May 25, 2007

Powerboat P1 - Italian Grand Prix of the Sea preview

The stunning Bay of Naples, home to more than one million people, presents a natural amphitheatre for this weekend's Powerboat P1 World Championship as 20 boats and teams from around the world arrive for the action, excitement and glamour of the Powerboat P1 Italian Grand Prix of the Sea. This dramatic backdrop for one of Europe's top-tier motorsports is guaranteed to be matched by the drama on the water with both racing classes, Evolution and SuperSport, fielding ten boats each, all race-prepared and eager to win. For the high-powered prototypes racing in Evolution this is the first time in the history of P1 that boat numbers have reached double figures, promising the motoring-mad Neapolitans noise, speed and furious action as the sleek powerful muscle machines generate upto 2000hp and 100mph. Local hero and 2006 World Champion Giancarlo Cangiano, with team mate Giovanni Carpitella, will lead the Italian challenge, buoyed by a win in the first Grand Prix in Malta but wary of the challenge amassing within the ranks. This includes Outerlimits Powerboats, the all-American US Championship winning team from Rhode Island, who demonstrated in its debut European race that it has the speed, determination and quality to win events on both sides of the pond. The weekend's new kid on the block is the English US team, Fountain Worldwide, with British pilots Craig Wilson and Class 1 and ProVee star James Sheppard, racing a Fountain Lightning 42 powered by Ilmor engines. The team has arrived out of the box in Italy and, with such a formidable package, achieving podium honours should only be a matter of time. Italy's great nautical and motor racing heritages are well represented in P1 and the tens of thousands of Neapolitans expected to line the Bay will find plenty of local flavour to cheer; from the Neapolitan pilots Cangiano, Stefano Cola and Angelo Tedeschi to the all-Italian boats, Fainplast, Kiton and Carpenter, and of course, the royal connection, Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, racing with Max Ferrari for the Italian Skater Racing team. Definitely looking for a win in Naples is, the Austrian team powered by Italian Isotta Fraschini engines and an Italian FB design hull. There will also be great interest in the performance of Team Sunseeker, one of the leading contenders for the SuperSport title, racing with FPT Fiat Power Train engines in what is the first Formula One-style engine deal in P1. The Powerboat P1 Italian Grand Prix of the Sea comprises an 'Endurance' race on Saturday 26th May and shorter 'Rally' sprint on Sunday 27th. Both World Championship rounds 'power-off' at 12:30pm and with sunshine forecast for the weekend, close-to-the-shore race action and a large grid of pilots eager to impress, a spectacular show is promised.

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