ABU DHABI - One of the world's largest boat shows, now in its 72nd year, The "Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show" attracted many UIM F1 H2O World Championship representatives including past and present drivers as well as various dignitaries of the four decade racing series who were part of the 100,000 attendees to the five day event this past week.
Two of the most notable, were, His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), along with retired F1 pilot Laith Pharaon spotted at the Mercury Marine Hi-Performance exhibit in the main hall at the giant Miami Beach Convention Center.
Sheikh Hassan, a notable and talented offshore racer in his own right, came together with UIM F1 H2O Promotor Nicolo di San Germano, bringing the world renowned F1 tour to the center of the city of Doha back in 2005.
The tradition will continue once again this November on the 22nd and 23rd of the month, marking the 11th Grand Prix of Qatar held along the cornice just inside the Gulf on a very challenging and fast four pin race circuit.
Also attending the Miami International Boat Show was one of Sheikh Hassan's Qatar Team key drivers, Shaun Torrente, who was at the event making personal appearances while enjoying the exhibits with his family driving over from his new home base on the West Coast of Florida.
For Laith Pharaon, it was like old home week, for the retired three time winner on the tour who was visiting old friends. Laith, now enjoys a quieter life, racing Hobie Cat sailboats in his spare time away from his work schedule in Miami.
"It's great to see old friends and hear all the old stories," said Laith. "I had a great time in my seven years of racing F1. Now things are a little slower paced but I am enjoying my life with my family in Miami but will never forget all my friends I've left behind on the tour. I hope to see another Grand Prix in the near future."
The Saudi Arabian driver is 17th all-time in the history of the sport. He competed in 49 Grand Prix's and earned a well respected 252.5 points during that period. His first win was in Malaysia in 2001 followed by back to back victories in Abu Dhabi in 2002 and 2003.
Laith, who came over from the world of Offshore racing, attended his first event at the Grand Prix of France in Chalon in 2000. He would go on to finish with 13 podiums and 19 top five efforts in the 29 races he completed. His last Grand Prix start was at the Grand Prix of Sharjah in 2006.
The 2013 UIM F1 H2O World Championship Series will mark the 30th season of racing and will introduce a new continent to its schedule with the advent of the first ever Grand Prix of Brazil in Brasilia on 1-2 of June.
The season will carry through to the 6th of December with the Grand Prix of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates as well over 20 drivers from 15 different nations are expected as they hope to drive two-time defending World Champion Alex Carella from the Qatar Team off his perch as he starts just his fourth season in F1.
All the action can be followed by going to the tours official website at www.f1h2o.com.
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