17 = 95 Spirit of Qatar

Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation and team owner Erick Ellstrom announced today that they have reached an agreement with Our Gang Racing to enter that team’s race boat in the 2013 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship as the 95 Spirit of Qatar.

The familiar red, blue, yellow and white color scheme of the 17 Miss Red Dot will be replaced by the white and maroon colors of the flag of Qatar in a scheme identical to the 2012 livery of the 96 Spirit of Qatar which was badly damaged in the January running of the 2012 Oryx Cup on Doha Bay.

OGR’s regular driver Kip Brown will be in the cockpit of the replacement Spirit of Qatar when the 2013 H1 Unlimited Season opens with the running of the Oryx Cup in Doha February 8–12.

Earlier, Ellstrom had shared 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 the February race.

Photo by Chris denslow - H1

“The guys wanted a chance to fix the boat and get it back on the water,” said Ellstrom.  “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.”

Ellstrom added 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, saying, “We will see how far it gets by February 8th.  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.”

This means fans may see identical boats with Spirit of Qatar colors numbered 95 and 96 in the pit area on the Corniche in Doha.