In this weekend’s second round of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship just outside the city of Kyiv, two new faces will make an impact at the third annual Grand Prix of Ukraine. The three day weekend program kicks off tomorrow afternoon at 18:00 local (15:00 GMT) with the all-important battle for pole position with drivers from 12 different countries in the hunt for the number one position off the dock for Saturday's action on the Kyiv Sea.
Tommy Wahlsten of Sweden of Team Azerbaijan in action at the UIM F1 H2O powerboat Grand Prix of Ukraine, in Vyshgorod, Kiev, Ukraine
Joining the family of drivers are a pair of pilots who are from opposite sides of the European continent but who have the same passion for driving that has pushed them to the highest level of competition in the world on the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour.
Tommy Wahlsten, the 44 year-old longtime F2 driver joins his friend Jonas Andersson on Team Azerbaijan for the second time in the last two years, replacing Norway's Pal Virik Nilsen in the number 15 Molgaard hull.
The driver from Nora, Sweden, who owns an asphalt paving company, raced once in 2011 in Liuzhou, China qualifying 14th and finishing with two championship points in the ninth position.
'It's great to be in the position to once again have a chance to prove myself in the sport,' said Tom. 'I really enjoy working with Jonas as a senior mechanic with the team and to get a chance to drive is something I always cherish. I'll do my best to get some championship points for the team this weekend.'
For Polish driver Bartek Marzsalek who jumps aboard the Singha F1 Team for the rest of the 2013 campaign, the 28 year-old comes back into the series having spent the last year and one-half lining up proper sponsorship and promotional work that gave him a chance to return to the sport he loves.
'Ever since the Emirates races in December of 2011, I have dedicated myself to returning to the sport and doing it in the proper way,' stated Bartek. 'Now, this weekend we start hopefully our climb up the ladder of success but it will be one wrung at a time, no great rush, since I need more seat time to get my goals completed in the right way.'
Bartek is backed up by his famous father who was a six-time World Champion in the 250 and 350 Hydro classes and taught Bartek how patience was the sure way to success.
'It is my mission to make sure my sponsors throughout Poland are getting more than their monies worth in my experience in the sport. We are going with live television of the Grand Prix this weekend and am excited that everyone in Poland will have a chance to see how we operate on our return to F1 H2O.'
Last year's pole sitter and winner Sami Selio of Finland, who currently leads the 2013 UIM F1 H2O World Championship with 20 points after his dominating victory in Brazil last month, is hoping he can steer his Mad Croc Racing BABA hull to his 21st career pole tomorrow evening.
American Shaun Torrente and his teammate Italian two-time reigning World Champion Alex Carella will be hoping to continue their early season success with podium places for the second straight event of 2013 on Saturday for the Qatar Team.
Drivers from four different continents will take to the very rough Kyiv Sea and it's six corners tomorrow afternoon for qualifying and again on Saturday's race marking the 249th career Grand Prix race start of the four decade history of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship.