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Sharjah Grand Prix to open Water Festival

2008 world champion Jay Price expected to drive for SkyDive Dubai Team in final two rounds

Gulf News

Sharjah: The Sharjah Grand Prix — the final round of the 2012 UIM Formula One World Powerboat Championship — will open the annual Sharjah Water Festival this year.

The Sharjah Grand Prix has been an annual event on the Sharjah sports calendar for the past 13 years now and this year the event will be held at the Khalid Lagoon along the Al Majaz Corniche from December 6-7. With only two rounds to go, the world drivers’ championships is heading to an exciting finale, with Qatar Team’s Alex Carella currently holding the lead with 59 points followed by Abu Dhabi Team’s Ahmad Al Hameli with 50 points and Philippe Chiappe in third with 48 points.

The penultimate round of the competition will be held at the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) on November 29-30 and the biggest excitement among racing circles is the return of 2008 world champion Jay Price for the last two rounds of the competition.

The New Orleans-based driver, who was formerly with the Qatar Team, is expected to drive for the SkyDive Dubai Team in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah bringing in a bit more excitement to the series.

The F1 World Powerboat Championship kicked off with the opening round in Qatar in March followed by rounds in Russia, Ukraine and China before the customary final two rounds of the competition in the UAE.

Carella has been the driver to beat this season and has showed his intent for the crown with a victory in Liuzhou, China last month, where he led from pole position to finish ahead of Abu Dhabi Team’s second driver Thani Atiq Al Qamzi and Chiappe.

Last year, the Sharjah Grand Prix attracted 75,000 spectators and was one of the highlights for the emirate. In the past, the Sharjah Grand Prix has been awarded the best organiser by world governing body UIM on five occasions, while also bagging the World Journalism Award in 2001 for the successful organisation of the race.

Mohammad Ali Al Noman, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), insisted that the aim of the annual Sharjah Water Festival is meant to generate fun for the entire family. The adjacent Al Majaz Park will be the venue of a number of entertainment shows, games and recreational activities to be held from December 12-21.

“The festival last year drew more than 180,000 visitors and it is our aim to surpass this figure and consolidate its position as a premier event,” Al Noman said. “We are determined to make this festival more successful and memorable for all.”

The popular Russian Circus will perform its breath-taking feats on water entitled ‘Magic of Water’, while other attractions include the Ohmies American musical, Sindbad’s Adventures, Mouj Fantasy show, puppet shows from Myanmar and Poland and Toy Box shows from the US.

The Sharjah Water Festival is held under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and the support of Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.