September 29, 2010

Class 1 - Italy Preview

Eight boats will line up on Lake Maggiore this weekend when Class 1 teams resume rivalries in the Italian Grand Prix, round 4 of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, where the first major title of the season, the European Championship, will be decided and Class 1 celebrates its 150th Grand Prix of the modern era. World Champions Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi lead the race for the world title and will be aiming to continue their imperious form in Fazza, taking wins in Brazil and Norway, but will have to come from behind if they are to successfully defend the team's European title, which was won last year in Stresa by Mohammad Al Mehairi and Jean-Marc Sanchez. Standing between Fazza and the title is Italian Giovanni Carpitella who leads the European standings by 12 points over his Middle East rivals. Carpitella, bidding to be the first Italian to win a major Class 1 title since Matteo Nicolini lifted the European crown in Trondheim in 2005, switches team in Stresa, but carries his points from two podium finishes in Norway and maximum points in Sweden to race alongside Chris Parsonage in Negotiator, returning to Class 1 after a year out of the sport. Abdullah Al Mehairbi and Talib Al Sayed, in Skydive Dubai, have an outside shot at the European title and start their second Grand Prix together looking to continue the impressive form they showed in Sweden, finishing on the podium twice. Local interest will be fixed on the battle between the all-Italian pairings headed by Nicola Giorgi and Guido Cappellini, who were teammates in Norway and Sweden, but have since gone their separate ways and line up in Stresa as rivals. Tomaso Polli returns to Class 1 after a two-year absence to renew his partnership with Giorgi in Giorgioffshore, whilst Cappellini brings in Class 1 debutant, Marcello Menegatto, to throttle Primatist. After taking a battering last time out in Sweden, both Norwegian outfits return to the fray, fully repaired and ready to race. Welmax will be looking to get their title challenge back on track and are chasing a hat-trick of wins in the Edox Pole Position, whilst Relekta will hope to reproduce the pace they have shown in previous outings as they target a season-best finish above fifth spot. Following Carpitella's exit, Team Abu Dhabi has confirmed a new driver line up, bringing in American powerboat ace, John Tomlinson, who raced in Class in 1997, winning the World and European titles with Laith Pharaon, to race alongside Rashed Al Tayer who took his maiden Grand Prix in Sweden. Adding spice to the European title race will be the outcome of Victory Team's appeal against the post-race time penalty imposed on Fazza in Sweden to deny them the win in race 2. A successful outcome for Victory Team will see Carpitella's 12 point advantage shrink to a mere two points.
UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 3, race 6 of 12
1. Fazza - 103pts
2. Skydive Dubai - 86pts
3. Negotiator - 71pts
4. Primatist - 42pts
5. Welmax - 27pts
6. Giorgioffshore - 16pts
7. Foresti and Suardi - SCAM - 11pts
8. Welmax Alianza - 10pts
9. Relekta - 7pts
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 2, race 4 of 6
1. Negotiator - 67pts
2. Fazza - 55pts
3. Skydive Dubai - 48pts
4. Primatist - 21pts
5. Welmax - 15pts
6. Relekta - 7pts
EBOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 3 of 6
1. Welmax - 55pts
2. Fazza - 50pts
3. Skydive Dubai - 30pts
4. Negotiator - 24pts
5. Relekta - 14pts
6. Primatist - 10pts
7. Giorgioffshore - 9
8. Welmax Alianza - 7pts
9. Foresti and Suardi SCAM - 5pts