EVENT UPDATE (June 22): Qatar’s Shaun Torrente and defending world champion Alex Carella recorded pole position and the second fastest time in qualifying for Saturday’s Grand Prix of the Republic of Tatarstan on the Nizhny Kaban Lake in Kazan on Friday afternoon. Click here to read more.
After an early season break, the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) F1 H2O World Championship resumes this weekend in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia.
Since the Grand Prix of Qatar in Doha Bay at the start of March, the team, which is fielded by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), has been keeping in race trim with a recent three-day test session on the Po River in Italy (see previous story).
“We were in Italy to test the boats with Alex and Shaun on the Po River,” said Khalid bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing for QMSF, which runs under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani. “It was a good opportunity for us to try and select the correct propellers for the race and for qualifying, and we found the session very useful. It was also good practice for our drivers after such a long break.”
Al-Kuwari is confident that improvements have been made to the Italian-built DAC boats since Torrente and Carella finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the opening round of the series behind race winner Ahmed Al-Hameli of Team Abu Dhabi, Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe and Finland’s Sami Selio.
The weekend’s action gets underway with technical inspections on Thursday afternoon and the first of the free practice sessions on Friday morning. Qualification for Saturday’s F1 Grand Prix of the Republic of Tatarstan will start in the evening. There will be a second free practice session on Saturday morning prior to the main event on Saturday afternoon.
“It was fantastic that we were able to get almost three days of solid testing in,” said Carella, talking about the Po River test session. “We’ve learned a few more things about our boats and feel we have made them faster and this was our goal.
“It was a treat to have Shaun bring his wife along and, with my girlfriend, the four of us were able to do some great bonding,” he continued. “This, I feel, is so important when it comes to having a true race team ‘family.’”