ABU DHABI - April 17, 2013 - With just six weeks to go to the beginning of the 2013 UIM F1 H2O World Championship for power boating and the historic first race on the South American continent at the inaugural Grand of Brazil in the capital city of Brasilia on 1-2 of June, race teams from all over the world are scheduling last minute test sessions while fine tuning of their programs in preparation before shipping them South of the equator.
An organization, who is never satisfied with what seems to be a never ending string of success, is going full force this week in Northern Italy on the Po River in Casale-Monferrato putting the finishing touches on a winter full of testing back home in the United Arab Emirates.
Team Abu Dhabi, led by Race Team Manager and four-time World Champion Scott Gillman, flew earlier this week set for a grueling week of preparation in defending their last season's Team Championship.
"We are never satisfied," said the native Californian. "We are planning to bring to the table a lot of surprises this season that will keep the competition guessing and at the same time continue our fast pace finish to last season."
The driver line-up continues to be a "work in progress" with known returnee Thani Al Qamzi back for his 13th season. Thani finished 2012 on a giant high with a win at the final round at the Grand Prix of Sharjah after taking a podium second place at his home Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi the week before.
Thani's back to back successes in those final two events propelled him to third place in the standings with 60 points. He finished third in the World Drivers Championship for the third time in four years, marking it the fourth time in the last seven campaigns he has accomplished this feat but still searching for that elusive first world title.
"I think Thani is going to be "super hungry" in his approach to the title this season as he realizes he'll be counted on as the full-time number one driver in 2013," stated Gillman.
Working along side Thani, as his teammate, will be budding star Rashed Al Tayer. Rashed, is another of those pipeline of talented Abu Dhabi trained drivers who seem to pop up every year. Al Tayer comes over to help from Class-1 Offshore where he finished second in the title a year ago for the Team Abu Dhabi organization.
"Rashed is a multi-talented driver," said Scott. "He came into boat racing after dominating in Jet-Ski's finishing 3rd in the Presidents Cup back in 2007. He has performed really well at a high level in the Nations Cup series so we think he's ready to have a busy summer with us."
The 34 year-old driver, who was born in Dubai but now makes his home in Abu Dhabi, made his debut in Class-1 Offshore competition oddly enough in Brazil in 2010 and will do the same this year in F1 H2O competition at the opening round in Brasilia on the first weekend of June.
Joining this duo, possibly once again, will be Hall-of-Fame driver Gillman, who entered the final two rounds of the 2012 season. The American, who brought world titles to the team in 2000, 2004 and 2006, continues to make more modifications on his engine development program which will be tested this week.
The two Massimo Roggiero built BABA hulls have been modified from the building facilities just outside Milan, Italy and these upcoming week long test will be crucial to see if they have improved the performance.
Roggiero, is hungry for another title. The one-time driver and three time winner on the series is looking for a world number one on his hull which hasn't happened since Finland's Sami Selio did so during the 2010 campaign.
Any discussion about Team Abu Dhabi's line-up of driving talent can't be discussed without mentioning talented pilot Ahmed Al Hameli. The 34 year-old driver,who a year ago was forced to stop his dream of winning his first title after discovering he had developed a brain tumor, has since been getting constant treatment for his condition in both America and his hometown of Abu Dhabi.
The latest reports for the driver Al Hameli, who was leading the World Drivers Championship at mid-season by a comfortable margin after a victory at the season's opening round in Doha, Qatar followed by back to back runner-up podiums in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia and at the Kiev Region in Ukraine, are that he is improving and everyone at the ADIMSC (Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club) are hoping he may possibility return to racing. This however, is still speculative at the moment.
Meanwhile, Team Abu Dhabi, winners of the Team Championship of the sport for six of the past 10 racing seasons, are gearing up to push themselves and the competition to the limit looking for another top step on the podium at the end of the year.
So, with talented rookie driver Rashed Al Tayer joining seven time winner Thani Al Qamzi, who has accumulated 635 points in his 12 previous years of racing, along with possible Hall-of-Fame participant and Race Team Manager Scott Gillman, who has reached podiums in 90% of his finishes added to that 23 career victories in his illustrious career, tied in with a hopeful return of Ahmed Al Hameli, Team Abu Dhabi once again will be setting a giant standard for any organization wishing to take away their defending Team Championship.
It all begins for them this week on the Po River in Italy.
Let the Grand Prix events for the historic 30th year of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship begin. It's going to prove to be a very memorable and exciting competition in 2013!
You can follow all the news and the up to the minute race competition by going to the series website at www.f1h2o.com.
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