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20,000 spectators expected for F1H2o Saudi Arabia GP

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HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman of the General Sport Authority has been talking about this weekend’s F1H2o ‘Curtain Raiser’ at the Dammam Corniche in Saudi Arabia.

The General Sport Authority is looking to significantly augment the local sports sector with various sports, leisure and tourism activities to boost its development and sustainability and key related sectors such as leisure and tourism, as well as strengthen the Kingdom’s position as a leading destination in the Middle East for the world’s largest events.

We expect to draw more 20,000 spectators from our country and abroad, I take this opportunity to invite everyone to come and enjoy the event.

I would also like to thank the event sponsors, and look forward to the results of the tremendous joint efforts between the various government bodies to provide a modern and unique experience for excitement and adventure seekers.

Sports events hosted by Saudi Arabia in collaboration with global partners send a clear message that the Kingdom is opening its doors to the world and introduce it to its natural wonders and varied terrains, especially in the Eastern Province,

HRH Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Salman, Chairman of the Saudi Water Sports and Diving Federation, commented:

We are proud to be hosting a round of UIM F1H2o World Championship and the 11 countries who are participating in the Dammam race.

It will be the perfect culmination of the Eastern Province tourism season, the first of the recently-launched Saudi Seasons initiative.

Through these water sports, we aim to establish a new sports program of events and activities that will encourage more people to play sports and introduce these types of water sports to Saudi youth.

Shaun Torrente will be defending his 2018 World Championship title, and will again, be driving for Team Abu Dhabi.

Shaun Torrente in Monaco Photo: Chris Davies

Torrente’s team-mate will be Thani Al Qemzi, no change there, although the team were requested not to run 3 drivers in 2019, thus Erik Stark lost his seat.

Erik Stark enjoying the sunshine

However, Stark told me on Saturday that there could be some good news:

I want to race in Portugal, with the same boat that I won with in London last year.

It is still a big Question Mark – I will not do just one race, I want to compete in the whole of the Championship.

I am hoping that we can announce something positive soon.

The Victory Team have an unchanged driver line-up, 4 time World Champion Alex Carella will continue with Ahmed Al Hameli and HE Huraiz Bin Huraiz, Chairman of the Victory Board of Directors was upbeat:

We’ve started testing early this year and I am confident the drivers from Victory Team will be among the early challengers this year.

CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Number 1 driver Philippe Chiappe, will be keeping an eye on a rapidly improving Peter Morin.

Alberto and Fabio Comparato Photo: Chris Davies

2018 UIM F2 World Champion, Alberto Comparato, makes the step-up to F1H2o this year joining Duarte Benavente’s F1 Atlantic Team and he told Chris Davies in Monaco:

In the ‘Old Days’, you took photos of my Father racing in Formula 1, I was just one year old when he came fourth in the World Championship.

It’s amazing that I am here with ‘Papa’ to celebrate my win from last year and next week I start my career in F1H2o.

Sami Seliö and Filip Roms will be racing with the support of the emirate of Sharjah.

Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah International Marine Sports Club explained:

The formation of the Sharjah Formula One team is in line with the strategic objectives of the Government of Sharjah in terms of sports and youth activities.

The teams for sports that align with Sharjah’s values and aspirations supports the Emirate’s goal of achieving excellence in sports and establishing its presence in global forums.

Jonas Andersson confirmed in late January that Erik Edin would be driving for Team Amaravati again this year, having made his F1H2o debut at the end of the 2017 season.

US racer, Greg Foster was confirmed to be racing for Blaze Performance with Francesco Cantando.
Norway’s Marit Strømøy will again have Bartek Marszalek with her at Emirates Racing, while Cédric Deguisne’s Maverick Racing have added Beranger Robart to the all-French team.

1 – Shaun Torrente – Team Abu Dhabi
2 – Thani Al Qemzi – Team Abu Dhabi
3 – Ahmed Al Hameli – Victory Team
44 – Alex Carella – Victory Team
7 – Philippe Chiappe – CTIC F1 Shenzhen China
8 – Peter Morin – CTIC F1 Shenzhen China
9 – Alberto Comparato – F1 Atlantic Team
10 – Duarte Benavente – F1 Atlantic Team
11 – Sami Seliö – Sharjah
12 – Filip Roms – Sharjah
14 – Jonas Andersson – Team Amaravati
15 – Erik Edin – Team Amaravati
36 – Greg Foster – Blaze Performance
37 – Francesco Cantando – Blaze Performance
50 – Marit Strømøy – Emirates Racing
51 – Bartek Marszalek – Emirates Racing
73 – Cédric Deguisne – Maverick Racing
74 – Beranger Robart – Maverick Racing

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