x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Corniche revs up for powerboat tournament

The second-last leg of this year's UIM Formula One Powerboat World Championship will take place in Abu Dhabi next month.

Twelve racing teams will compete on Dec 4 and 5.
Twelve racing teams will compete on Dec 4 and 5.

ABU DHABI // Twenty-four of the world's best powerboat drivers are preparing to do battle in the waters along the Corniche next month, in the second-last leg of this year's UIM Formula One Powerboat World Championship. Organised by the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC), it will take place on Dec 4 and 5. The competition will use a 2.175km circuit, the longest in this year's competition. The world championship is due to end in Sharjah on Dec 12.

Organisers of the race are expecting more than 40,000 people to attend next week's competition, which will be broadcast worldwide. Salem al Rumeithy, the assistant general manager of the club, said: "Abu Dhabi has been keen on hosting the F1 Powerboat World Championship for the past decade, not only for the tourism spin-offs but also to cater to a huge fan base in the area." For the first time since the championship began in 1981, fans from around the world will be able to watch the final two races of the competition on a live video stream on the world championship's website.

The Abu Dhabi leg is the seventh round in this year's competition, which began in Qatar in March and then moved to Portugal, Finland, Russia and China. More than 2,000 spectator stands are being set up along the Corniche. Entry to the championship round is free. Twelve international teams will compete, including drivers from the US, Finland, France, Italy, Australia, China, Germany, Qatar and Sweden.

The Abu Dhabi F1 team is led by Thani al Qamzi, who finished third in last year's world championship, and Ahmed al Hameli, who is ranked fourth with 40 points. Jay Price, from the US, leads this year's tournament with 85 points. The powerboat race is the climax of a series of marine-sport events in Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi International Boat Show, runs until Saturday. On display are more than 200 luxury yachts, high-speed boats and hydrofoil catamarans from more than 150 international exhibitors.

The capital's first marine-sport festival on the Breakwater runs from Monday to Friday. It will include dragon-boat racing, wakeboard shows, a power-ski race, a powerboat parade, fishing trips, a water playground for children and stalls displaying marine-sport equipment. The Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram is scheduled to perform on the last day of the festival. jau@thenational.ae