September 3, 2014

Class One - Vee One - 2014 Season Preview

The Spanish Island of Ibiza is all set to host the heavyweights of world powerboat racing when they take to the waters off Playa D’en Bossa for the Mediterranean Grand Prix on 5-7 September.
For the first time in over two decades catamarans and monohulls will race alongside each other in the UIM Class 1 and V1 World Powerboat Championships, with an anticipated 14-boats lining up as the revised new-look Championships format debuts in Ibiza and Class 1 returns to Spanish waters for the first time since 2006.
CLASS-ONE
Defending and six-time Class 1 World Champion Arif Al Zaffain reignites his formidable partnership with Nadir Bin Hendi as the Victory duo start their title campaign and go in search of the Dubai-based teams 14th crown and look to extend its seven-year Championship winning streak.
Back together in Class 1 for the first time in two years, Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi will be intent on a winning start and adding to their impressive strike-rate, winning 20 times from 28 outings to clinch three World and Middle East titles and a European and Pole Position Championship in three years.
Looking to unseat them will be last year’s Championship runners-up Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski in Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar. After considerable modifications to the boat and further work on the Mercury engines the team is confident that it can challenge for the title as the Turkish-Norwegian pairing goes in search of that elusive first win together that they so narrowly missed out on in Italy last year, to complement their multiple podium finishes.
Also looking for their first win together is the all Italian pairing of Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in Fendi Racing’s number one boat LFF10. Throttleman Carpitella strongly believes that with the problems they faced last year now fully resolved they too can challenge unhindered as front runners and improve on last season’s five podiums.
A revised line up in the second Fendi outfit LFF8-Polimersan sees defending European Champion Miles Jennings switching seats to take the throttles with Tarik Oktem coming in to drive, both Fendi boats running SCAM V12s.
Team Abu Dhabi retains the same line up that ended last year with a double podium at their home Grand Prix, with Faleh Al Mansoori and three time race-winner Rashed Al Tayer launching their challenge in a new Randy Scism designed and built MTI and switching from V12 to Mercury V8 power-plants.
Making a welcome return to frontline racing after opting not to compete in 2013 but to manage his team from the side lines is ten-time F1H2O World Champion Guido Cappellini, whose collaboration with entrepreneur Andrey Kitashev marks the debut of Russia into the Championship, with Mikhail Kitashev stepping up and in to take the throttles beside Cappellini in the DAC 40 Mercury powered Newstar-Poliform.
FA.RO. ACCIAI is expected to complete the Class 1 line-up but the team is yet to reveal who will race.
VEE-ONE
The news of the combined Championships drew an immediate and positive response with seven teams from across Europe signing up to race in V1.
Two entries from Italy sees Evolution and Super Sport Champions Maurizio Schepici and Marco Pennesi teaming-up in the Metamarine, Seatek-powered Tommy One, with father-son pairing of Antonio and Giuseppe Schiano, who lifted the Super Sport European and Italian Championships in 2010, returning to racing after a three year absence in the Mercury-powered Fountain 42, Karelpiu RG-87, which will carry the colours and flag of the Circolo Canottieri Napoli (Naples Rowing Club) which this year celebrates its centenary.
Team owner-driver Siegfried Greve who finished second and third overall in the Endurance Championship in 2011 and 2010 heads up German outfit Searex Racing’s challenge alongside countryman Udo Gross in the Searex built, Searex-engined Hercules Sagemann.
Aaron Ciantar will again put the Chaudron powerboat brand firmly in the international spotlight when he lines up alongside 2011 French Champion Dominique Martini in the 13-metre Chaudron Canopy 41.
Ciantar, 34 from Malta, will be targeting a fourth world title to add to the two he won in Super Sport in 2008 and 2009, and the title he won in the Key West Championship in America in 2011 in the same boat he will race in Ibiza.
The UK challenge is led by Bullet Racing’s hugely experienced Drew Langdon racing with fellow-brit Ian Blacker in the Fountain 42, Express Marine powered Silverline. A former European and British Endurance Champion, Langdon kicks off his campaign and will be aiming to break his World title near misses, finishing second in the Endurance Championship in 2009 and second in Super Sport in 2007, 2005 and 2004.
Two entries from Belgium sees Aquasport’s Nico Huybens teaming-up with Briton Daniel Cramphorn and Bernico-Newstar yet to finalise who will race alongside Nico Bertels.
The teams take to the water for first practice on Friday [5 September] morning followed by official qualifying at 14.45hrs [local]. Saturday morning practice is followed by race 1 at 15.30hrs, with a final morning practice session and qualifying for race 2 at 15.30hrs on Sunday.