Showing posts with label Class 1. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Class 1. Show all posts

December 7, 2014

Class One - Vee One - Abu Dhabi Race Two

Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi delivered another racing master class to win race 2 of the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi and claim Victory Team’s 14th World title.
Race 2 honours in V1 went to Bernico-New Star’s Belgium duo, Nico Bertels and Frank Hemelaer, with fourth place for race 1 winners Aaron Ciantar and Dominique Martini in Chaudron good enough to seal the V1 World Championship.
Starting from pole, Victory’s newly crowned Champions’ only challenge came at the start in a drag race to the first turn with Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10, before they grabbed the advantage and disappeared off into the distance.
Today’s win, the duo’s fifth of the season, was another demonstration of their absolute superiority, going on to take the chequered flag and complete the 10 laps by a winning margin of 54.42seconds.
In a repeat of race 1 the pace of the leaders was simply too much for Team Abu Dhabi and LFF10, the only other boats to go the distance, LFF8 stopping on lap 1 followed a lap later by Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar, with New Star-Poliform failing to make the start.
After a processional seven laps the race and the fight for the second and third steps of the podium between LFF10 and Team Abu Dhabi’s Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson ignited.
LFF10 led until lap 8 but could not shake of their pursuers and were slowly and surely hauled in by the American’s with the time split down three seconds.
At the end lap 9 and going into the final turn Team Abu Dhabi came alongside LFF10, both outfits going into the turn side-by-side and both hooking, with Team Abu Dhabi emerging in front and running out the final lap to claim second spot.
Despite the disappointment of today’s retirement Ugur Isik and Cristian Zaborowski’s season-haul of five podiums was enough to give them the runners-up slot in the World Championship, with Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in third.
Not for the first time this season the V1 teams produced some great racing, with the lead changing hands and the race for the podium places hotly contested.
After yesterday’s somewhat fraught day for Bernico-New Star’s four man squad, DQ’d from both qualifying and race 1, Nico Bertels and Frank Hemelaer came back in style to take a well-deserved win.
Champions elect Chaudron got the jump on pole-sitters Aquasport and led from the start with Bernico-New Star giving chase and keeping the gap too under eight seconds. On Lap 5 Bernico-New Star hit the front and pulled away from a struggling Chaudron to take their second win of the year.
Behind the leaders Aquasport, Karelpiu and Tommy One enjoyed and produced the best fight of the race; first Aquasport held the upper hand, then Karelpiu grabbed the advantage until lap 5 the two trading places again before Daniel Cramphorn and Nico Huybens hit trouble and dropped back, eventually finishing in fifth.
With Chaudron slowing to a crawl and limping home in fourth, the remaining podium positions went to Karelpiu’s Antonio Schiano and Federico Montanari and Tommy One’s Stefano Bonanno and Maurizio Schepici.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Hercules Sagemann’s Andreas Podolsky and Udo Gross who struggled with technical problems, completing just five laps, Silverline's Ian Blacker and Drew Langdon sidelined before the start with broken engine.

December 5, 2014

Class One - Vee One - Abu Dhabi Race One

Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi moved to within one point of a 14th World title for Dubai's Victory Team following an emphatic win in race 1 of the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.
Their superiority was mirrored in V1 by Malta's Team Chaudron whose win moved them 12 points clear in the overall standings and one step closer to the World title.
Starting from pole after clinching the Pole Position Championship in the morning the Victory pairing stormed into the lead and go 12 seconds clear of New Star-Poliform at the end of lap 1, with Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato in LFF8-Silverline in third. But their race ended two laps later when the escape hatch in the hull blew out.
By mid-race Victory had opened up a 35 second margin and went on unchallenged to close out the eight lap race and take their fourth chequered flag of the year to win by 79 seconds. 
Behind them New Star-Poliform led the processional chase ahead of Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar and Team Abu Dhabi but neither outfit had any answer to the pace of the leaders and the podium places looked to settled. But on lap 6 New Star-Poliform slowed, a broken water pump belt ending Mikhail Kitashev and Guido Cappellini’s challenge.
With New Star-Poliform out, Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski went on to take their fourth podium of the year and keep their title hopes flickering, with American’s Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson finishing in third for Team Abu Dhabi.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10 whose hopes of any challenge for a podium finish ended almost immediately when an engine stopped, forcing them to shut down the other engine to reboot the system.
From lying in 10th place overall at the end of lap 1 the Italians recovered to force their way up through the pack to take fourth and move into third overall in the Championship standings.
In an equally processional afternoon for the V1’s, Aaron Ciantar and Dominique Martini staked their claim on the Championship, cruising home untroubled and unchallenged in Chaudron with a lap to spare. "It was quite rough on the outside for the start but our boat is good in these conditions," said Aaron Ciantar. "For most ofthe race we were able to keep up a good speed and take the turns at full throttle. Now we will try to win the title."
After a late disqualification from third place in qualifying and forced to start from the back, Nico Bertels and Frank Hemelaer recovered well to finish second in Bernico-New Star, with Stefano Bonanno and Maurizio Schepici bringing Tommy One home in third.
Fourth place for Aquasport’s Daniel Camphorn and Nico Huybens keeps them in the hunt for the title, with Hercules Sagemanns’ Andreas Podolsky and Udo Gross finishing in fifth ahead of Ian Blacker and Drew Langdon who limped home in an ailing Silverline to take points in sixth.
Giuseppe and Antonio Schiano's hopes of carrying their challenge for the title into the final day ended when Karelpiu failed to make the start of race 1 after damaging an engine after a spinout in qualifying.
Only a calamity can stop Victory from lifting the C1 crown, with the fight for the title in V1 between Chaudron, Aquasport and Tommy One.

