|Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, Qatar Team Principal and driver of Qatar 96, has upped the stakes in his bid to land the WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, confirming that he has bought Spirit of Norway 10 from Bjorn Gjelsten in a mega-deal that includes the services of eight-times World Champion, Steve Curtis, and the entire administrative and technical crew behind the multi-championship winning, Spirit of Norway Team. |
"The Qatar team is one of the strongest out on the water today and by adding skilled and talented personnel to the existing package we will add value to the team and will make it more than a handful for our competitors," said Sheikh Hassan, adding. "Indeed, having Steve is by itself an added value. With him onboard along with Matteo we have the best two throttlemen in the sport in the Qatar Team stable."
Gjelsten's decision to put the team up for sale follows his recent retirement, with the emphasis that boat and personnel come as a complete package. "There has been a lot of interest in the boat, but my number one priority was to ensure that my whole team was looked after and included in the deal, if they wanted to be," confirmed Gjelsten. "What was important to me was to sell to someone who I believe is dedicated and capable of taking the team forward as a winning unit, and Sheikh Hassan not only has the dedication but the resources as well. He is buying a very competitive package and it is important to keep the continuity and hopefully the winning formula that we have built up over ten years."
Sheikh Hassan is remaining tight-lipped and keeping his rivals guessing regarding the driver line-up for 2008, but there is a strong probability that he will drive alongside Steve Curtis in Qatar 96, the ex Spirit of Norway 10, with Matteo Nicolini and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti running 96 as Qatar 95.