ABU DHABI - October 28, 2013 - Emerging as a Grand Prix just nine short years ago, The Grand Prix of Qatar which will host drivers from 13 different nations at the start of a whirlwind three races in four weekends beginning with the 11th Grand Prix of Qatar on the 22nd and 23rd of November, has quickly become a cherished tradition on the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour.
In recent history, it had become the kickoff venue on the calendar, starting the racing season in two of the past three years and four of the last eight campaigns. The event, boasts six different drivers claiming victory in the ten previous starts making it one of the most unpredictable events to pick for a "sure fire" winner on the tour.
The race, situated in a beautiful park along the corniche in the city center of Doha, is not only one of the most captivating venues on the water, but one of the most challenging in the world as well.
The course, being just footsteps away from the open Persian Gulf, its notorious for it's tricky conditions that will test the talents of the world's most skillful drivers on water to their fullest as they begin the second half of the 2013 campaign.
The circuit, which for the past few years has been known as a very fast rectangular four-pin course, has been changed for the 2013. The event, will now feature a six turn race course which will be a real challenge. There will be more passing lanes opening up, for drivers, who's skill will be shown to the fullest to the expectedly large and boisterous crowds that always attend.
The host club, the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), has had great success at their "home" venue with American Jay Price winning twice back in 2010 and 2011. Qatar's current two-time defending World Champion Alex Carella of Italy hasn't won yet but has reached the podium twice in three starts in Doha including a second to his then teammate Price back in 2011.
New addition to the Qatar Team Shaun Torrente of Miami, Florida out dueled his teammate Carella a year ago starting from the back of the field only to charge up and finish one place in front of the talented Italian taking fourth place at days end.
This year, both Carella, who is tied for the championship lead with 44 points and his teammate Torrente are again favorites to fight for podium places on home waters.
Chasing them will be a host of drivers including co-points leader Sami Selio of Finland. Sami will lead his Mad Croc organization looking to win here for the first time in his career. The driver from Helsinki is tied with Italian Francesco Cantando of the Singha Team for the most starts along the corneche with ten.
Selio, who won the opening round event at the Grand Prix of Brazil back in June, is chasing his 12th career victory and hoping to equal Jay Price's total, which is sixth best all-time in the history of the sport.
Team Abu Dhabi has their pair of drivers each winning once in Doha with Abu Dhabi resident Thani Al Qamzi taking the victory in 2007 and having reached the podium three times in his nine previous starts and sits fifth in the championship with 22 points.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Al Hameli, still recovering and fighting back from his serious physical condition of a year ago when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, is sitting ninth in the points with two straight top 10 finishes. His last victory came here a year ago in which he dominated the weekend taking pole and never trailing and hoping to find that same magic once again in 2013.
French pilot Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC China Team, a runner-up in the championship a year ago, has also had a banner season thus far earning his first win in his 11 year career in Kyiv along with two podiums in three starts. The driver from Rouen is at the top of his game and hopefully he can use his experience from a year ago when he pulled off a great pass going from fourth to second in Doha on the very last lap to a great advantage this time around.
Philippe sits just five points out of the championship lead and has great confidence going for him as he begins the second half of the season hoping to become the first Frenchman ever to win a F1 H2O World Championship crown.
Swedish driver Jonas Andersson, tied for sixth in the championship with 12 points, driving for the Azerbaijan Team, won his first ever Grand Prix event in Doha back in 2008. The driver from Fruvi has accumulated two top five finishes in his eight previous starts along the Gulf. His new teammate in American Terry Rinker will be making his second start of the year and his first in Doha for the seven-time North American Champion from Tampa, Florida.
Francesco Cantando, the most active winningest driver on the tour with 12 victories has 10 previous starts in Doha. His best has been a second place finish in 2009 for the driver who is tied for sixth in the title with 12 points on the year. His teammate on the tour fellow Italian Valerio Lagianella sits 10th with three points in the driver standings missing the last event in Liuzhou, China back in October.
The world's most talented drivers will take to the Persian Gulf in downtown Doha for the fourth round of the racing calendar and the 11th Grand Prix of Qatar on the 22nd and 23rd of November.
The extraordinary history of the event coupled with the drama of eight drivers still chasing their dreams for a title at the start of a marathon three Grand Prix's in four weeks make this first step a key in the hopes and dreams of winning the 30th Anniversary Edition of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship.
You will be able to follow both the Qualifying for pole position on the 22nd and the Grand Prix on the 23rd "live" via the World Television Broadcast feed by going to the tours official website at www.f1h2o.com.
Be In The Know - With F1 H2O!
|Thani Al Qamzi||14|
|Ahmed Al Hameli||14|
|U.I.M. F1H2O Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi|
|Thursday November 20|
|10:15 - 11:15||First Free Practice|
|15:30 - 16:30||Qualifications|
|Q1 - Q2 - Q3|
|Friday November 21|
|10:15 - 11:15||Second Free Practice|
|15:30 - 16:15||Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi|
|UIM F1H2O World Championship|
|UAE||Abu Dhabi||Nov 21|
|UIM Nations Cup|
|date and venue could be changed|
|Middle East (Doha, Qatar)|
|02||Philippe Chiappe||+ 10.32 secs|
|03||Sami Selio||+ 14.77 secs|