9:15 AM Tue 13 Sep 2011 GMT
F1H20 Grand Prix of China, being held in Liuzhou, is the fifth round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship and will take place on the weekend of 1st and 2nd October 2011.
For the fourth time in its 31 years of racing history the UIM F1H2O World Championship for powerboating is adding an Australian driver to its ranks with the announcement that Rhys Coles will drive a third boat for Team Sweden at the 16th Grand Prix of China.
The Sydney resident is a third generation driver having started at the age of ten competing in the junior classes of monohull racing, winning the Australian state and national championships in 1993. Three years later he stepped up into the OSY400 Yamato class, winning the championship and breaking the 550 Supersport speed record at the same time.
In 2000 Rhys moved into the competitive Formula 3 class capturing the Australian title in his rookie season.
At the age of 20, he became the youngest competitor in the Australian F1 series in 2001 and went on that year to take not only pole position at his very first event, but capture the championship title again in his rookie campaign. In 2006, he again won the title, while finishing in the top three of the championship for 10 straight years including 2011.
'It's been a dream of mine since a young boy to compete on the world series stage and now my dreams have come true,' said the 31 year-old driver. 'I realise it's going to be a steep learning curve but I am truly mentally ready for this challenge and can't wait to join Team Sweden in Liuzhou.'
The driver from Australia's East Coast has grown up watching both his great uncle and his father race monohulls for years in Australia, both competing in the inshore and offshore racing classes. He'll be the third member of the ultra-competitive Team Sweden organisation headed by talented veteran driver Jonas Andersson of Sweden who is currently eighth in the drivers' championship with 12 points.
Rhys will also join rookie sensation Shaun Torrente of the USA, who despite his crashing out in the last three straight Grand Prix's, is 10th in the championship courtesy of his fourth place finish at the Grand Prix of Qatar in March.
Rhys' name is added to the ever growing list of 'Down Under' drivers from Australia including Craig Bailey who won the Grand Prix of France back in 1990 in his best effort in his 24 career race starts. Bob Trask joined the tour in 2002, two years before younger brother David came along in 2004. The two family members from the Gold Coast area combined for 85 Grand Prix starts producing 10 podiums and 12 top-fives between them.
The official Qualifying Session and battle for pole position will take place at 0700 GMT (1500 local) on Saturday October 1st with the Grand Prix on Sunday 2nd set for 0800 GMT (1600 local) time. Both qualifying and the Grand Prix events can be followed live on the series official website.
UIM F1 H20 World Championship website
by Philippe Stiernon