Thursday, 7 March: Sharjah International Marine Sports Club and two-time UIM F1H2O World Champion Sami Selio have announced a multi-year cooperation agreement at the unveiling of Sharjah Team at the IBT (Internationale Tourismus-Borse) in Berlin.

The reveal of Sharjah Team colours took place at today’s press conference at the world’s largest trade and tourism show attended by HE Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman Sharjah International Marine Sports Club, HE Khalid Al Midfa, Chairman Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), H2O Racing Senior Vice President, Lavinia Cavallero and Sami Selio. “We are very pleased to be the sponsor of a team in the prestigious UIM F1H2O World Championship,” said HE Ali Salim Al Midfa, “SIMSC has been established for four years and we work closely with Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority in organising many events in powerboat racing and jet ski racing and the next natural step was to support a team.

“We know Sami very well he is a top competitor so we started discussion last year and now Sharjah Team is a reality and it gives us a wonderful opportunity to promote Sharjah as a top tourist destination at events all over the world. We will also support the team in the F2 and F4-S championship and to encourage and introduce young drivers into the sport, with Sami, we will establish a training centre in Sharjah.”

The significant backing by SIMSC is a major boost for Finnish driver Sami Selio as he sets out in his bid to claim a third title. “We are delighted to have signed this agreement and the team are very proud to represent Sharjah. I thank His Excellency and the Sharjah International Marine Sports Club for their commitment and support,” Selio said. “The backing [of SIMSC] is significant and essential for us and it will give us every opportunity to compete at the highest level, to win races and will enable us to fight for the world title.”

The Emirate of Sharjah has a longstanding and very successful association with the UIM F1H2O World Championship, hosting its first Grand Prix on the spectacular Khalid Lagoon in the heart of the city in 2000 and since 2004 has become the showpiece for the traditional end of season finale. “Over the 19 years we have been involved we have received many positive comments about what we do and how we do it,” said HE Khalid Al Midfa, Chairman Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, “We work closely with the Sharjah International Marine Sports Club to promote sports tourism so it makes absolute sense to now have a team in the championship.” Lavinia Cavallero added, “What better way to mark the 20th Grand Prix of Sharjah and to promote the country and event all year long than with its own team.”

The opening round of the UIM F1H2O World Championship takes place in Dammam, Saudi Arabia on 28-30 March, with Selio confirming that for the eighth season his teammate will be fellow-countryman Filip Roms.