Team Abu Dhabi’s boat arrives in Doha Bay. Right: The Hulk arrives for Qatar Cup action.
By Sports Reporter/Doha
The inaugural UIM-sanctioned Qatar Cup fires into life in Doha Bay today and racers from virtually every corner of the planet will descend on an inshore and an offshore race course to battle in C1, C2, C225, SuperCat, SuperCat Lite, SuperVee and Pro Marathon classes over what promises to be a thrilling four days of spectacular racing.
The Qatar Cup has been a vision of Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) president HE Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor al-Thani for several years and his team’s efforts, in collaboration with Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix (OPGP), have made the inaugural event possible. Sponsor GAC Pindar has provided shipping support and Vodafone Qatar has come on board as an official sponsor.
The Qatar Cup has also brought together two of the leading teams in the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship with rivals taking part in offshore racing programmes in the United States of America and Australasia.
Multiple Class 1 World Champions, Arif Saif al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi, will represent Dubai in their Victory Team boat and will be joined in the SuperCat Lite class by Team’s Abu Dhabi’s Faleh al-Mansoori and Rashed al-Tayer, also regular racers in the UIM Class 1 discipline.
Qatar’s Mohamed al-Nasser switches from his usual XCat role to line up in a Spirit of Qatar boat to challenge five further boats for honours in the SuperCat Lite category. Team Raheeb of Kuwait will also be present.
Double Edge/Peters & May (Tanner Lewis and Ryan Beckley), The Hulk (Robert Nunziato and Dan Lawrence), LA Marine (Alan Christy and Lee Austin), Smart Marine Group (Grant Bruggeman and Gary Ballough) and Wicked Performance Marine (Robert Waggeman and Jay Muller) round off the impressive SuperCat Lite class line-up.
“I am very positive about this sport and this is always something I wanted to do,” said Tanner Lewis. “It’s a dream come true to make the international stage. Ryan (Beckley) has been a great mentor. Driving with him here in Qatar will be a new world to me.”
Ali al-Neama and Billy Moore top the SuperCat category in Spirit of Qatar 20 and are joined on the entry list by Randy Sweers and Danilo Zampaloni in Fastboats/Racing for Cancer 33 and Paul Boudreaux and former Team Qatar UIM F1 H20 World Champion, Jay Price, in PersuCat/Thordon Bearings/Ragin Cajun 57.
Dan Lawrence and Ron Roman are entered in Motley Crew 00 and the leading New Zealand offshore pairing of Wayne Valder and Chris Hanley are registered in Pro Floors Racing 51. “This is a tremendous opportunity,” admitted Dan Lawrence. “Sheikh Hassan extended his hand to us. It’s a great thing for offshore racing.”
The father and son team of George and Michael Stancombe crew the 36-foot Skater Peppers/Peters & May Racing. The Indiana pairing hold two APBA World Championship titles and three APBA National successes.
“I am nervous and excited and can’t wait to get back in the boat with my father, said Michael. “My father recently broke his arm and has been working hard to get the strength back to be able to drive.”
Billy Glueck and Brett Furshman crew Twisted Metal and Joe Sgro drives Outerlimits in the SuperVee class. Race officials are hoping for around 20 boats in the smaller C1, C2 and C225 classes, while local racers will take part in a Pro Marathon race on Friday.
“This is the largest international power boat racing festival of its kind ever to be staged in this part of the world,” said UIM Commissioner Sami Abu Shaikha. “Sheikh Hassan and the staff at the QMSF have done a tremendous job to organise an event on this scale and to attract teams from all over the world.”
Today, the race timetable kicks off with inshore testing from 9am for the smaller C1 and C2 class boats. The SuperCar Lite entries take to the offshore course from 10am and are replaced by the SuperVee and Supercat entries for further testing from 11am.
The C225 boats take centre stage for testing and pole position at 1pm and the SuperCar Lite, SuperVee and SuperCat entries take part in their pole position sessions from 2pm through to 4pm.
9am – 10am: Inshore time testing (C1 and C2)
10am – 11am: Offshore time testing (SuperCat Lite)
11am – 12 noon: Offshore time testing (SuperVee and SuperCat)
1pm – 2pm: Inshore time testing and pole position (C225)
2pm – 3pm: Offshore pole position (SuperCat Lite)
3pm – 4pm: Offshore pole position (SuperVee and SuperCat)
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