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.

October 20, 2014

Class One - Vee One - Italy Grand Prix Race Two

Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella produced a breath taking performance to take their first win together in C1 at the team’s home Grand Prix, with Aquasport’s Daniel Cramphorn and Nico Huybens producing a totally dominant performance to win in V1.
Lining up in first and second at the start, Victory and LFF10 delivered a sensational opening lap with Fendi and Carpitella stealing the advantage from the pole-sitters immediately and leading them to the first turn, then holding them off in a nail biting run to the start-finish line as the two closed on each other and just inches apart going into turn one of lap 2, LFF10 coming out in front.
From that point LFF10 were able to maintain the upper hand, the gap between them fluctuating as they took their long laps. LLF10 was eight seconds clear by lap 7 when the defending World Champions and race 1 winners suddenly slowed to a crawl, Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi limping round for two laps before retiring from the race with a broken drop box.
For the remaining seven laps Fendi and Carpitella were out on their own and after 25 races together delivered the victory they had been waiting for, taking the chequered flag to win by over 30 seconds. “It was an amazing race for us and we won it with a great start and to win at home is an incredible feeling. Today we showed that Fendi and Victory are at the same level,” said Luca Fendi. “We gave respect to them at the first turn and left them space. They came out on the inside with a bit more speed but we pulled it back and were side-by-side and Giovanni said to me, just go for the corner.”
With Victory side-lined the fight for second place was between Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar and Abu Dhabi who traded place behind the leaders. Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski passed Abu Dhabi on lap 3 and held them off until lap 7 when they conceded position, and after the next six laps and with a 20 second advantage it looked as though Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson were on course for a second podium, but on the final lap Abu Dhabi slowed after running out fuel, Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar gifted second place.
Third place went to Guido Cappellini and Mikhail Kitashev in New Star-Poliform, running in eighth for eight laps but taking advantage of the retirees ahead of them to take their third podium of the year, with outgoing European Champions Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato finishing fourth.
After seeing victory slip from their grasp yesterday Aquasport’s Daniel Cramphorn and Nico Huybens made up for it today, going quickest in qualifying this morning and delivering an emphatic start-to-finish victory over Chaudron and Tommy One. “No gremlins for us today, it was a perfect race,” said driver Daniel Cramphorn. “When you get out front you can run the race you want, take the turns how you want. We had no traffic to worry about after our early battle with Chaudron, and the boat ran perfectly. This win is for Mike Fiore.”
Second place after yesterday’s retirement was enough for Aaron Chiantar and Dominique Martini to clinch the V1 European Championship, with another retiree from race 1 Tommy One rewarded after a late night working on the boat, Maurizio Schepici and Stefano Bonanno moving up from the back of the field to take third. “We didn’t have the best set-up today and Aquasport was very quick so we knew that we just had to get round in second to win the title which we are very happy with.” said Aaron Chiantar.
Karelpiu’s Antonio and Giuseppe Schiano, another team to work late into the night on repairs, held off a race long challenge from Bernico-New Star to take fourth, with Silverline, who had been running in third, finishing sixth after a spin out.

