Spirit of Qatar 95 with first lap engine problems. They had finished fourth overall at the opening round in Ocean City two weeks ago.
“It is great to win the second race of the campaign but I am sure the next one will be a flatter course and our rivals may have a slight advantage,” said Sheikh Hassan, driver of the winning Spirit of Qatar 96.
“The conditions out there were fine for us. It was a little bumpy at times with a few big wakes. We were involved in a good fight with WHM and Talk-N-Trash early on, but we managed to take a good inside line through the third lap and went ahead. From then on we had a good run to take the win.”
Talk-N-Trash, throttled by Vinny Rifice, and the JD Byrider Team crew of Tony Marcantonio and Mark Kowalski had provided the main competition for the Spirit of Qatar Team at the opening round in Maryland two weeks ago and Sheikh Hassan thought that the American race boats would be the pair to beat again at Sunny Isles Beach.
Talk-N-Trash eventually got the better of WHM to seal second position, with the JD Byrider boat coming home in fourth position.
“Hopefully Ali and Matteo can bounce back at the next meeting in July and Steve and I will be hoping to make it a hat-trick of victories at the start of the season,” added a delighted Sheikh Hassan, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and on-race team manager for the Spirit of Qatar Team.