|Qatar’s Sheikh Hassan Determined To Earn Maximum Opa Points At Solomons Island|
|Friday, 01 October 2010 22:55|
SOLOMONS ISLAND (USA): After the disappointment of the cancellation of the sixth round of the 2010 American OPA Offshore Racing series because of Hurricane Igor two weeks ago, the Qatar Team is determined to return to winning ways at round seven on the Patuxent River, Solomons Island, Maryland, on Sunday.
His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis trail the American Talk-N-Trash boat by 61 championship points and now have only two races to overturn the deficit and steer Spirit of Qatar 96 to a famous championship win in the USA.
The Supercat category is the most competitive of the racing disciplines in the OPA Offshore series, but missing one round of the series at Patchogue in August and being unable to score points at Atlantic City have made the Qatar Team realise the urgency of taking a win at Solomons Island.
“I am glad that the last race at Atlantic City was cancelled,” admits Shekh Hassan. “The conditions were just too much for everyone. We know that we can race in big roller conditions, but safety always has to come first. Had we have raced, everyone would have been pushing hard for the first few laps and that is when something can happen or a boat may break.
“The outright win has to be the target now this weekend. We need to make sure that Talk-N-Trash is running in the pack at the back and we have Spirit of Qatar 95 in front of him for us to make it. The conditions could well be flat and that will not favour our boats, but we will need to do what it takes to be at the front. Steve and I tested with the spare boat in Florida last week to do a noise level test so we can bring the exhaust out to maximise the engine performance.”
Ali-Al Neama and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini hit form in the St. Clair River Classic in Michigan in the summer and the Spirit of Qatar 95 crew could still overhaul their team-mates and snatch a sensational championship win into the bargain. Al-Neama heads to Solomons Island a mere 47 points adrift of Sheikh Hassan.
Solomons Island is a community in Calvert County, Maryland, and is a popular weekend destination on the Patuxent River for commuters living in the Baltimore and Washington areas.
Team personnel will carry out registration formalities on Friday and the boats will be transferred to Calvert Marina. Testing will be permitted on Saturday (October 2nd).
The first race is scheduled to start at noon (ET) on Sunday, October 3rd (19.00hrs Doha time), with the last of the races planned to finish around 16.00 hrs ET (23.00hrs Doha time).
2010 AMERICAN OPA OFFSHORE CHAMPIONSHIP,
Positions after round 6 of 8:
1. Talk-N-Trash 30 401 pts
2. Spirit of Qatar 96 340 pts
3. Spirit of Qatar 95 293 pts
4. JD Byrider 45 230 pts
5. WHM 5 226 pts6. Fury 88 0 pts
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