October 18, 2014

Class One - Vee One - Italy Grand Prix Race One

Victory and Bernico-New Star took race 1 honours in a dramatic and incident-filled first race at the Grand Prix of Italy, which was stopped after a first corner spin-out by Tommy One after the start lap, forcing officials to bring out the red flag.
Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi were in control of the race, leading the C1 boats onto the second lap ahead of LFF10 and Team Abu Dhabi when the race was called to a halt.
Bernico-New Star, Chaudron and Aquasport were the first V1s to cross the start-finish line and were through turn one when Maurizio Schepici and Stefano Bonanno hooked and span out forcing Karelpiu’s Federico Montanari and Antonio Schiano to try to take evasive action but they were unable to avoid a coming together and damaging their drives, both boats unable to continue.
There was more drama before the restart with Championship leader’s Aaron Chiantar and Dominique Martini pulling off the course and limping back to the pits, a broken turbo charger belt ending their race, a broken propeller on lap 1 ending Germany’s Siegfried Greve and Udo Gross’ race.
From the restart pole-sitters Victory again resumed complete control and were never put under any pressure, moving 15 second clear of LFF10 by lap 5, going on to win comfortably by 27 seconds to seal an eighth European Championship for the Dubai based team. “It was comfortable for us from start to finish,” said Nadir Bin Hendi. “We didn’t need to push too much and made sure we took it easy to save the engines for tomorrow. There is more to come, whatever the conditions tomorrow.”
Local favourites Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10 were able to fend off the threat from Team Abu Dhabi but maintained P2, apart for a brief spell when they and the front runners took their long laps conceding the place to teammates Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato who went on to finish fifth, to grab their first podium of the year, but the race was far from easy for the all-Italian duo. “It was a nightmare race for me and Luca,” said Carpitella. “We had a big fuel leak from the start and the fumes inside the cockpit were unbelievable. My eyes were stinging, it was hard to see, breathe and at times keep conscious. Then we lost instruments, no trim indicators no RPM so we just focussed on getting to the finish line.”
Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson produced just the comeback result Team Abu Dhabi was hoping for producing an impressive performance to take third place, a third podium for Tomlinson with the team and a first on his C1 debut for Ballough. “We’re happy with that, glad we brought it home and in good shape,” said Tomlinson. “It was a good fair race with Fendi, they left us room when we needed it. Now we have to work on one or two things to pick up the pace for tomorrow.”
Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski were unable to repeat the podium success they saw in Ibiza, bringing Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar home in fourth, and there was disappointment for New Star-Poliform’s Guido Cappellini and Mikhail Kitashev, retiring immediately after the restart.
With the top three boats in V1 side-lined before the restart, the Championship race had been blown wide open and Bernico-New Star, Silverline and Aquasport capitalised on it and produced a brilliant race, the trio swapping places throughout.
Aquasport’s Daniel Cramphorn and Nico Huyben’s led from the restart but were overhauled by Nico Bertels and Frank Hemelaer in Bernico-New Star on lap 3 and a lap later by Silverline’s Ian Blacker and Drew Langdon.
The leaders then raced side-by side for the next two laps with Silverline piling on the pressure and passing the race leader on lap 5, but two laps later Bernico New-Star came again and made the decisive pass going on to take a brilliant win by 2.86 seconds to move to the top of the Championship standings. “We are back in the title race and after all the trouble we’ve had this is a great result and I have to thank all my team,” said a delighted Nico Bertels. “You know it’s races like this when a couple of teams really start to push each other that you get great racing and the feeling after is unbelievable.”
Despite missing out on the top step, Drew Langdon was more than happy to pick up a second podium in two races. “It was a great race but they got the last bite of the cherry,” he said. “They could out turn us and were awesome in the corners. We had a trouble free run and we know these guys, you can race close without any problems. We got them a few times, but not at the right time, but hats off to them.”
Third place for Aquasport was their best result this season and puts them back in the title race. “We still have some gremlins to iron out, but happy with the result but of course would have loved to have hung on to the lead,” said Daniel Cramphorn. “We had an engine that kept causing us issues so we now have to try to solve the problem, but we’re right back in the fight.”

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.

