This weekend, on 12-13 August, the Klaipėda Cruise Ship Terminal will host the first round of the F2 Water Formula World Championship, where 19 professionals from 12 countries will compete for the title of World Champion. With millions of people around the world watching live coverage, the Klaipėda Harbour shipping channel will experience for the first time in history what it's like to see the waves being lifted by powerful watercraft capable of speeds of up to 200km/hour.
This evening, Klaipėda residents and visitors had the opportunity to see the spectacular cars with their national flags flying in a special parade at the Cruise Ship Terminal. Immediately after the parade, a press conference was held where the organisers, athletes and others involved in this extraordinary world-class sporting spectacle talked about what is in store for everyone this weekend.
The press conference moderated by Gintautas Šutavičius was attended by the Mayor of Klaipėda Arvydas Vaitkus, the Director of the Port of Klaipėda Algis Latakas, the director of the broadcast Tomas Skamaročius, and the Director of the UIM race Luis Ribeiro, Gediminas Jaunius, Chief Producer of ELITAZ creative house, Karolis Ramoška, President of the Lithuanian Association of Technical Sports Federations, Edgaras Riabko, organiser and participant of the championship, and Rashed Al Qemzi, Abu Dhabi's Rashed Al Qemzi, a representative of the Abu Dhabi team and a three times World Champion.
"A new page in the history of Klaipėda is being written. Not even in my deepest dreams did I have such a dream, which is here and now. I would like to thank E. Riabko, who unexpectedly came and asked me to have such an event. Everything that we are doing here today is just the first step in this long journey, and we hope that it will happen again and again and become a tradition. I thank the Minister of Transport and Communications and the Port Director for agreeing to hold such an event here today," said Klaipėda Mayor Arvydas Vaitkus.
"The event here will be a success if at least one young person moves away from computer games and simulators and tries to see what this sport and this kind of racing is all about and continues the work of Edgars Riabkas, the Lithuanian representative. Our port is always striving to be modern and this championship is something that also helps us to follow this path and at the same time to promote the city of Klaipėda," said Algis Latakas, the port director.
"This is the third year we have organised this championship in Lithuania. We are happy that this year the event will be broadcast by the national broadcaster LRT, which means that the event is sure to attract a huge interest from the public. The event demonstrates its potential not only in the Lithuanian context, but also in the international one. The goal is the same for everyone - to make Lithuania look modern and up-to-date, and to continue to host world-class championships here. We invite everyone to come and watch the spectacle both live and on their smartphones at the same time, because there you will be able to see what you can't see with the naked eye - what is going on inside the car, what emotions are accompanying the athletes, and what does the behind-the-scenes of such a competition look like - for which we have 16 cameras, Gediminas Jaunius, Chief Producer of ELITAZ Creative House, who is organising the event in Lithuania for the third year, said at the press conference about the competition and its broadcast, inviting everyone to come and watch the world-class event for free.
For the first time in the World Championship, Lithuania will be represented by two pilots, Edgaras Riabko and Egidijus Dagilis. This year, Edgars Riabko not only prepared himself for a very important start, but also contributed to the realisation of the championship itself. He assured that his only goal in this championship is gold, and the Klaipėda track will not be the easiest.
"Swimming in this harbour will be a challenge for us athletes, because it has concrete quays, which means that the waves we create will come back and make our swim challenging. A few days ago there was a huge wind in Klaipėda and we couldn't really swim in those conditions, but now we're happy that the weather is perfect, with low winds, which will make the race less dangerous and help us to develop really high speeds on this course. I have been working very hard, but I have also been training very hard for this championship and I have really managed to achieve great results. I believe that this year we will be able to achieve gold as well," said Lithuania's E. Riabko.
The F2 Water Formula World Championship qualifying round will take place tomorrow at 17:00. The F2 Championship Grand Prix will take place at the Klaipėda Cruise Ship Terminal at the same time on Sunday. The awards ceremony will take place immediately after at 19:30. LRT TV will broadcast the championship on both days.