Saturday, 19 July, ARENDAL (Norway): Torrential downpours and poor visibility forced race officials to cancel today’s Edox Pole Position, announcing that the times set by the teams in tomorrow’s one hour morning practice session will determine the line-up for the 17-lap, 96.70Nm BMW Norwegian Grand Prix.

Although over half of the ten-strong fleet managed to tackle the 5.62Nm circuit, several teams failed to set qualifying times due to heavy rain storms which reduced visibility, forcing the organisers to red-flag the session twice before eventually abandoning it.

Despite the fact that none of the times that were posted during the session counted, it was Team Qatar’s Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani and Steve Curtis who went quickest, setting the best time of the day covering the 5.62Nm lap in 3m19.92s, over three seconds quicker than World Championship leaders, Victory 1’s Mohammed Al Marri and Nadir Bin Hendi. There was also a good showing by home favourites, Inge Brigt Aarbakke and Jorn Tandberg in Jotun, who have impressed in both practice sessions, setting the third quickest time of 3m 26.07s.

While nothing can be gleamed from the aborted qualifying session, it was a positive response by Qatar 96 crew Sheikh Hassan and Curtis, who earlier in the day won their appeal against the ‘yellow card’ issued as a result of a collision with Victory 7 in the Russian Grand Prix in Moscow.

The season may not be at the ‘win-or-bust’ stage yet, but Sheikh Hassan and Curtis know that they need to finish ahead of Al Marri and Bin Hendi and start to reduce the point’s gap, with the Dubai duo currently enjoying a 29-point advantage over their Qatari rivals who are down the Championship order in fourth place.

Among those unable to get a clean run in qualifying were Victory 7 crew Abdullah Al Mehairbi and reigning World and European Champion, throttleman Jean-Marc Sanchez, winner of the Norwegian Grand Prix twelve months ago.

For the second race in a row due to the narrowness of the course, the Grand Prix start will see teams lining-up in two rows – five boats in each, with Victory 1 looking to make it four wins from four starts and take the European Championship.