F1 Top UIM F1 racers arrive in Doha for Grand Prix of Qatar
2005 FORMULA ONE UIM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
MARINA BAY GRAND PRIX OF QATAR
UIM F1, November 19th, 2005 - round 4 of 6
For immediate release
Thursday, November 17th, 2005
WORLD'S TOP UIM F1 RACERS ARRIVE
IN DOHA FOR SATURDAY'S GRAND PRIX
QMSF officials prepare for thrilling Marina Bay spectacle
DOHA (Qatar): The world's leading Formula One power boat racers arrived in Doha over the last couple of days to prepare for Saturday's Marina Bay Grand Prix of Qatar, the fourth round of this year's Formula One UIM World Championship and the second counting round of the Asian-Pacific series.
The State of Qatar is hosting a round of the world series for the first time and officials at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) have had little time to recover from the rigours of back-to-back UIM Class One races before a different team of UIM officials, media and competitors arrived in the Arabian Gulf.
~It is great to see everyone arriving here for the weekend's racing,~ said His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation. ~We put a lot of work into attracting a round of this championship to Doha and welcome all our overseas visitors and hope that everyone has a safe and successful weekend's racing.~
All the leading championship contenders have made it to Doha and carried out technical scrutineering and official registration duties today (Thursday).
The main focus will be on the eight-times World Champion Guido Cappellini, bidding to rewrite the history books by taking a ninth title. He leads the championship by 17.5 points, but the outcome is far from settled and had only been decided on four previous occasions before the final rounds in the Middle East. Teams will tackle a further two races in December in Abu Dhabi after this Saturday's spectacle.
Cappellini and last year's World Champion Scott Gillman will start as favourites to take the Grand Prix win in Qatar. Twice World Champion Gillman is the lead driver for the Emirates Team and has led all three races so far this season in Portugal, Italy and Singapore, with only the runner-up spot in Portugal to show for his efforts. He and Cappellini were deprived of a finish in Singapore following a spectacular crash and Gillman now lies sixth in the points standings.
Finland's Sami Selio is Cappellini's closest challenger and has a new Baba boat for the Doha race. He was 12th at the first race meeting in Portimao and went on to take a pair of second places. But he has never won a Formula One race and the normally-calm waters of Marina Bay could well be the place to break his duck.
Francesco Cantando has finished second overall in the World Championship on three occasions and lies fourth in the series. He has 11 career wins to his name and trails Fabio Comparato by 2.5 points for third position. The Italian earned third in Portugal, sixth in Italy and fourth in Singapore and is the most consistent of the front-runners this season.
Middle East attention will focus on the experienced Saudi Arabian racer Laith Pharaon. He has taken a hat-trick of fifth places this year in his Team Green entry, but he has good memories of racing in the Middle East. Two of his three career wins were taken in the region.
Gillman's Emirates Team partner Thani Al-Qamzi lies in the lower reaches of the top 10, courtesy of a seventh, ninth and 10th placing on the opening three rounds. The Abu Dhabi racer is currently in his fifth full season of racing and Qatar could be the place to improve on his career-best second place at the Grand Prix of Germany two years ago. Host nation Qatar will be represented by newcomer Mohammed Al-Ali, taking part as part of the Rainbow Team, which usually includes racers Fabrizio Bocca and Valerio Lagiannella.
The inaugural Marina Bay Grand Prix of Qatar meeting will take place on an eight-pin, 2.125 kms course, featuring a pair of 600 metre straights.
Tomorrow (Friday) will be the first of two hectic days' competitive action around the Doha Bay course for the world's finest Formula One racers. Free practice will be followed by special two-seater power boat rides for sponsors and VIPs.
Competitors will be permitted the first of two sets of time trials between 12.30 hrs and 13.15 hrs and the second time trial starting at 14.30 hrs, before the Formula One powerboat shoot-out to determine Pole Positions takes place between 15.45 hrs and 16.15 hrs.
The Marina Bay Grand Prix of Qatar 2005 begins at 14.30 on Saturday afternoon.
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