Team Qatar flies the flag down under

Curtis and Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani add Australia to their US success

Jet setting between continents appears no deterrent for the new Qatar offshore powerboat racing team. Team driver Sheikh Hassan (pictured) and British eight-time world champion, Steve Curtis MBE, popped over to Queensland to swell their run of success.

The pair were invited to Australia as guests of their former Class 1 rivals Team Maritimo to discuss the future of Class 1 racing and while there were offered the opportunity to take part in the second and third rounds of the Australian Class 1 series.

Both Spirit of Qatar 96 team members were loaned one of the Team Maritimo boats which had been prepared at the operation’s Gold Coast facility.

The Qatar duo were to compete alongside race rivals Peter McGrath, Ross Willaton, Pal-Virik Nilsen and reigning Australian Class 1 champion Tom Barry-Cotter.

“We had a close fight with Maritimo during the first laps,” said Sheikh Hassan. “We were lying second until the half-way stage when Maritimo retired and we went ahead to the finish.

“Steve and I decided to keep the same set-up for the following race and just refuelled the boat. We had a good start in excellent sea conditions this time holding the lead throughout. Steve did a great job to get the boat trimmed for both races.”

“It has been a fantastic start to the season,” said Sheikh Hassan. “We already head the US series (OPA) after two races and now we have the lead in the Australian Class 1 Championship.”