November 23, 2010

Class 1 - Abu Dhabi Preview

Nine boats will line up for this week's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and a repeat of last year's race win-double by World Champions Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi will seal the Emirati duo their third World titles.
The Fazza pairing already has one trophy under their belts after clinching the 2010 European Championship at the Italian Grand Prix in Stresa in October, taking six wins from a possible eight this season, and head into the penultimate Grand Prix of the season carrying a 33-point advantage over their teammates in Spirit of Dubai. And, barring any kind of technical meltdown are on course to give Victory Team a tenth World crown.
For the Spirit of Dubai crew the title may be beyond their reach but they know they can cover off the 2010 Champions elect from an unlikely but still mathematically possible title challenge from either Negotiator or GSG Ceramic Design, and will be looking to defend their second place in the points standings by adding to their tally of four podium finishes since teaming-up in Sweden.
Three teams field new pairings this week; Italian outfit GiorgiOffshore bring in Italian motor racing driver Sandro Sardelli to take the driver's seat in the Lamborghini-SCAM powered GiorgiOffshore to make his Class 1 debut alongside experienced throttleman Nicola Giorgi.
Giorgi makes his 73rd Grand Prix start in Abu Dhabi and will be looking to try to repeat his podium success in the Edox Pole Position last year, and to consolidate on this season's performances, which saw him start strongly to finish fifth and fourth in Brazil, grab a podium in race 1 in Sweden and finish sixth in race 2 in the Italian Grand Prix.
UK based Chris Parsonage Racing field an all-Italian driver line up, with Giovanni Carpitella who raced with team owner Parsonage last time out in Italy joined in the Lamborghini V12-powered Negotiator by Class 1 debutant, Luca Formilli Fendi, who has competed in XCAT and Class 3 and for the last three years in P1, lifting the European Championship in 2008.
Carpitella, who made his Class 1 debut in 2002, will not be fazed by a seventh driver change in 30 race starts. In 2009 he guided Al Hameli to a podium on his Class 1 race debut in Abu Dhabi and this season powered two of his drivers to podium successes and race wins, Manuzzi in Norway and Al Tayer in Sweden, on his way to finishing second overall in this season's European Championship.
Looking to build on an already impressive debut season in Class 1 with four podium finishes and currently lying in fourth place in the overall points table GSG Ceramic Design's Guido Cappellini reforms his partnership with fellow Italian Giampaolo Montavoci, who earlier this year won the GPS (P1) World title.
The pair raced together at the season-opener in Brazil, finishing fourth and third, with Montavoci, who last year achieved his best-ever finish in the overall World Championship standings in his twelve years of racing, finishing fourth, looking to continue his extraordinary run of consecutive points-finishes, which began back in Arendal in 2007, and now extends to 22 Grands Prix and 26 races.
Denied their first race win together in race 1 in Italy after being handed a post-race penalty-lap, Welmax's all-Norwegian partnership of Kolbjorn Selmer and Jorn Tandberg has, on occasion this season, looked the crew most likely to upset Fazza's dominance and although out of the running in the race for the World title, a run of three consecutive wins in qualifying puts them at the top of the Edox Pole Position Championship standings, ten points clear of their arch rivals. A fourth win this weekend would all but secure the title barring any major mishaps.
Relekta's relatively new Norwegian-Brazilian pairing, who came together at the Norwegian Grand, will be aiming to up the pace this weekend and to build on their fifth place finish last time out, as more time on the water gives Christian Zaborowski and Paul Gaiser the opportunity to fine tune and develop their partnership.
Team Abu Dhabi will line up for the first time in their home Grand Prix and in front of a partisan crowd, double race winner, Rashed Al Tayer, and American John Tomlinson will be confident that they have the credentials to target a podium finish after narrowly missing out on their debut outing together in Italy.
After taking podiums in Brazil and Norway, then stepping back from race duties in Sweden, Victory Team's double World Champion Mohammed Al Marri returns to the cockpit to make his 70th Grand Prix appearance in the team's third boat, Victory 2010, teaming up with Italian Giorgio Manuzzi, also returning to racing after double podium success in Norway.
The action starts with first practice on tommorow Wednesday afternoon, a second practice on Thursday morning followed by qualifying in the Edox Pole Position and Race 1 - 53.29Nm, 12 laps including three long laps. A final practice on Friday morning is followed by Race 2 - 71.39Nm, 16 laps, including five long laps.
UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 4 of 6, race 8 of 12
1. Fazza - 143pts
2. Skydive Dubai - 110pts
3. Negotiator - 82pts
4. GSG Ceramic Design - 72pts
5. Welmax - 41pts
6. GiorgiOffshore - 24pts
7. Relekta 20pts
8. Foresti & Suardi - SCAM - 11pts
9. Welmax Alianza - 10pts
10. Team Abu Dhabi - 9pts
EDOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 4 of 6
1. Welmax - 75pts
2. Fazza - 65pts
3. Skydive Dubai - 35pts
4. Negotiator - 31pts
5. GSC Ceramic Design - 19pts
6. Relekta - 18pts
7= Team Abu Dhabi - 12pts
7= GiorgiOffshore - 12pts
9. Welmax Alianza - 7pts
10. Foresti & Suardi SCAM - 5pts
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