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Qatar Team Could Field Two Boats in H1 Unlimited Opener

In a press release yesterday, Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), and Ellstrom Racing team owner Erick Ellstrom announced that they have reached an agreement with the Our Gang Racing (OGR) team to enter its H1 Unlimited race boat in the 2013 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship as the Spirit of Qatar 95.

Kip Brown and Miss Red Dot, the Our Gang Racing team hydroplane, will be racing under the Spirit of Qatar colors next week at the Oryx Cup, the 2013 H1 Unlimited season opener.

Kip Brown and Miss Red Dot, the Our Gang Racing team hydroplane, will be racing under the Spirit of Qatar colors next week at the Oryx Cup, the 2013 H1 Unlimited season opener.

The familiar red, blue, yellow and white color scheme of the Miss Red Dot hydroplane will be replaced by the white and maroon colors of the flag of Qatar in a scheme identical to the 2012 livery of the Spirit of Qatar 96, which was badly damaged in the January running of the 2012 Oryx Cup on Qatar’s Doha Bay (see “Spirit of Qatar Catches Fire, David Claims H1 Championship“).

OGR’s regular driver Kip Brown will be in the cockpit of the replacement Spirit of Qatar when the 2013 H1 Unlimited Air National Guard Series opens with the running of the Oryx Cup in Doha (Feb. 8–12).

Ellstrom originally stated that he had plans A, B and C for fielding an entry in the Doha event, with Plan A being an attempt to make repairs to the team’s damaged boat in time for next weekend’s race.

“The guys wanted a chance to fix the boat and get it back on the water,” Ellstrom said.  “They are making good progress, but it is becoming more and more evident that the damage to the hull and systems is probably just too great to be overcome in such a short period of time. So we move to plan B, which will have us working with Nate and Kip Brown, John O’Brien and Our Gang Racing to field a team for our sponsor.”

Despite catching fire in mid-January at the 2012 Oryx Cup on Qatar's Doha Bay, there's a remote possibility that the Spirit of Qatar 96 will race next weekend in Doha.Despite catching fire in mid-January at the 2012 Oryx Cup on Qatar’s Doha Bay, there’s a remote possibility that the Spirit of Qatar 96 will race next weekend in Doha.

Ellstrom said that the team running the boat will be a combination of the two teams, adding, ”Four of our guys will be there working with the OGR team and we look forward to working with their great team and driver.”

Ellstrom did not rule out an appearance by his damaged boat.

“We will see how far it gets by February 8,” he said. “If we think the hull is stable and the critical systems are functioning, we may put a motor in it and see how it runs.”

Time will tell, but it’s possible fans may see identical boats with Qatar colors in the pit area on the Corniche in Doha.

Photos courtesy H1 Unlimited

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