July 16, 2008

Class 1 - Norway Arendal Preview

A win for Victory 1 in this weekend’s BMW Norwegian Grand Prix in Arendal, round four of the class 1 World Powerboat Championship, would secure the Dubai pairing their first European Championship title and a sixth for the Victory Team.
The Victory Team has an impressive record in Arendal winning six out of the 11 races held since 1994 and with Victory 1 unbeaten this season, on present form, appear to be unstoppable, and with a 24-point advantage over their team-mates in Victory 7, they look all set to add their names to the trophy. However, should Victory 7 take the win, the battle for the European crown will go down to the wire and be decided in the Romanian Grand Prix in Constanta-Mamaia in August.
For the Qatar Team, it seems that whatever they do, Victory can match or better it, lying in third place in Qatar 95 and Qatar 96 in fourth, know that they will have to produce something extraordinary from somewhere, or else hope that the Championship leaders have a problem if they are to reduce the points gap in the title race. But Norwegian waters have, in the past, proved a successful hunting ground for the Qatar Team winning in Oslo in 2004 and Trondheim in 2005, and with Curtis a six-times winner in Norway winning in Arendal in 2001 this could be the weekend that Qatar ends Victory’s winning streak.
Proving to be one of the most solid and reliable outfits this season is that of the Italian team, Foresti & Suardi, who have carved out three well-earned fifth place finishes and in fifth spot, are currently the highest-placed European team. But Norwegian hopes for a repeat ‘home win’ last enjoyed in 2006 by what is a fervently partisan following in Arendal rest firmly on the shoulders of Jotun, which showed real pace in Moscow going second quickest in qualifying and but for a broken propeller, would certainly have challenged the front runners and have upped the stakes to be real podium challengers.
Roscioli Hotels Roma faced a race against time to repair their boat and be ready to start this weekend, after a harrowing moment during the last race, when they lost control as their steering broke coming off their long-lap and, unable to steer, they hit the dock, damaging the front left sponson.
Giorgi Offshore will be desperate to get SeveneleveN back in the points after two frustrating races. After a solid performance in qualifying in Moscow, an engine problem during the race with SeveneleveN running in fifth place ended what looked like being their best performance of the season. The new Nicolini-designed and built race boat, Qatar 9, will get only its second outing in Arendal, hoping for better luck than in Moscow, where a broken propeller cut short their race on lap one, after they had impressed during all practice sessions and in qualifying on their debut in Moscow.
This weekend also sees the return to Class 1 action for Tom Barry-Cotter and Pal Virik Nilsen, given a wild card entry by the Championship Organisers. Last season’s youngest pairing who this year lifted the Australian Offshore Superboat Championship, winning four out of six races will step back into the Mercury Class 1 powered Tencara they raced last year, and run under the colours of Maritimo Offshore.
For all the teams the biggest challenge of the weekend will be to master the demanding 5.65Nm circuit run on Tromoysund and Galtesund fjords, with its fast sweeping turns, narrow straights lined with rocky outcrops and islands, providing a stern test of the pilot’s skill and nerve over the 17 lap, 96.70Nm race.
1. Victory 1 - M Al Marri (UAE) / N Bin Hendi (UAE) – 64pts
2. Victory 7 - A Al Mehairbi (UAE) / JM Sanchez (France) – 40pts
3. Qatar 95 - A Al-Sulaiti (Qatar) / M Nicolini (Italy) – 37pts
4. Qatar 96 - H Al-Thani (Qatar) / S Curtis (England) – 35pts
5. Foresti & Suardi 8 - K Selmer (Norway) / G Montavoci (Italy) – 25pts
6. Jotun 90 – IB Aarbakke (Norway) / J Tandberg (Norway) – 18pts
7. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - S Carrasco (Spain) / D Cirilli (Spain) – 8pts
8. SeveneleveN 18 - G Manuzzi (Italy) / N Giorgi (Italy) – 5pts
9. Negotiator 50 - B Eker (Norway) / C Parsonage (England) – 4pts
Qatar 9 - M Al-Nassr (Qatar) / L Nicolini (Italy)
CLASS 1 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 2 of 4
1. Victory 1 - 40pts
2=Victory 7 - 24pts
2=Qatar 95 - 24pts
4. Qatar 96 - 20pts
5=Jotun 90 - 14pts
5=Foresti & Suardi 8 - 14pts
7. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - 4pts
SeveneleveN 18
Negotiator 50
Qatar 9
1. Victory 1 - 55pts
2. Qatar 96 - 47pts
3. Jotun 90 - 36pts
4. Qatar 95 - 28pts
5. Victory 7 - 20pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 8 - 11pts
7. SeveneleveN 18 - 10pts
8. Negotiator 50 - 7pts
9=White 4 - 5pts
9=Qatar 9 - 5pts
11. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - 2pts

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