21 March 2024

Thursday, March 21: Vietnamese officials hosted the official pre-event press conference for this weekend’s UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship in Quy Nhon on Thursday morning.


The packed conference was attended by Ông Trẩn Việt Anh, Chairman of F1 Bình Định, Ông Bùi Trung Hiểu, Vice-President of Sport and Cultural Department Bình Định province and Raimondo di San Germano, general manager of Aquabike Promotion. They were accompanied by defending Runabout GP1, Ski Division GP1 and Ski Ladies GP1 and Freestyle World Champions, François Medori, Mickael Poret, Jessica Chavanne and Roberto Mariani.


Ông Trẩn Việt Anh said: “We are delighted to welcome everyone to Vietnam and a special thanks to all our local media for their support. We have the Aquabike World Championship this weekend and then we will host F1H2O from the 29th to the 31st. We are also very excited to be hosting a festival in conjunction with the two events. This will be one of the highlights of the year for Quy Nhon.”


Raimondo di San Germano added: “This is the opening round of the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship. I would like to thank the local organiser for taking the challenge to host such a prestigious event in Vietnam. We have been working a lot to host this event and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved. In the next days, you will see the best of power boating and aquabike racing happening in Vietnam. We hope to develop this sport and power boating in Vietnam for years to come.”


Freestyle is the most specialised of all the aqua biking disciplines and world number one Mariani will be entertaining the crowds in a spectacular display on Friday evening. After several years of narrowly missing out on the world title to Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Mulla, the Italian prevailed in 2023. He said: “I have not been able to train hard with my ski over the winter because of a problem with the engine but I have been working hard on my physical strength. My secret is to get the crowd on side and to interact with the fans..”


Medori will be aiming for a second Runabout GP1 world title in 2024. He said: “I have been training very hard in the last month. I am in very good shape for this race. My ski is the same as last year. It is very good and I hope to be on the podium if all goes well. The best riders are here and my opponents are very good. My main rivals, we have the same ski and the same mechanics and, last year, we fight on every Moto. This year, I hope it will be the same. There are many more pilots this year. Marcus Jorgensen has come back and a lot of riders who did not ride last year. The fight will be very hard. I hope to get the best place as I can do this weekend. I will give everything to finish first.”


With conditions set to improve markedly on Thursday afternoon after a day of heavy rain, gusting winds and unsettled weather, the scene is set for a spectacular three days of racing on the course laid out in Quy Nhon in Vietnam’s Bình Định province.


Mickael Poret is unfazed by the weather. The Frenchman said: “I can tell you that aquabike racers like weather conditions like we have today. Our job is to make a big show and show everyone that our sport can be very nice to watch. With these weather conditions, as a racer, it is very easy to make a difference. The start is not very important. You have to be very fit. It is physically demanding. We have the best riders in the world here this weekend and I hope we have these weather conditions to show everyone that our sport is a great sport.”


Chavanne added: “It is great to be here and I am sure that it will be a fantastic fight again in 2024 with Jasmiin (Ypraus) and my other main rivals. We are not fazed by the weather. I come from France and am used to racing in these conditions. Anyway, the nature of the sport means we are always wet…”


The timetable for the weekend’s events has been modified for logistical reasons. Friday’s action will now consist of just a free practice session for each of the four sporting disciplines from 15.00hrs. Pole position qualifying has moved to 10.30hrs after the second free practice session on Friday.


The spectacular live Parallel Slalom session for local fans and Freestyle Moto 1 will now take place at 21.00hrs from Saturday evening.