«Why did you actually go to this Baku?»
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«Why did you actually go to this Baku?»

Race for the crazy in the city winds

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Setting up a water-engine party from «what we are dragged to the incomprehensible Baku» quickly changed into a «luxury city, gentlemen, why did not we know?». It was easy to surprise the guests - no one had ever heard of Baku («I opened the atlas and started looking for where is this Azerbaijan?»), and here is a clean, beautiful, hospitable, ancient city in European style. The capital of Azerbaijan, an oil city and the main port of the Caspian Sea - there is something to see, something to walk around. Writer Boris Akunin threw Fandorina here in his last book, and we borrowed a quotation for the title from him. And «we came» here to go further, but already on the water.

Last weekend UIM held here the Grand Prix of the F2 World Championship. A few hundred meters from the old city, on Baku Boulevard (it hastily appeared for «Eurovision-2013»), there was a village of Formula Boats «»and a track, on which 20 teams from 10 countries fought.

Since ancient times, Baku has been nicknamed «the city of winds», and winds have been walking here since then.

However, what is good for sailing is not good for motor racing.

The «Formula» needs closed water areas - at great speed the racers are balancing on the water surface, and strong waves can lead to a «rise with a coup». The Baku Bay is no less unique in this respect than the city: it blows here rarely (but bakes quite a lot), and it was here that the competitions were held. On the first day everything was really quiet, not counting the roar of motors, but on the second day, the final race began to blow, but it had little effect on the waters of the Caspian Sea.

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The second «Formula» races boats of the same size as the first, but the engines «are weaker» and have less prestige. And yet, these boats can reach speeds of 200 km/h. The crisis of 2008 hit the class hard, but the F2 has cooled down, got up and is gaining momentum. There are enough people willing to participate this season.

I'm sure you can say that Sweden likes fast driving. In seven out of 20 boats in the pilot's seat were the Swedes (and the Swede), including the local team, Team Azerbaijan, this season Jonas Anderesson is chasing, which eventually brought Azerbaijan a prize place. What is loved in Russia - it is not known for sure what year the only Russian «Formula» pilot «»Stanislav Kurzenovsky (now part of Riga Powerboat Team), who replaced this season's F1 to F2. The team is curious, they describe themselves as «meeting somehow a Russian, two Latvians and a Pole»: Kurzenovsky himself, Atis Slakteris (in addition to being a first-class pilot, he has worked as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Defence and Minister of Finance of Latvia!) and Uvis Slakteris, father and son, and Bartec Marshalek.

On the first day of the Grand Prix there were free practice, qualification (2 sessions), speeding and match flight. What is the layout, you can understand already on the first day of races - during the qualification determines the position of teams at the start of the final bout, in fact, it puts all the dot above «and» in the desire to take the prize. Simply put, the boats in the decisive race are as tight as beads in a necklace - if you're in last place, you will finish there. At the end of the qualification races the three leaders looked like this - Eric Stark, Paolo Zantelli and Jonas Andersson.

Erik Stark complained about the heat, saying that we Scandinavians are not used to this weather and the head is not smart at this degree, but continued to successfully chase - in the speed race he again was first.

On the second day in the morning, the riders went back to the track in free flight, and then time was slowly running out until the decisive race. And the already nervous atmosphere of the last race is heated «by a circle of honor» - before the final of the pilots do one lap, someone shows off, not regretting gasoline, teasing the audience, someone focused back to the pontoon.

And here's the start. The winner of the match-race Johan Osterberg (of course, the Swede) came straight ahead, followed closely by Uvis Slakteris. Eric Stark made it to the start and was seventh after the first lap.

Pretty soon the audience saw the first yellow flag. The race ended for the German Simon Schaft - she could not cope with the control when the wind suddenly changed direction. The race was suspended for the second time due to the crash of Swedish Bimba Sjöholm, her upside-down boat was sadly towed to shore. The athletes, fortunately, are all right. But zero score on points.

Between crashes, Eric Stark took the chance to get ahead and, as he said, got «more than he expected»by bypassing two boats at a time. In the end, he managed to outrun Slakteris and reached Osterberg with the Baku Grand Prix gold.

Everybody couldn't stand the heat like that fast Scandinavian.
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