H2O Racing
Union Internationale Motonautique


March 28, 2024

Thursday, March 28:  All 18 drivers have safely arrived in Vietnam and the nine race teams are making their final preparations for Sunday morning’s inaugural Grand Prix of Bình Định-Vietnam on Thi Nai Bay in the city of Quy Nhơn.


While the likes of Team Vietnam’s Jonas Andersson and Stefan Arand have been in situ for several days, acclimatising to the climate and overcoming any time zone-induced jet lag, others have left it late to arrive from all corners of the world with four flights needed in some cases. Canada’s Rusty Wyatt is the surprise leader of the UIM F1H2O World Championship after the opening round and he didn’t check in to the sponsoring Fleur de Lys Hotel in Quy Nhơn until early on Wednesday afternoon.


To combat any potential weather-related delays and to alleviate a lot of the problems associated with racing in the intense heat and humidity of the afternoons in Quy Nhơn, the timetable has been designed so that the on-water action takes place in the mornings.


Wyatt’s Sharjah Team manager is four-time World Champion Scott Gillman. The American said: “The city here is very nice. The beaches and the hotel are perfect. We are very happy. I like the idea of racing in the mornings. We did it at the last race in Indonesia. It’s nice to be able to pack up easily at the end of the day as well. You have to go where the conditions allow you to run and it’s safe to run in the mornings.  Unfortunately, Filip (Roms) had an accident on Lake Toba, so the guys have been working since Tuesday morning repairing his boat. We’ve almost got it done now and should have everything ready to go.”


Other, like the F1 Atlantic Team’s Duarte Benavente and Ben Jelf, arrived in a team group on Monday and have been experiencing the local cuisine when not working hard to ready the two boats for the weekend’s racing and adjusting to the heat and humidity.


“This is the things that dreams are made of,” said Jelf. “The team has been working hard as always and we proved in Indonesia that we have the pace, so now we can build on that and hopefully secure more championship points and begin to reap the rewards for the hard work. Every time I get in the boat and on the water, I learn something new. The boat felt really good in Indonesia, so I will be looking for a good result on Sunday morning. The people have been really nice here. The weather starts really good in the mornings and then starts to get a bit rougher towards the late morning, so I think it makes a big difference and it’s a good decision to plan the timetable as they have.”


The China CTIC Team’s Brent Dillard holds 10th in the Drivers’ Championship after the opening race. The South Carolina driver said: “I love the place. I actually arrived Monday. I’ve been here a couple of days, hanging out, riding around the town, playing some beach volleyball. It’s been pretty fun. I came over here (paddock) on Monday. There was nobody here so I literally walked back to the hotel. Everybody is so friendly, saying ‘hello’, ‘hello’, ‘hello’. It’s a really nice place. I’m happy.


“The last race in Indonesia had the same format. I enjoyed it. By lunchtime, we are done for the day and you can get to bed early and get some rest and be ready for the morning. I like the timetable, where you knock everything out in the morning. Plus, we saw yesterday (Wednesday), when the wind picks up around 11, it gets pretty rough. I learned in Indonesia that you need to get the rest and get to bed early – no late dinners. Our team likes to have some late dinners but I usually skip them and go straight to bed.”


Tomorrow (Friday), teams will be permitted one-hour of free practice on the circuit in Thi Nai Bay from 07.30hrs. Qualifying will then take centre stage from 10.45hrs with the outcome confirming the line-up for both Sunday’s Grand Prix of Bình Định-Vietnam and Saturday morning’s two points-scoring Sprint races.