F1 Doha prepares for F1 powerboat racing bonanza
2008 UIM F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Qatar Grand Prix – March 29th, round 1 of 9
For immediate release
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
DOHA PREPARES FOR F1 POWERBOAT
SEASON’S OPENING RACE BONANZA
QMSF work to prepare facilities to highest UIM standards
DOHA (Qatar): The stunning Doha Corniche, near to the Sheraton Hotel, was a hive of activity on Wednesday, as teams, officials and members of the media involved with the UIM F1 World Powerboat Championship made their final preparations for Saturday’s opening round of the prestigious nine-round championship, which runs from late March to mid December this year.
Staff at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) in Doha have worked in unison with staff from Idea Marketing to set up the complex communications system and racing facilities to ensure that Saturday’s race will run to the exacting standards of the sport’s governing body, the UIM.
The calendar shift to the end of March means that QMSF staff have been working on a pair of World Championship events in the space of four weeks, following the Class 1 Qatar Grand Prix on March 1st.
Under the presidency of Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the QMSF is now one of the most progressive organisations in world marine sports’ racing and Doha is buzzing at the thought of welcoming the world’s finest F1 racers for the second time in five months – Qatar hosted rounds five and six of the thrilling 2007 series in November 2007.
“We have moved the course along the Corniche this time,” said Mohammed Al-Jaidah, Head of Formula Racing at the QMSF. “It has a similar lap distance, but we have turned the course around, so that the yellow buoy is on the opposite side and we are closer to the action on the shore and can benefit from some deeper water. The course is homologated and the UIM are happy with everything. It should be much warmer than November. There is a chance of some northerly winds at the weekend, but these should not present a problem.”
Al-Jaidah’s team of full-time QMSF staff and volunteers could number as many as 60 people on race day (Saturday), but he admits that the goal on Wednesday afternoon was to finalise the pit area for all the teams and ensure that all the communications were in working order for the world’s media and the official television crew. “Once we are happy with everything, we announce at the first briefing that the course is ready and then we can finalise the talks with Osprey about the safety plan to make sure everything runs smoothly over the weekend.”
The Qatar Team has a good chance of reaching the podium on Saturday afternoon, with Louisiana-based Jay Price fronting the three-man Qatar Team, which also includes Doha-based debutants Ahmed Al-Fayyad and Yousef Al-Khulaifi. Price finished fifth in last year’s UIM F1 World Championship, after a disappointing set of results during the middle of the season, but the team is confident that he can regularly feature on the podium this season with the new boat.
Price’s main rivals this weekend are sure to be the multiple Italian World Champion Guido Cappellini, defending champion Sami Selio, from Finland, and the promising Emirati driver Thani Al-Qamzi. Other potential front-runners include Sweden’s Jonas Andersson, Selio’s Italian team mate Massimo Roggiero and the Australian brothers, Bob and David Trask, from the XPV Racing team.
F1 racers will take to the water on the five-pin course in Doha Bay for the first time on Friday morning, when drivers will be permitted a first one-hour free practice session. Thursday will be spent completing pre-race preparations and ensuring that all the necessary paperwork is in order and event formalities are carried out.
Timetable of events – Doha Corniche
Thursday, March 27th
10.00-18.00 Technical scrutineering
12.00-14.00 Team registration
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).