Grand Prix of Russia 2011 is the third stop on the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour and will be held over the weekend of 16th and 17th July.
by Philippe Stiernon
Three different drivers all World Champions from two different continents are set to take up the challenge and bragging rights to see who is best, in the city of Kazan this weekend.
The weekend's activity begins tomorrow with knockout qualifying to set the field of drivers and pole position beginning at 1600 local and 1200 GMT with all eyes glued on a trio of drivers who combined have accumulated seven World titles during this one hour battle to see who's quickest on Nizhny Kaban Lake in central Kazan.
Defending World title holder Sami Selio from Helsinki, Finland driving for the Mad Croc F1 Team is coming into the race sitting sixth in the championship having earned a fourth place finish at the last Grand Prix in Portimao, Portugal after dropping out of the opening event in Doha leading most of the race and failing to pick up any points.
'We've set the pace early in the year but don't have many points,' said Sami. 'I hope we can keep our streak alive and win here for the second straight year and get back into the title race.'
Leading the championship in dominating fashion is Qatar Team driver Jay Price of New Orleans, Louisiana who has won both races of the 2011 campaign in Doha and Portugal earning 40 points and leads by 10 points over his teammate Alex Carella of Italy. Jay earned the 2008 title and came runner-up in the chase to Selio who won for the second time in 2010 after also winning in 2007.
'The whole team is working hard and we have a lot of confidence leading into this race here in Kazan,' noted Jay. 'We all have worked hard for the past seven weeks and since I've won in Russia before we can do it again in '11 as well.'
The most decorated of the three World Champions is American Scott Gillman who returns to occupy the suspended seat of his team member Ahmed Al Hameli who was suspended after receiving a red card for dangerous driving at the Grand Prix of Portugal. Scott, who is Team Manager, retired from racing following the Chinese in X'ian in 2007 because of medical reasons while leading the championship.
The Los Angeles, California driver has won titles in 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2006 and is starting for the 90th race of his career. 'I am excited about helping out the team here in Kazan and also looking forward to the opportunity to do this,' said Gillman. 'It's been four years since I've officially ran but I've done a lot of testing during the past few years and feel it won't take long before I can smile again in the cockpit. We'll see what happens. I'll enjoy it for sure.'
Seventeen drivers from 11 different countries will take to the water tomorrow morning for practice before qualifying at 1600 local time. Thousands of race fans from throughout the region will get their first taste of these 220 kph boats pulling up to six g's in the corner making this the most exciting sport on water for the 12th Grand Prix of Russia and the third round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship for power boating.
All the qualifying and the Grand Prix of Russia on Sunday at 1600 local and 1200 GMT will be available on the official website
of the tour as part of the Worldwide television broadcast feed. F1 H20 Championship website
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2:36 PM Fri 15 Jul 2011 GMT
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