F1 H2O World Championship Grand Prix of Portugal 2011 is being held in the lovely Algarve coast city of Portimao, next weekend on the 21st and 22nd of May on the Algarve River.
In just over one weeks time Portugal's favorite son Duarte Benavente will do something only a handful of drivers on the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour have ever done, start his 100th career Grand Prix.
To build the drama to an even higher level is the fact that his 100th race will be in front of his many thousands of loyal and rabid fans on home waters for this the 13th Annual year at the Grand Prix of Portugal.
The 40 year-old pilot, who is a 13 year veteran on the tour, brings with him great hope and enthusiasm to his Atlantic Team as he searches for his first Grand Prix victory at a course that he has had many highs and lows at in years past.
'I've raced at every Grand Prix since the first event back in 1999 and I've watched how the city has taken this show and with enthusiasm and pride grown and expanded it year after year making it an even better entertainment weekend package for the family,' said Duarte.
'My favorite memory has to be back two years ago when I finished on the podium with a third place after qualifying seventh in the second race of 2009. Just seeing the many happy faces of my family, friends and loyal supporters made this long journey worthwhile and I hope I can repeat another trip to the podium on this very special upcoming weekend this year.'
Durate's journey to F1 was typical of young racers who had the talent and desire to push themselves to the ultimate racing series on water anywhere in the world where on the UIM F1 H2O tour boats reach speeds of over 225 kph (135mph) and fly around turns at close to six g's in a blink of an eye lap after lap for almost an hour on multi-pin courses around the world.
The rider from Azietao, Portugal is a multi-time F4 World Champion and has competed also in F2 having success at every step of the way reaching F1 in 1999. In his previous 99 career Grand Prix events, Duarte's best finish was a second place finish in 2003 in Abu Dhabi along with four total podium finishes and 11 top-five performances over the years.
During his 11 full season's of F1 racing, Duarte has earned 267.5 points. His career also has had him involved in six accidents, while not having had a mishap in a racing event since the Grand Prix of Qatar in Doha in 2007.
Duarte's scorecard at his home Grand Prix in Portimao show's one podium, four top-five performances along with six failures to finish including an accident back in the 2002 event.
He has shown well in qualifying, having earned the top five in the starting order a third of the time with his best efforts coming in 2003 and last year as well when he started third off the dock both times, running out of luck however failing to finish either race because of mechanical woes.
The native son of Portugal, who loves to play tennis in his spare time, will be looking to serve up a winning performance on this his 100th career start in the pressure cooker of performing in front of thousands of his loyal race followers.
Duarte will be hoping that this next weekend will be his special memory as he chases his first Grand Prix victory and another story book ending on the podium. This dream result, if it happens, could then be a spring board for him to have more success in 2011. Let's see how this all plays out with this the first race of the 'European Season' of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship for powerboating at the Grand Prix of Portugal in Portimao. Stay tuned.
UIM F1 H2O World Championship Website