Khalid Al Kuwari of Team Qatar in action at the UIM Nations Cup World Series 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.
DOHA: Qatar’s second UIM Nations Cup precedes the 11th F1 H20 Grand Prix of Qatar in a hectic seven days of marine sports being organised by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) on Doha Bay this week.
Nations Cup entrants took part in their first free practice sessions on the Doha Bay course yesterday before today’s time trials and match races precede further free practice and a pair of sprint races on Wednesday.
Teams entered in the prestigious UIM F1 H20 World Championship then take centre stage between Thursday and Saturday when the QMSF, in conjunction with H20 Racing, stages the 11th Grand Prix of Qatar, the first round of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship. “The goal is simple and that is a fourth straight world title for the Qatar Team,” said Khalid bin Arhama Al Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), which runs under the presidency of Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani.
“First up we have the UIM Nations Cup and Khalid Abdullah Al Kuwari will make up our team for the second time in Qatar. He will then take part in the F-4S races later in the week. Work commitments meant that Mohammed Al Obaidly could not take part, but he will join the team for the F-4S races. Abdulla Ali (pictured), one of our jet-ski guys has taken his place in the team for the Nations Cup.”
The Qatar Team’s Alex Carella is the favourite to chase an unprecedented fourth successive world championship title, when he and team mate Shaun Torrente take to the water on Thursday to kick-start their F1 H20 campaign. First and second in the points’ standings last season, the all-conquering Qatar Team has left nothing to chance in the build-up to a new season of racing.
Winners of the UIM F1 H20 Pole Position, Fast Lap and Team titles in 2013, the Qatar Team knows full well that the opposition has probably upped its preparations during the close season and Carella and Torrente know that they will need podium finishes in Doha if they are to stand better chances of beating the likes of Finland’s Sami Selio, Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe and the Team Abu Dhabi duo of Thani Al Qamzi and Ahmed Al Hameli to this year’s titles.
“Alex came out to Doha early and we planned a test with the whole team for between two and four days, said Al Kuwari. “Alex has a new boat and we wanted to test this thoroughly to see how it performed, with a view to buying one for Shaun. We are also planning a second test after the Qatar race.
“It will not be good to have only four events this year and we are hoping for at least six events. If we get only four races, this puts such a big emphasis on Qatar and all the races, because you are racing with just 80 points at stake.”
Drivers entered in the UIM F-4S Championship will also be in action from Thursday to Saturday, with Khalid Abdullah Al Kuwari and Mohammed Al Obaidly representing the Qatar Team in a competitive championship that was won by Germany’s Mike Szymura in 2013.