September 5, 2011

Powerboat OGP - Siracusa, Sicily Grand Prix

RACE ONE
Furnibo, piloted by Pierre Colpin and Frank Hemelaer, triumphed during an exhilarating opening race of the UIM Siracusa Ocean Grand Prix, leading home Swedish-American team Lucas Oil. In the Supersport class, Federico Montanari, Alfredo Zanardo and Giambattista Gabriele in Jolly Drive took the chequered flag in commanding fashion.
As the green flag dropped on the first of this weekend’s shorter sprint races, high temperatures made for an exhausting ride. As the boats powered across the Ionian Sea throwing up spectacular rooster tails, it was the Belgian 2B1 Racing Team in Furnibo that stole a march on the field, pulling away to lead comfortably into the first buoy.
However, the Stirling-powered Lucas Oil boat of Michael Silfverberg and Nigel Hook was quickly on their tail and launched a challenge for the lead but could do nothing to catch the current Evo class leaders.
The German Searex team, in third, had made a good start but engine problems later forced them to retire. As the race moved into the closing stages, Furnibo had firmly secured their place on the top step of the podium with Lucas Oil having to settle for second.
Meanwhile, in SuperSport, Italian’s Jolly Drive showed the early pace, gaining good speed from the start and building a significant lead by the end of the first lap, with Karelpiu’ tucked in second place ahead of SIF. It wasn’t long though before the experienced Renato Guidi, Stefano Acanfora and Vittorio Foglia Manzillo reeled in and then passed the Mercury-powered Fountain, before settling into second place for the remainder of the race. Despite one last charge by Karelpiu’ in the closing stages, the father and son pairing of Guieseppe and Antonio Schiano di Cola, alongside Francesco Calo, finished in third.
UIM Siracusa Ocean Grand Prix (Round 03) PROVISIONAL
Sprint Race Results – Evo Class
Pos. — No. — Boat Name — Nat. — Time — Pts.
1 — 33 — Furnibo — BEL — 20
2 — 77 — Lucas Oil — SWE — 16
66 — Hercules Sagemann — DEU – DNF
Sprint Race Results – SuperSport Class
1 — 06 — Jolly Drive — ITA — 20
2 — 38 — SIF — ITA — 16
3 — 81 – Karelpiu’ — ITA — 12
RACE TWO
Jolly Drive, the Yanmar-powered Italian powerboat took its second consecutive victory in the SuperSport class of the UIM Siracusa Ocean Grand Prix to make a decisive move in the quest for the world title; an achievement they last accomplished in 2005. On a glass-like surface, Federico Montanari, Alfredo Zanardo and Giambattista Gabriele demonstrated the boat’s preference for flat waters, leading from start to finish. Behind them SIF and Karelpiu looked evenly matched and an intriguing battle for second place developed. That was, until on lap three the Mercury-powered Donzi of SIF took control when their rival missed a buoy. Despite making a swift course-correction, the gap was just too great for the Fountain boat despite making up significant ground over the 46 nautical mile Sprint course. All three Italian boats crossed the line within a few lengths of each other, suggesting that the fight for the season’s spoils will continue right down to the wire. In Evo, the tables were turned upside-down as the Lucas Oil Scandinavian Offshore Challenge of Michael Silfverberg and Nigel Hook took a first win of the season from the German Searex team, with Belgian boat, Furnibo failing to complete the required 70 percent race distance. The race had looked to be firmly in the grasp of Siegfried Greve and Douglas Verbanck in Hercules Sagemann, who had taken the lead from Lucas Oil on lap two, only for the German team to relinquish first place in the closing stages. Before today’s race, Furnibo, piloted by Pierre Colpin and Frank Hemelaer had dominated the championship with three consecutive wins. That lead is now fragile; the performance of Searex and the win for Lucas Oil, now under the supervision of the US powerboating legend Jerry Gilbreath, suggests that this won’t be the last win for the team.
PROVISIONAL Sprint Race Results
Evo Class
Pos. -- No. -- Boat Name -- Nat. -- Time -- Pts
1 -- 77 -- Lucas Oil -- SWE -- 00:37:50:87 -- 20
2 -- 66 -- Hercules Sagemann -- DEU – 00:38:10:44 -- 16 
- --  33 -- Furnibo -- BEL -- DNF -- 0 UIM Siracusa Ocean Grand Prix (Round 04)
SuperSport Class
1 -- 06 -- Jolly Drive -- ITA -- 00:36:54:27 -- 20
2 -- 38 -- SIF -- ITA -- 00:36:58:04 -- 16
3 -- 81 – Karelpiu’ -- ITA -- 00:37:00:86 -- 12
RACE THREE
The disappointment of yesterday’s engine problems were short lived for the Belgian 2B1 Racing Team as Furnibo, the Mercury-powered Fountain returned to form, taking the third and final race and the UIM Siracusa Ocean Grand Prix Evo title ahead of Lucas Oil.
The race had looked to be a foregone conclusion, with Furnibo building a substantial lead on the opening lap, but Michael Silfverberg and Nigel Hook in Lucas Oil began to unleash the potential of the Silverhook boat and close the gap. With their Stirling engines at full-chat, it looked like the pair could take the lead.
For eight laps the boats were a rooster tail apart, the defining moment coming with an opportunistic manouvre by the Belgians as four boats arrived at a buoy together. The Fountain dived ahead of two slower SuperSport boats with Lucas Oil forced to hold off, losing momentum and eventually the race. The German Searex Racing Team eventually retired with an alternator problem but not before posting five fastest laps. It was one of those days!
In SuperSport, another intriguing and compelling race unfolded with a three-way battle for the lead. Federico Montanari, Alfredo Zanardo and Giambattista Gabriele had started the race in dominant fashion and were on course to make it a weekend hat-trick for Jolly Drive but the Mercury-powered Fountain of Karelpiu and Donzi of SIF were definitely ‘at the races’.
The three Italian crews battled hard from start to finish providing close-fought action throughout. For most of the race only seven seconds separated the three Italian boats until SIF was forced to retire. The leading two boats continued to battle nose-to-rooster tail right up to the chequered flag, Karelpiu having stolen the lead with just three laps remaining. Today’s win brings the RG87 Racing Team within eight points of Jolly Drive at the seasons half way point and despite losing the race won the SuperSport class of the UIM Siracusa Ocean Grand Prix.
With both Championship titles still in contention, it is all to play for as the teams head to Milazzo in two weeks time. This inaugural Ocean Grand Prix season promises to go down to the wire, providing a nail-biting spectacle and world class racing action.
UIM Siracusa Ocean Grand Prix
Evo Class – PROVISIONAL Results
Pos. — No. — Boat Name — Nat. — Pts.
1 — 33 — Furnibo — BEL — 40
2 — 77 — Lucas Oil — SWE — 32
3 — 66 — Hercules Sagemann — DEU — 20
SuperSport Class – PROVISIONAL Results
1 — 06 — Jolly Drive — ITA — 56
2 — 81 – Karelpiu’ — ITA — 44
3 — 38 — SIF — ITA — 32
UIM Ocean Grand Prix Powerboat World Championship
Evo Class Standings
Pos. — No. — Boat Name — Nat. — Pts.
1 — 33 — Furnibo — BEL — 85
2 — 77 — Lucas Oil — SWE — 65
3 — 66 — Hercules Sagemann — DEU — 43
4 — 47 — Silverline — GBR – 12
SuperSport Class Standings
1 — 06 — Jolly Drive — ITA — 98
2 — 81 – Karelpiu’ — ITA — 90
3 — 38 — SIF — ITA — 48