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F1 - “Pressure Cooker” on Middle East Teams!

DOHA, Qatar – 25th of November, 2009 – The posturing of the 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for power boating is about over and now its “put up or shut up” time for both the Qatar Team and Team Abu Dhabi organizations with two of their four drivers squarely in the mix for the world title.

For the home standing Qatar effort, the team based just ten minutes away from this weekend's race site along the Arabian Gulf in the headquarters of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) offices, there is a much unwanted pressure put on the organization with the delay of their race boats and elaborate race tent facilities for this weekend's 6th Grand Prix of Qatar along the cornice in downtown Doha for this Friday's and Saturday's Grand Prix events.

“The delay of our race boats was something we were not expecting and now this situation puts us behind in preparation for Friday's event,” said defending World Champion Jay Price of the Qatar Team. “We are expected to have the boat delivered to us at the racing facilities by late Wednesday afternoon and then it's working double time to get things in order for Friday mornings practice session. It's just another 'brick in the wall' but we'll be ready come Friday I can guarantee you that for sure.”

<p>Doha-Qatar-25 November 2009- Doha is the capital city of Qatar. Doha is Qatar's largest city, with over 80% of the nation's population residing in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic center of the country. The Grand Prix of Qatar is the 6th leg of the season. Picture by Vittorio Ubertone/Idea Marketing</p>

Jay this season is defending his crown in the number one DAC hull and for the third time this season has a new teammate with the arrival of Englishman Malcolm Goodman who comes with an impressive resume racing most recently in the British F2 championship. He is replacing fellow English driver Andy Elliott who had a crash in St. Petersburg, Russia that has sidelined him since August and is still in recovery mode handing the reigns over to Malcolm for the final six events on the calendar.

For the defending World Champion, Jay, has finished just four of the nine events he's started this year, winning two and taking second in those completed events. Consistency is the name of the game for the driver out of New Orleans, Louisiana who sits fourth in the championship with 70 points and twenty-two back of Jonas Andersson of Sweden for Team Azerbaijan.

Team Abu Dhabi is in a bit of a better situation with their number one driver Thani Al Qamzi in second in the championship just four points back of Andersson and set for a real shot for his first title. Al Qamzi, leading driver of the team with five career victories and one this season in Portimao, Portugal, has his critics wondering if he'll ever have just that little special something it takes to be a World Champion now that he is in his ninth season and starting his 76th race of his career on Friday afternoon. It's time for him to produce now in order for him to get his name placed into the minds of the racing historians as a “special” driver in the sport before he retires someday.

His younger teammate Ahmad Al Hameli has run into a rough patch as of late finishing only one of his last four events while posting two podiums this season and a win at the opening round of the championship back in April in Portugal. Ahmad has 52 points this season and the one-time “Rookie of the Year” is hoping to change his recent bad luck and get back up in the top five with a slim shot at the title being 40 points back of the leader Andersson with 60 points still to be earned in 2009.

So, what you have so far going into this race weekend is this, the home Qatar Team with late arriving boats and race complex to be quickly set up for operation in the next 24 hours as they scramble to get ready. The expected cheers of the large home standing crowds along the downtown waterfront will see a new teammate for the defending World Champion who is looking for his first win at his home Grand Prix after finishing runner-up here a year ago.

Then you have two Abu Dhabi drivers close to home ready to re-establish themselves as consistent race winners once again after having not taken the top step since the month of April.

It all begins this Friday morning for an hour's practice session followed by the qualifying session starting at 11:15 and running to 12 noon. The 11th round of the 16 race 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for power boating is scheduled to start at 15:00 local, 13:00 GMT and 07:00 Eastern Standard Time on the East Coast of North America. It's now or never for the local Middle East teams to shine on home waters starting here at the 6th Grand Prix of Qatar.

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