What's it like trying to race an unlimited hydroplane in the Middle East?
Steve David will tell you it's not easy.
Forget about the fact he completely flipped his U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto two years ago during the Oryx Cup World Championships in Doha, Qatar, landing right-side up, only to turn the ignition on and limp the boat back to the pits.
No, David said there's a huge difference in Doha compared to San Diego, the circuit's other saltwater race course where the H1 Unlimited fleet last raced in September.
"Particularly in Doha there is so much salt," said David in a phone conversation this past weekend from his Florida home. "The salinity is so much thicker, it's like trying to turn your propeller through soup. They've already made a rule change where you have to have a 10 boat-length lead to make a lane change (rather than the standard seven boat lengths).
"It takes forever to get to your top speed," he added. "(U-96 Spirit of Qatar driver) Dave (Villwock) and I were around 143 to 145 mph in qualifying last year, and everyone else was around 130."
Everyone gets a chance to do it all again when the Oryx Cup World Championships run this week with a 12-boat field.
This week, the starting rules have changed.
When the fleet raced in the Tri-Cities back in July, drivers battled for starting positions before the race began.
But now, rather than fight for lanes, drivers now pick lanes for their heat based on the order in a blind draw. The move is meant to save the wear and tear on the turbines in the saltwater.
And if you're a fan and want to watch the races live-streamed on www.h1unlimited.com, you're going to have to stay up late because Doha is 11 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
Here's the schedule this week (PST):
* Qualifying runs from 2-5 a.m. Thursday.
* Heat 1A will be at 2 a.m. Friday; Heat 1B is at 2:30 a.m.; Heat 2A is set for 3:45 a.m.; and Heat 2B is at 4:15 a.m.
* Heat 3A is set for midnight Friday night; Heat 3B will go off at 12:20 a.m. Saturday; Heat 4A starts at 1:45 a.m.; and Heat 4B begins at 2:05 a.m.
* The final will starts at 4:05 a.m. Saturday.
Villwock is looking to clinch his 10th national high points driver championship this week, and he could do it within the first two heats.
"We're definitely playing in the stadium for us," Villwock said. "I'm going to try and treat it as any other race but I would like to win it again for the fans."