December 3, 2014

Class One - Vee One - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview

Fourteen boats will line up for the final two races of the season at this week’s Grand Prix of the U.A.E in Abu Dhabi, 3-5 December
The climax to the highly successful and competitive first season of the ‘new look’ ClassOne World Powerboat Championship combining C1 catamarans and V1 monohulls will decide the outcome of World titles in both categories.
In C1 Victory’s Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi hold a 14 point advantage over a trio of outfits who on paper have a shot at lifting the title, whilst in V1 the outcome of the title race is too close to call, Team Chaudron topping the table on 46 points, a tenuous one point cushion over Aquasport with a mere 15 points separating the top five.
Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi will be looking to celebrate their 2014 racing reunion as they go in search of a fourth World title together and a 14thfor Victory Team. The Dubai duo will start as firm favourites and after dominating qualifying, a win in race 1 to add to their three victories in Ibiza and Terracina would all but seal the Championship.
Fifteen points separates Victory’s three potential title protagonists with Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski in Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar leading the challenge from Mikhail Kitashev and Guido Cappellini in New Star-Poliform both outfits grabbing three podium finishes and Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10, race winners’ last time out in race 2 in Terraccina.
Hoping for home success and a repeat of the team’s win in 2010 are Team Abu Dhabi’s American duo, Gary Ballough and 1997 Wold Champion John Tomlinson, who were impressive on their first outing together in Terracina, posting third best times in qualifying and taking third spot in race 1.
The competition and rivalry in V1 is as intense as it gets, four different outfits taking the chequered flag and climbing the top step of the podium and five grabbing podium finishes.
Of the top three each has a race win under their belts but a DNF apiece for Chaudron’s Aaron Chiantar and Dominique Martini and Tommy One’s Maurizio Schepici and Stefano Bonanno last time out could well prove costly, their misfortune allowing Daniel Camphorn and Nico Huybens to capitalise and stake their title claim, the Aquasport pairing splitting their rivals and sitting menacingly in second place.
Karelpiu’s Giuseppe and Antonio Schiano match Tommy One on 39 points in third spot and line-up in Abu Dhabi looking for their first win of the year, as do Ian Blacker and Drew Langdon in Silverline – both outfits finishing in podium spots twice.
Nico Bertels and Frank Hemelaer, race winner’s in Terracina, have it all to do with an 18 points margin to overturn, their strategy to run different crews for race 1 and 2 resulting in their points having to be allocated accordingly, whilst Siegfried Greve and Udo Gross will be hoping for a trouble free run in Hercules Sagemann after a frustrating double DNF last time out.
Teams will get their first impressions in tomorrow’s two practice sessions of what looks set to be a challenging course around Lulu Island, with a potentially rough offshore leg and a flat fast leg on the inside in front of the Abu Dhabi Corniche.
Official qualifying takes place on Thursday at 10.30hrs [local] followed by race 1 at 15.30hrs, a second qualifying and race 2 closing out the year on Friday.