Grand Prix of Russia 2011 is the third race of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour and will be held over the weekend of 16th and 17th July.
by Philippe Stiernon
Just two days remaining before the start of the 12th Grand Prix of Russia and there is a feeling around the paddock here in Kazan that once again a driver from Northern Europe will come up with the right formula that will lead to another F1 victory. But which one?
Four different drivers are in the field and the first, Sami Selio driving for the Mad Croc F1 Team, is the defending champion winning last year from pole position in St. Petersburg while enjoying three podium positions in four starts here in Russia.
'We've done really well here and dominated a year ago in Russia and hope to do the same again this year,' said the Finnish star. 'We may only have nine points for the season but we led most of the opening race of the season in Qatar and feel we can get the magic back again here this weekend. We are confident we'll make a statement.'
The driver who has the most success here is Swedish native Jonas Andersson who has won the 2008 and 2009 events while taking fifth a year ago. He knows that Russia is a place he can show his talents when given the opportunity.
'We are getting focused for a great effort here in Kazan and my crew knows that if we do all the right things we'll have a great chance to continue our good results in the country,' said the Team Sweden driver. 'It's our time to put the hammer down and get back on track since our fifth place finish in Qatar back in March.'
Another Swede, Pierre Lundin of the CTIC China Team is hoping to break his string of bad luck having never reached the top three in any of his previous four races in Russia. His best effort was a fourth place finish in 2008 after starting 10th.
'We have been working feverishly for the past seven weeks to get our engine program to be more reliable and finish a race here in 2011,' said Pierre. 'We have a great crew and this could be the weekend to make another good result. Let's hope so.'
Finally, Norway's favorite racer Marit Stromoy of Team Nautica is coming off a sparkling display of talent and verve when she earned her first ever pole position at the Grand Prix of Portugal in May only to crash out of the event while lead after the first third of the event.
'I think our pole position success proved to everyone that we have the package this year to be taken as a serious threat,' said Marit. 'Now we need to duplicate one more time and finish and prove that we can get that first win or podium and here in Russia we'll be ready to show it off hopefully in a big way.'
Drivers from throughout the world have come to the Nizhny Kaban Lake in downtown Kazan to battle for the third round of the 2011 UIM F1 H2O World Championship and the 12th Grand Prix of Russia. The Scandinavians feel strongly that they have a special place here, but many other European, Middle Eastern and American drivers feel the same.
The showdown begins on Saturday the 16th with the one hour qualifying session to determine Sunday's Grand Prix line-up. Both the qualifying and Grand Prix will start at 1600 local and 1200 GMT. All the qualifying and racing action can been seen by going to the official website
of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship series. F1 H20 Championship website
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3:19 PM Thu 14 Jul 2011 GMT
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