With the upcoming Grand Prix of Middle East—round three of the 2014 UIM F1 H2O World Championship—this weekend, as well as the following week’s Oryx Cup (the final round of the 2014 H1 Unlimited series), the Qatar Marine Sports Federation is preparing for one of its most important two-week periods in the annual calendar.
Qatar Team driver Alex Carella has a big points lead in the F1 H2O World Championships coming into this weekend’s race in Doha, Qatar.
The QMSF crew is putting the finishing touches on the pit and spectator areas in and around Qatar’s Doha Bay in preparation for the on-water action, which gets underway with free practice for the F1 H2O racers on Thursday.
“The policy of the QMSF has always been to target major events to attract as many fans as we can,” said an enthused QMSF President Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani. “We have been building a fan base for the federation at home and have been successful in attracting local Qataris to start competing in various boating disciplines, which all bodes well for a strong future for marine sports here in Qatar.”
Sheikh Hassan and the Spirit of Qatar Team did not take part in last weekend’s races at Key West in Florida (read the story check out speedonthewater.com’s complete Key West coverage) and instead placed an emphasis on making sure the organization hosts the best races ever on Doha Bay over the next two weeks.
The Qatar Team has dominated the F1 H2O World Championship in recent seasons and the team’s defending champion from Italy—Alex Carella—holds a commanding lead after winning the opening races in Qatar in March and China last month. Carella’s teammate, Florida driver Shaun Torrente, is eighth in the standings.
“Alex and Shaun have done a lot this year,” Sheikh Hassan said. “They have been racing hard and delivering what they promised for the Qatar Team. I feel they have a very strong chance of claiming the top two places on the podium on Saturday. We are also hoping to take delivery of a couple of new boats for Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari and Mohammed Al-Obaidly to use in the F-4S support races on Friday and Saturday.”
Meanwhile, the QMSF also announced that the experienced Canadian racer Jean Theoret has replaced Kip Brown and will occupy the hot seat of the Spirit of Qatar hydroplane at the Oryx Cup (Nov. 20-22).
Brown is receiving medical treatment Stateside for a herniated disc in his back and the team considers six-time H1 race winner Theoret an excellent replacement. His six wins came between 2005 and 2009 and include the APBA Detroit Gold Cup in 2006.
“The new driver was the selection of both myself and Erick Ellstrom of Ellstrom Racing,” Sheikh Hassan said. “We talked about different names before the selection took place and we both agreed that Jean can deliver what is expected from him at the Oryx Cup.”
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