ABU DHABI - (12th of September) -- While many people around the world in the Northern Hemisphere were enjoying their final week of the official summer season, members of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship family in North America were fighting their way through a devastating storm.
Hurricane Isaac, a category 1 storm producing 150 kph winds, moved into the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean last week bringing with it a path of destruction not seen in over five years.
The path of Isaac steered it slowly thru the Florida Keys up towards Southwest Florida along the Gulf coast. It eventually turned more northwest gathering strength, hitting the City of New Orleans head on flooding the area and shutting off electricity to over 769,000 people over a three-day period.
Two vital members of the Qatar Team were caught in the storm. Driver Shaun Torrente, who has been lightning quick in qualifying in the last two Grand Prix's, earning pole in Kazan and starting second at the last event in Kiev, was moving quickly at his home just South of Miami making sure everything was secured and tied down as the storm slid by to the West.
"We take these storms seriously and you have to," said Shaun. "I remember Hurricane Andrew 20 years ago and it destroyed everything here, nothing was left standing and we didn't want to go through that agony again with my family."
Shaun and his Race Manager, Brendan Power, who lives 200 kilometers up the coast in Clearwater, Florida, were riding out the storm as it slowly made its way up the coast at an agonizing slow pace of 20 kilometers per hour dumping almost a meter of rain as it passed by heading in a northward direction.
"We literally have a check list at my house in case of an emergency and I use this just as I do with my engine management preparation," said Brendan. "My wife and I make sure everything has been prepared. Plus, if the worst case scenario happens, we are ready to evacuate if necessary."
As Hurricane Isaac moved farther West away from Florida it set its sites and fury on ex-Qatar Team driver Jay Price. The 2008 World Champion, was unfortunate to be caught in the wake of the worst part of the storm living just on the Northeast corner of New Orleans with his neighborhood ready to take the direct hit of the storm.
"We are very fortunate that we live on high ground which is about 14 feet (4.5 meters) above water level," said Jay. "I removed all my boats and jet skies around the area and inside large garages while making sure nothing around us was loose so it wouldn't fly around once the storm hit."
The new driver of Skydive Dubai Team, who will return to the sport in two races at the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi in late November, lost electricity for over three days. Jay was flooded in and could not drive since roads were closed due to the high water for over two days.
"We made the best of it with the neighbors. We shared our food with theirs since we didn't have refrigeration. We did a lot of eating while waiting out the storm. It was stressful watching the water getting higher and heading for your front door but we were lucky. A few miles down the road some people were under 4 meters of water and flooded totally."
It turns out that three very talented UIM F1 H2O figures, which have had a giant influence on the sport in the last five years, use these same talents for real world survival that they've shown at Grand Prix's all over the world defeating one of the most destructive storms in recent memory.
Now it's off to the next round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship at the Grand Prix of China in Liuzhou on the 1st and 2nd of October looking for as much success on the race course as they did surviving Hurricane Isaac at home
|UIM F1H2O World Championship|
|UKR||Kyiv Region GP||Jul 27||C|
|President Cup||Jul 28||C|
|UAE||Abu Dhabi||Nov 29||C|
|UIM Nations Cup|
|UAE||Abu Dhabi||Dec 1||C|
|date and venue could be changed|
|C= Confirmed TBC= To Be Confirmed
TBA= To Be Announced
|Thani Al Qamzi||60|
|Ahmed Al Hameli||50|
|Youssef Al Rubayan||11|
|01||Thani Al Qamzi|
|02||Terry Rinker||+ 2.09 secs|
|03||Francesco Cantando||+ 5.02 secs|