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Khor Fakkan - Sharjah Season Opener for UIM Nations Cup

*Team UAE start title defence

*16 drivers from 8 countries line up in Khor Fakkan

Thursday, 22 March: After a highly successful and incident-filled first event last year, UIM Nations Cup embarks on its second season with the opening event taking place in Khor Fakkan on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates, 27-30 March.

This one-make series, with the emphasis on team participation and country success counting above individual performance and result, and all drivers using identical stock boats and equipment, proved highly entertaining and sees eight of the ten two-boat teams that lined up for the inaugural event in Singapore, back for the start of the 2012 campaign.

Team UAE start their Nations Cup title defence with another formidable line up, but with a driver switch, bringing in Rashed Al Tayer to take the seat of the undoubted star in Singapore, Ahmed Al Hameli.

Al Tayer will team up with his Class 1 partner Majed Al Mansoori. Both are accomplished racers and take time out from duties in Class 1 and head to Khor Fakkan on the back of double podium success in Qatar last week.

Team Qatar, who missed the title by just four points last year, field the same line up of Khalid Saleh Al Shamlan and Khalid Abdullah Al Kuwari, both of whom impressed last time out finishing second and third, with Al Shamlan now elevated to the number three seat in Team Qatar’s F1H2O line-up for 2012 and Al Kuwari moving up into the F-4S Eurofin Trophy seat.

South Africa field one of the strongest teams and once again put their faith in Johannesburg duo Timothy Fetherstonhaugh and Mark Shepherd, the pair bringing the team home in third place after an eventful first outing, with Fetherstonhaugh crashing out in practice, missing qualifying and the Match Race, but driving from the back of the grid to eventually finish in sixth place behind his teammate.

Nordin bin haji Mohamad and Ismail bin haji Kabon will again shoulder responsibilities for Team Brunei, Kabon impressing on his Nations Cup debut qualifying in fourth spot and briefly leading the race, eventually finishing seventh after engine problems slowed his charge. Teammate Mohamad will be hoping for a better outing in Khor Fakkan – his first appearance in Nations Cup ending after a crash in practice ruled him out of all competition.

Father and daughter duo, Risto and Meeri Painio from Helsinki, line up for Team Finland and will be looking to improve on a more than solid first event, with Risto qualifying in sixth place, getting through to the quarter-finals in the Match Race and finishing eighth in the race – Meeri coming home in 13th spot.

The Vo brothers from Baja, who this year make their debuts in the F-4S Eurofin Trophy, will again fly the flag for Team Hungary, with 19-year old Kornel, the youngest of the 16 strong driver line up in Khor Fakkan, again hoping to get the better of older brother Viktor, whose Nations Cup debut ended in spectacular fashion when he crashed out late in the race.

Team Malaysia introduce two new drivers, Alffian Yanto Kandri and  Mohammad Affendey Kandri from Sarawak, both with racing backgrounds in F2 and F3000, and who will be looking to try to repeat or better the team’s podium in the Match Race and a very respectable fourth place in the overall standings in Singapore.

Lebos Chaguri from Sao Paulo, who finished tenth in Singapore, will lead the way for Team Brazil who has drafted in Rhys Coles to run in their second boat.

The first act of the UIM Nations Cup Khor Fakkan will be the draw and assignment of boats, engines and propellers which takes place on Tuesday, 27 March.

Teams will take to the water for the first time on Wednesday for two practice sessions to familiarise themselves with the 1639metre, anti-clockwise four turn-buoy circuit. A third session on Thursday morning is followed by official qualifying and the Match Race, with drivers racing off against each other in a best of three shoot-out on an alternate course – the winners of each heat progressing to the next round.

A final practice session on Friday morning is followed by two, 20-minute sprint races.

UIM Nations Cup Khor Fakkan - event timetable

Tuesday, 27 March:

14.00-15.00       assignment of raceboats, engines, propellers

Wednesday, 28 March:

11.00-12.00       free practice

14.00-15.00       free practice

Thursday, 29 March:

11.00-12.00       official qualifying

13.45-15.45       UIM Nations Cup Khor Fakkan Match Race

Friday, 30 March

11.00-12.00       free practice

14.00-14.20       UIM Nations Cup Khor Fakkan – race 1

14.40-15.00       UIM Nations Cup Khor Fakkan – race 2

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