ABU DHABI - Friday, 21 June - For the third straight year a unique and action packed weekend of racing is coming to the shores of the Kiev Sea as the most challenging series of racing on water, UIM F1 H2O World Championship, comes to Kiev for the 3rd Annual Grand Prix of Ukraine for three full days of excitement on the 26th, 27th and 28th of July.
This second stop on the 2013 F1 H2O tour has an added element of not only the normal Grand Prix weekend, but on Sunday, the 28th of July the special "President Cup" Match Race that will be run as the world's most talented drivers strut their skills in a different direction trying to see who's fastest in a two heat "drag race" format.
Tens of thousands of fans come out early to watch this very unique competition with French pilot and last years runner-up in drivers championship Philippe Chiappe coming back to defend his title driving for the CTIC China Team.
"Winning here last year in the Match Race was a great way to end my weekend in the Ukraine since I just missed out in earning my third straight podium by finishing fourth in the Grand Prix," stated Philippe. "Now, I'd like to be the first person ever to win two straight drag racing extravaganzas in Kiev, especially for the great fans that cheered me on to victory a year ago. I'll never forget that."
Finishing second last summer, after winning the Match Race in 2011, is Team Abu Dhabi driver Ahmed Al Hameli, who following Kiev a year ago, discovered he had a brain tumor that needed immediate attention. This after complaining about constant headaches, shortly following the Grand Prix, Ahmed was flown to the John Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States for surgery.
"I feel stronger everyday and am looking forward to Kiev next month in the worst way," said Ahmed. "I've won the Grand Prix and Match Race back in 2011 and have dreamed about doing the same in 2013. Maybe the "odd" years are my years I can't wait to find out if '13 is going to be as lucky as '11."
The Grand Prix along the Kiev sea in the city of Vyshgorod just outside city center was a marathon two day event a year ago. High winds and rough water conditions forced the competitors of the Grand Prix, which started on Saturday afternoon to wait until Sunday morning to complete the event.
Fastest qualifier and pole sitter Sami Selio of the Mad Croc Team would eventually come home with the victory but not until an almost "soap opera" event filled with a dramatic ending after he lost his lead on a re-start only to get it back when bad luck struck Shaun Torrente of the Qatar Team.
The Florida driver had taken the opportunity to "out drag" Selio on the first re-start of the race moving into first place and held it until the final re-start. With less than six laps remaining Shaun's equipment failed him and he came to a heart breaking stop with just a few tours to go.
Sami, always putting on pressure as one would expect from a two-time World Champion, cruised into first place and won for the 10th time in his career. The driver from Helsinki, Finland comes to Kiev leading the Drivers Championship with 20 points following an easy first race win a month ago at the season opener at the Grand Prix of Brazil in Brasilia.
"We were very pleased with our progress throughout the weekend and what a great way to start the season," said Sami. "Normally my seasons start slowly and I have to always force myself to come charging back into the picture, so this is a nice change, for once, leading the championship after round one."
Torrente sits second after coming home a close second behind Selio in Brazil with his heralded teammate Alex Carella reaching the podium and third in Brazil for the 16th time of his short but brilliant early career in F1.
Drivers from four different continents are expected to be on hand, on the longest and as always extra special Grand Prix weekend on the calendar, for the Kiev Region event and the 3rd Annual Grand Prix of Ukraine on the 26th thru the 28th of July for the second round of the 2013 UIM F1 H2O World Championship.
You can follow all the latest news and watch both qualifying and the Grand Prix live via the worldwide television feed by going to the series official website at www.f1h2o.com.
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