December 7, 2009

Class 1 - Dubai U.A.E. Preview

After five Grands Prix and eight races, the fight for the coveted Class 1 World title has come down to the wire and will be decided next weekend, 10 -12 December, in the final two races of the season in the Emirates/Dubai Duty Free Dubai Grand Prix. With the Victory Team having already secured a remarkable ninth Class 1 World title, the only unanswered question is which of the Dubai-based team’s two thoroughbreds will emerge victorious on their home waters and in front of a partisan crowd and lift the trophy - Fazza or Victory 1?
Just eight points separate Fazza and Victory 1 in what has been a titanic struggle for supremacy all season, with the Championship lead changing hands race-by-race.
Championship leaders, Fazza will start as marginal favourites and hold the bragging rights for race wins this year with six, but Victory 1 with two wins under their belts, put one over their team-mates in Italy to take the European Championship.
Each outfit knows it can beat the other and that each is capable of lifting the crown, and with Victory Team general manager, Gianfranco Venturelli, stating that there are no team orders, Fazza and Victory 1 are set for one last throw of the dice and the stage is set for a winner-takes-all scenario.
With the title and the runners-up slot out of reach, Norwegian Welmax look poised to take third place in the overall Championship standings. A fourth and a third place, their fourth podium of the year, last time out in Abu Dhabi saw them leapfrog Maritimo into third spot, and they now have the luxury of a twenty-point advantage over their young Australian-Norwegian rivals.
Maritimo who finished third overall in the European Championship standings, on the back of three podium finishes, will be hoping to get their season back on track, and that the technical issues that have blighted their last three outings will not be repeated in Dubai and allow Foresti & Suardi Roscioli Hotels to sneak into fourth place.
The target for Giampaolo Montavoci will be to maintain his remarkable run of consistency and points-scoring finishes, a run that began back in 2007 and extends to 23 races as he targets his highest-ever placing and points-finish in the Championship. Montavoci will race with fellow-Italian, Marco Pennesi, and what would bring a smile to his face is the prospect of rough conditions on the leg outside the Palm, which would give the Italian throttleman and rough water specialist a chance to drag the best out of Foresti & Suardi Roscioli Hotels.
Giovanni Carpitella will be joined in the cockpit of Sea Dubai - C.A.M. by Giorgio Manuzzi - making a welcome return to racing after crashing out in Romania when driving Maritimo 12 as the Spanish Team, Duemme Broker, continue their march up the leaderboard. After finishing fourth in the season-opener, then missing the next two Grands Prix, Carpitella returned to take two top-five finishes in Italy, his first Class 1 podium in race 1 in Abu Dhabi followed by a fourth place, to catapult him into sixth place in the overall standings and third in the Middle East Championship.
Giorgioffshore will line up in Dubai looking to at least repeat their third place finish in the Mina Seyahi Grand Prix in Dubai last year. Nicola Giorgi, partnered by the experienced Christian Zaborowski, has already enjoyed a solid season and a string of good results, and will be confident that the team can improve further and build on their best ever qualifying performance in Abu Dhabi, where they finished on the podium after a scintillating lap put them third quickest.
Outgoing double World Champion, Mohammed Al Marri, who stepped down from racing at the end of 2008, but returned to renew race duties alongside Abdullah Al Mehairbi in Victory 7, will be looking to end their eight-race campaign with a flourish and to add to two fourth place finishes and a podium in Italy.
First official practice takes place on Thursday afternoon (10 December), with a one-and-a-half hour session on Friday morning for practice and qualifying in the Edox Pole Position, followed by race 1 in the afternoon, 54.91Nm - 12 laps, including one long lap.A third and final practice session on Saturday morning is followed by race 2 in the afternoon - with the starting line-up determined by the results of race 1 - 68.96Nm, run over 15 laps, including two long laps - with both races counting for full Championship points.
CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 5 of 6
1. Fazza - 133pts
2. Victory 1 - 125pts
3. Welmax - 76pts
4. Maritimo 11 - 56pts
5. Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels - 53pts
6. Sea Dubai - C.A.M - 44pts
7. Giorgioffshore - 43pts
8. Victory 7 - 38pts
9. Qatar 96 - 15pts
10. Maritimo 12 - 12pts
11. Qatar 95 - 4pts
(World Championship points include bonus points allocated to teams for running engines for two consecutive races - one point, per engine, per race)
CLASS 1 MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 2 of 3
1. Fazza - 60pts
2. Victory 1 - 42pts
3. Sea Dubai - C.A.M. - 30pts
4. Welmax - 21pts
5. Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels - 17pts
6. Qatar 96 - 15pts 7. Giorgioffshore - 14pts
8. Victory 7 - 4pts
9= Maritimo 11 0pts
9= Maritimo 12 - 0pts
9= Qatar 95 - 0pts.
EDOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 5 of 6
1. Fazza - 84pts
2. Victory 1 - 65pts
3. Maritimo 11 - 43pts
4. Welmax - 41pts
5. Qatar 95 - 35pts
6. Giorgioffshore - 29pts
7. Qatar 96 - 24pts
8. Victory 7 - 19pts
9. Foresti & Suardi - Roscioli Hotels - 14pts
10. Sea Dubai - C.A.M. - 13pts
11. Maritimo 12 – 11pts