July 15, 2010

Class 1 - Norwegian Preview

All eyes will be on Welmax at this weekend's BMW Norwegian Grand Prix (16-18 July), round 2 of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, to see if Jorn Tandberg and Kolbjorn Selmer can end Victory Team's winning streak. The all-Norwegian partnership, who went second quickest in qualifying and took third place in race 1 at the Brazilian Grand Prix, look the most likely challengers capable of staging an upset, with Tandberg looking for his fourth Grand Prix career win, his third in Arendal, as Selmer goes for his first to add to his tally of six podiums from 24 starts. But it will be Fazza 3 who will line up as the firm favourites, looking to repeat the dominance they showed in the season-opener in Rio de Janeiro when they took the win-treble. Arif Al Zafeen, a winner in Arendal in 2007, and Nadir Bin Hendi, the defending World Champions, will be aiming to extend the team's 11-race unbeaten run and their six-race winning streak, as they go for race win number 15. Fazza 1's Abdullah Al Mehairbi and former World Champion, Mohammed Al Marri, also pose a threat to their team-mates and Welmax, with this relatively new partnership which came together at the Romania Grand Prix last season looking to build on and go one better than their two second places in Rio. Three new partnerships will make their season-debuts in Arendal: Giovanni Carpitella, a multiple race winner taking Italian, European, Middle East and World titles in Class 3,6litre, P1, the XCAT series and a winner of the APBA championship in the USA, teams up with Giorgio Manuzzi in Spirit of Dubai - the latest design to come out of the Victory stable - who made his Class 1 debut in 2007 and taken two podium finishes from 15-starts. Giorgioffshore field an all-Italian line-up in Primatist, with throttleman Nicola Giorgi teaming-up with ten-times F1 Powerboat World Champion, Guido Cappellini, who returned to Class 1 racing at the Brazilian Grand Prix - taking third place in race 2. Norwegian, Christian Zaborowski, who won in Arendal in 2006, heads up a new team, Zabo Racing, running a Mercury V8-powered Maritimo hull. Zaborowski will be joined in boat 91 Relekta, by former Class 1 Brazilian Champion, Paul Gaiser. But the team for all to beat is Victory, the most successful team to race in Arendal, winning seven times from 12 starts, their first win coming in 1994; since regaining the World title in 2007, the team has won 18 out of 25 races, with Al Zafeen and Bin Hendi netting 14 - 10 of those together. In the last three years, just three teams other than Victory have taken race wins - four by Spirit of Norway in 2007, two by Jotun and the last team to beat them, Qatar 95, in 2008. 2010 sees a round of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship being staged in Norway for the 17th consecutive year; Arendal hosted the first in 1994 - won by Victory Team's Saeed Al Tayer and Felix Serralles - and this year hosts its 13th Grand Prix. Oslo has hosted eight Grands Prix and Trondheim two. The action starts with first practice on Friday afternoon followed by the Class 1 Edox Speed Run. Second practice on Saturday morning is immediately followed by qualifying in the Edox Pole Position and Race 1, 50.85Nm - 9 laps, including one long lap. A final practice on Sunday morning is followed by Race 2, 68.21Nm - 12 laps, including two long laps.
UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP - after race 2 of 12
1. Fazza 3 - 40pts
2. Fazza 1 - 30pts
3. Duemme - Foresti & Suardi - 21pts
4. Team Abu Dhabi - 16pts
5. Welmax - 12pts
6. Foresti and Suardi - SCAM - 11pts
7. Welmax Alianza - 10pts
EDOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 1 of 6
1. Fazza 3 - 20pts
2. Welmax - 15pts
3. Fazza 1 - 12pts
4. Duemme - Foresti & Suardi - 9pts
5. Team Abu Dhabi - 7pts
6. Welmax Alianza - 5pts
7. Foresti and Suardi - SCAM - 4pts