Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, will give his new Michael Peters-designed Victory boat its competitive debut in the Qatar Grand Prix this weekend.

Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, will give his new Michael Peters-designed Victory boat its competitive debut in the Qatar Grand Prix this weekend (October 23rd-25th) off the coast of Doha.

Sheikh Hassan, 35, rented the Damas boat for the last three European rounds of the Superfund Class 1 World Power Boat Championship in England, Norway and Austria and finished all three races. He finished sixth overall in both the Plymouth and Oslo races and a fine fourth overall in the dramatic Austrian race on Lake Traunsee.

Hassan and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini took charge of their latest specification Qatar 96 Team boat at the start of October and tested it for the first time off the coast of Dubai two weeks ago. The initial shakedown lasted for around two hours and both crew members were impressed with the racing craft’s performance.

“The new boat is absolutely fantastic,” admitted Sheikh Hassan. “It’s far more than I expected. The Victory Team have really delivered what they promised in terms of quality and timing. Regarding boat performance, it’s now up to Matteo and I to do our best and ensure that our boat is as fast as the others on the circuit.

“Racing in Doha is not easy. It’s my home and we are expected to do better than fourth. With that the podium is no longer an option. But at the same time we will not do anything stupid that we could regret later on. There is no doubting that we will be trying as hard as we can in Doha.”

Sheikh Hassan is confident that he can now challenge the leaders on his home round of the World Championship. The Qatar Grand Prix is also the first of three rounds of the Middle East Championship.

The Spirit of Norway team of Bjorn Gjelsten and British throttleman Steve Curtis have dominated the series so far this year, but they face the powerful Dubai-based Victory 7 and Victory 77 teams in Doha, in addition to competitive entries from Highlander, Jotun and the Maritimo team, which have purchased a new Victory boat after destroying their vessel in a high-speed crash during the last race in Austria.