Confirmation of Grand Prix of India means that 2018 UIM F1H2O World Championship will be fought over eight races. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archiveS

Dubai: The chief organiser of the UIM F1H2O World Championship has welcomed the much-sought entry of India onto the annual powerboat racing scene.

Andhra Pradesh Tourism confirmed yesterday that Round Six of the 2018 UIM F1H2O World Championship will take place in Amaravati from November 16 to 18 and H2O Racing President Nicolo di San Germano was thrilled at the prospect of tapping into the Indian market.

“We are delighted that after all the hard work and negotiations that have been carried out on both sides the F1H2O World Championship is returning to India for the first time in 14 years,” San Germano told Gulf News from Italy yesterday.

“I take this opportunity to thank the Government of Andhra Pradesh and our local partner Malaxmi Group. We look forward to a wonderful event and a long lasting relationship and extended period of racing in India,” he added.

Negotiations to host a round on the 2018 calendar commenced in October last year when a delegation of Indian stakeholders visited the UAE prior and during the course of the Sharjah Grand Prix — the final round of the UIM F1H2O World Championship. The last, and only time, that F1 powerboat racing had entered the Indian subcontinent was way back in 2004 when a race was held in Mumbai.

Yesterday, a delegation from the Union International Motonautique (UIM) and the F1H2O Management Committee was present in Amaravati to homologate the race circuit and make final preparations for November’s race.

Harish Chandra Prasad, Founder and Chief Mentor, Malaxmi Group, who has been a pivot in the successful bid was keen to start off on a right footing. “This event is meant to take the brand name of Amaravati to a global audience while also creating a world-class tourism infrastructure in this city,” Prasad said at the announcement.

“An additional attraction will be that we will have two dedicated boats representing Team Amaravati during the course of the competition,” he added.

The confirmation of the Grand Prix of India means that the 2018 UIM F1H2O World Championship will be fought out over eight races, with the remaining five rounds taking place in Xiangyang and Liuzhou in China, Amaravati and the last two races in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the first half of December.

There are nine teams consisting of 19 drivers representing 12 countries participating in this year’s championship that is presently on its traditional summer break after three European events held in Portimao (Portugal), London (England) and Evian (France).

Two different drivers have so far registered wins in the three races with Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente opening with maximum points in Portugal, followed by Erik Stark winning in England for Maverick F1 Racing and then winning again in France, a week after signing for Team Abu Dhabi to lead the title race.

Amaravati is the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh and located on the southern banks of the Krishna River, adjacent to Vijayawada in south India.