The UIM F1 H2O World Powerboat Championship second half of the 2012 campaign is heading to the Far East and stronghold of The People's Republic of China where it's become a strong tradition over the years.
The city of Liuzhou, located on the banks of the winding Liu River in the Guangxi Region in the southern part of the country, which is just 537 km from Hong Kong to it's South and 1,852 miles Southeast from Beijing, will play host to the Grand Prix of China for the fifth time since its first event in 2008.
This year marks the 18th Grand Prix for the UIM F1 H2O World Championship in its history in the world's most populated country dating back seventeen years ago.
Italian Guido Cappellini came home winning in front of Belgium driver Danny Bertels and Japanese pilot Yutaka Sugihara in front of hundreds of thousands of race fans in Hangzhou at the very first event on the 29th of October in 1995. The 10-time World Champion from Como would go on to win three more times in 1996, 2007 and 2009 being the only four time winner in China.
Sami Selio of Finland has won three times, earning his first victory in Shenzhen in 2008 ahead of American Jay Price and Ahmed Al Hameli of the UAE. The two-time World Champion and lead driver for the Mad Croc Racing Team took victories a year later in Liuzhou and once again just in front of Jay Price and in Shenzhen also in 2009.
Another retired driver, who is a multi-time winner, is Scott Gillman as the driver from the USA. The driver from Los Angeles took victories in Shanghai in 2004 and Chongzhou in 2006 and was on his way to winning another event before dropping out while leading in 2007 in Xi'An because of medical reasons.
His fellow countryman, Price, is the only two-time winner in Liuzhou. Jay connected with his first victory during his championship season in 2008 ahead of Australian David Trask. He won again in 2010 with Emirati Thani Al Qamzi and Italian Francesco Cantando chasing him, with Francesco coming home for the final podium position in third.
Speaking of Cantando, the driver from Milan has had a great run of results in China recently. His win in Shenzhen in 2010, is sandwiched along with two runner-up positions in 2009 in Liuzhou and Shenzhen, along with a third in Liuzhou in 2010 marking four podiums in the last three seasons. This is more than any other driver in recent years for this 16-year veteran.
Team Abu Dhabi driver Al Qamzi is the defending race winner and has a streak of his own. Thani has been on a roll lately, having reached the podium in the last three races along the Liu River. He is also a multi time winner in China taking a win back in 2007 Xi'An.
As the two day schedule of qualifying followed by the fifth Grand Prix in Liuzhou on the first and second of October comes into play, the People's Republic of China stands proud with a tradition of supporting the world's most exciting sport on water the UIM F1 H2O World Championship series since its inception in the country dating back to 1995.
Seventeen previous races, hilted by nine different drivers from six different countries, have shined in the spotlight and taken their performances to the top step of the podium. Now, in its third decade of racing, the question now begs to be answered, who will be the one to shine in 2012?
We are just a few weeks away from finding out at the 18th Grand Prix of China in Liuzhou on the first and second of October. UIM F1 H20 World Powerboat Championship website