October 15, 2014

Class One - Vee One - Italy Grand Prix Preview

Victory and Chaudron top the standings in the UIM C1 and V1 World and European Championships and head-up a 13-strong line-up for the European title decider at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix in Terracina.
Following back-to-back wins at the Mediterranean GP in Ibiza in September Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi head into round 2 with a healthy 13 point margin over New Star-Poliform and Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar as they go in search of the team’s 100th chequered flag, with defending six time World Champion Al Zaffain closing in on eight time World Champion Steve Curtis’ long-standing record of 42 race wins.
Italy’s Guido Cappellini will be looking to build on a very encouraging double podium in New Star-Poliform at the season-opener alongside C1 rookie Mikhail Kitashev, the first Russian competitor in C1, and at least targeting a repeat of the team’s second place in race 2 in Terracina last year.
Zabo-Relekta-Isiklar’s Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski head there with a score to settle and looking to lay-to-rest the ghost that saw their maiden GP win literally evaporate when they ran out of fuel within sight of the chequered flag last year. In Ibiza, as is becoming increasingly typical of the Norwegian-Turkish outfits spirit, they overcame the odds that were stacking up against them after suffering two broken gearboxes, but after lengthy repairs they delivered two hard and well-earned podiums.
Italian outfit Fendi Racing will run a revised line-up in their number two boat with last year’s European Championship winning duo of Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato teaming-up for the first time this season, Amato stepping in to replace Tarik Oktem.
But Jennings and Amato and the team will require a minor miracle if they are to retain the title it won in dramatic fashion last year with Jennings and Amato’s last lap win in race 2, the defending Champions heading into the weekend staring at a 31 point deficit, their teammates a further four points off the leader Victory, who look to be on course to lift an eighth European crown.
Giovanni Carpitella, Fendi Racing team principal and throttleman of LFF10 alongside owner-driver Luca Fendi, has confirmed that the gremlins that side-lined LFF8-Polimersan last time out have been resolved and that the team will arrive in Terracina from their base just a stones’ throw up the road at Nautica Badino well loaded with spare parts, aiming to avoid the issues that simmered between them and their supplier after breaking a gearbox in race 1 and sitting out race 2 in Ibiza.
Fendi and Carpitella proved in qualifying in Ibiza when they shared the quickest time with Victory that they have the pace and will be hoping for a trouble free run this weekend to challenge for the win.
After the unfortunate first corner crash in race 2 in Ibiza Team Abu Dhabi’s newest generation MTI is repaired and will be on the start line in Terracina but the question still to be answered and 100 percent confirmed, as speculation mounts that a driver change may be on the cards, is who will be in it, the likely candidates are American aces John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough.
In V1 the title race is a much tighter and intensely competitive affair with just five points separating the top three and looks to be a three-way dice between Chaudron, Karelpiu and Tommy One, all three outfits boasting World Championship pedigrees with the next four boats Aquasport, Bernico-New Star, Nassau and Silverline split by just two points.
The opening races of the season delivered some impressive performances with three different manufacturers Chaudron, Fountain and Metamarine locking out the top three slots and more of the same can be expected in Terracina.
But it is Malta’s triple World Champion Aaron Ciantar and French Champion Dominique Martini who hold a slender advantage and lead by two points after a third and a comprehensive start-to-finish unchallenged win last time out.
They can expect to be pressed by the consistent all-Italian Karelpiu who rotated crew in Ibiza with father and son duo of Antonio and Giuseppe Schiano and Federico Montanari lining up in Terracina on the back of two podium seconds.
Both Chaudron and Karelpiu know that they will more than likely have to fend off the mighty Tommy One, the powerhouse of the V1 class, sitting in third spot after Maurizio Schepici and Stefano Bonanno’s impressive win in race 1 in Ibiza.
If there is a challenge to come from the chasing group of four all will have to up the ante, but it may well be the all-British pairing of Ian Blacker and Drew Langdon who could get into the mix and the only other crew to make the podium in Ibiza, but they have a 20 point deficit to overturn.
The first opportunity for teams to get out on the circuit are two practice sessions on Friday, followed by qualifying and race 1 on Saturday with a second qualifying session and race 2 on Sunday.