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DOHA: The Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) is putting together the final preparations on Doha Corniche for this weekend’s Oryx Cup World Championship, the final round of the 2012 Air National Guard H1 Hydroplane Series, which will be followed at the start of February by the opening round of the 2013 series.
Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), and the team at the QMSF are relishing the prospect of hosting the final round of the 2012 series and the opening round of the 2013 championship in the next few weeks as Qatar kicks off what promises to be another thrilling season of racing.
In 2012, the Qatar Team clinched the UIM F1 H20 World Championship, Pole Position and Fast Lap Slam Trophy titles and the Key West World Championship title.
Dave Villwock will be looking to add the 2012 Oryx Cup World Championship and the National High Points title to that list of achievements this weekend in his boat, U-1 Spirit of Qatar on the Corniche.
“Once again we are delighted to welcome our international visitors and friends to Doha for the fourth Oryx Cup World Championship,” said Sheikh Hassan.
“This is the final race of the 2012 season and was postponed from November to January because China was interested to host an event last year and Doha Bay was already busy with Qatar National Day preparations.” After consultations with drivers and H1 officials, the QMSF has made minor changes to the Doha Bay course, which will host the fastest marine racers on the planet on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“We are also thinking to add an aqua bike marathon race to the timetable and have been working to finalise the plans for other on-water activities.”
H1 Unlimited racing has been dominated by American drivers over the years and has largely been staged in North America, but Sheikh Hassan’s vision and the foresight of the H1 team led by Sam Cole saw Doha host an event for the first time three years ago.
“It was a bit challenging at first to get the hydroplane racing to Qatar,” admits Sheikh Hassan.
“But it was a win-win situation for both H1 Unlimited and the QMSF. Our intention is to become the world capital of power boating and adding the H1 racing was a big boost to our calendar. It also helped H1 market themselves much better outside the United States.”
Drivers and team members have been arriving in Qatar over the last couple of days in preparation for the weekend’s racing, which will feature practice sessions on Thursday, qualifying heats on Friday and further qualifying heats and the Oryx Cup World Championship race on Saturday.