World's top Aquabike Racers begin countdown to race heats on Doha Bay

World's top Aquabike Racers begin countdown to race heats on Doha Bay

13.11.2013: 2013 UIM-ABP AQUABIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar, November 13-16– round 3

Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar, November 13-16– round 3


•                     Unbeaten Kuwaiti Al-Abdulrazzaq bids for Runabout GP1 glory

•                     Slovenian Florjancic brothers aim to dominate Freestyle class

•                     Monti holds slender Ski Division GP1 lead from Armillas and Sousa


Free practice sessions, pre-qualifying and pole position racing will kick-start the third UIM-ABP Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar on Doha Corniche on Thursday.

The event is being organised by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) in conjunction with H20 Racing and the UIM.

“On behalf of the QMSF, I would like to welcome all our overseas officials, media and competitors to Doha for our third race of its kind,” said His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, president of the QMSF, who arrived back in Qatar on Tuesday evening after claiming the Turbine class World Championship title in Key West last weekend.

Kuwaiti racer Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq has made a superb start to the season and arrives in Doha unbeaten at the last four race heats in Italy and China and is 32 points clear of Frenchman Jeremy Perez in the Runabout GP1 points’ standings.

The 33-year-old has crushed his main rivals this season and left a trail of three French riders in his wake, with Perez standing a mere eight points clear of former multiple World Champion and last year’s Qatar GP winner, Cyrille Lemoine. Francois Medori is fourth.

Slovenian Rok Florjancic and his brother Nac have dominated the Freestyle category. A favourite with spectators - keen to witness the ‘artists of the water’ in action - the Freestyle class throws up some spectacular performances and no one will want to impress more in Qatar than Valerio Calderoni, a World Champion and winner in Qatar in 2011.

The charismatic Italian is recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in a motocross accident and needs two maximum points’ scores in Qatar if he is to stand any chance of overhauling the Slovenian brothers in the championship. It will be a tall order, however, as Maribor-based Rok Florjancic is unbeaten in six race heats in China and Italy.

The closest of the four categories is currently Ski Division GP1. Italy’s Alberto Monti holds a one-point lead over Spain’s Nacho Armillas heading into the Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar and Portugal’s Tiago Sousa is handily-placed in third, a mere 14 points behind Monti.

Monti has earned four second-placed heat finishes this season and tops the points’ tables through consistency alone: both Armillas and Sousa have won two heats apiece.

In the absence of Julie Bulteau, Slovenia’s Pija Sumer has been the class of the Ski Ladies GP1 class this year. The medical student has a 23-point advantage over Italy’s Marta Sorrentino heading into the first of the two Qatar race heats on Friday.

Thursday morning’s action gets underway with free practice and this is followed in the afternoon by pre-qualifying and pole position.

Current points’ standings

Runabout GP1

1. Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq (KUW)                     100 pts
2. Jeremy Perez (FRA)                                        68 pts
3. Cyrille Lemoine (FRA)                                60 pts
4. Francois Medori (FRA)                                50 pts
5. Johan Johansson (SWE)                               38 pts
6. Teddy Pons (FRA)                                                  30 pts, etc

1. Rok Florjancic (SVN)                                150 pts
2. Nac Florjancic (SVN)                                113 pts
3. Aleksandar Petrovic (SRB)                                83 pts
4. Valerio Calderoni (ITA)                                68 pts, etc

Ski Division GP1

1. Alberto Monti (ITA)                                                  80 pts
2. Nacho Armillas (ESP)                                79 pts
3. Tiago Sousa (POR)                                          66 pts
4. Michael Poret (FRA)                                        38 pts, etc

Ski Ladies GP1

1. Pija Sumer (SVN)                                          75 pts
2. Marta Sorrentino (ITA)                                52 pts
3. Jennifer Menard (FRA)                                45 pts
4. Yue Nixin (CHN)                                         36 pts
5. Li Qian Qian (CHN)                                                  33 pts


2013 Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar - timetable of events
Thursday, November 14

10.00 – 12.15 Free practice
 10.00-10.30           Ski Division GP1
10.35–11.05          Runabout GP1 1st Group
11.10-11.40         Runabout GP1 2nd Group
11.45-12.15 Freestyle
12.45 – 13.30 Pre-qualifying
12.45-13.05         Runabout GP1 1st group
13.10-13.30 Runabout GP1 2nd group
14.30 – 17.00 Pole position
14.30-15.00    Ski Division GP1
15.15-15.45         Runabout GP1 1st group
15.55-16.25         Runabout GP1 2nd group
16.30-17.00    Freestyle

Neil Perkins,  also photos


13.11.2013 / MaP

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