September 8, 2014

Class One - Vee One - Mediterranean Grand Prix Race Two

Victory and Chaudron produced the stand-out performances of the afternoon and dominated race 2 of the Mediterranean Grand Prix, cruising to emphatic victories in their respective classes in a dramatic race that was red flagged after Abu Dhabi crashed out at the first corner, both Faleh AL Mansoori and Rashed Al Tayer emerging unscathed from the upturned boat.
It was a bitter blow for Al Mansoori and Al Tayer on their debut Grand Prix outing in their new boat, and after going second quickest in qualifying earlier in the day were running in second spot behind Victory at the first turn when they hooked and went over.
The boats were led round under the yellow flag and from the restart Victory’s Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi dropped the hammer and simply disappeared off into the distance and were unchallenged throughout to take the win and complete a perfect weekend in Ibiza for the Dubai duo on their first outing together in Class 1 since 2011.
Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski produced another solid performance and despite breaking two gearboxes over the weekend picked up another podium finishing in second place, with Guido Cappellini and Mikhail Kitashev on their first outing together also picking up a second podium, with third.
It was a frustrating and disappointing day for Fendi Racing, with Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella failing to make the start after breaking their gearbox yesterday, and any hopes of team success faded early when Tarek Oktem and Miles Jennings limped back to the pits before the restart.
The honours in V1 went to Aaron Ciantar and Dominic Martini in Chaudron who, like Victory, left their rivals in their wake to win unchallenged over the 12 laps, taking the chequered flag with the chasing pack well in arrears, finishing on the same lap as the C1 boats ahead of them to take an early lead in the Championship standings.
Second home was Karelpiu, the team switching driver for race 2 with Federico Montanari teaming -up with Antonio Schiano. The duo held off a strong challenge from Aquasport on lap 3 as the two outfits thundered through the start-finish line side-by-side and then from a momentarily advancing Tommy One.
The drive off the afternoon belonged to Drew Langdon and Ian Blacker in Silverline who found good pace mid race, moving up from sixth spot on lap 2, passing Bernico-New Star and overhauling Aquasport and Tommy One on lap 7 to take the third step of the podium.

September 6, 2014

Class One - Vee One - Mediterranean Grand Prix Race One

Thirteen boats lined up for the first race in over two decades with Class 1 catamarans and V1 mono-hulls running side-by-side, with Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi carrying on from where they left off and last raced together in 2011, cruising to an easy victory in race 1 of the Mediterranean Grand Prix to win by a massive 49 second margin.
The Victory duo who earlier in the day shared the pole position spoils with LFF10, led from the start and were never challenged, going on to complete the 13 laps in 35:41.85s.
Despite matching the winners in qualifying Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella could not match the sustained pace of the leader’s, but looked comfortable in second spot when they suddenly hit trouble on lap 9 and stopped.
From third place at the end of lap 1 Guido Cappellini and C1 rookie Mikhail Kitashev held off an initial challenge from Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski in Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar before opening out a comfortable advantage to move into and take second spot following the exit of LFF10.
The Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar crew in turn faced a race long challenge from Faleh Al Mansoori and Rashed Al Tayer in Team Abu Dhabi’s new MTI, who passed them on the final lap to take the chequered flag in third, only to be hit with a 25-second post-race penalty for destroying a turn buoy, handing the podium spot back to Isiklar and Zaborowski, the Abu Dhabi duo dropping to fifth behind LFF8-Polimersan.
The performance of the day came in V1 from the Tommy One crew of Maurizio Schepici and Stefano Bonanno who powered their way through the field from a long way back in fourth spot, first passing Bernico-New Star, then the early race leader’s Chaudron before setting their sights on and overhauling the pole sitters Antonio and Giuseppe Schiano in Karelpiu, to take the win in 36:33.39s.

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.

December 6, 2013

Class 1 - Abu Dhabi UAE Grand Prix

RACE 1
Nadir Bin Hendi made a dream return to the Class 1 World Championship winning race 1 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix alongside Darren Nicholson in Victory Team Australia in their first outing together.
It was an emotional moment for the four-time World Champion competing in Class 1 for the first time following a two-year ban. 
The win came at the expense of teammates and Championship leader’s Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri who led for eight of the ten laps when, for the second time in two races, a broken propeller robbed them of the victory and the chance to close out the title race.
Christian Zaborowski and Ugur Isik recovered from a poor start position to move up from fifth to take their fifth podium of the year, taking the chequered flag in third but were elevated to second due to the time compensation given for running the cast propellers.
Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori rounded off a good day for the UAE ending the team’s run of bad luck to take their best result of the year finishing third to give rookie driver Al Mansoori his first podium.
Engine issues for LF10 before the start of the race ended Giovanni Carpitella and Ahmed Al Hameli’s chances of challenging for the podium falling a lap behind immediately then making up ground to eventually finish ahead of their teammates LF8 in fourth.
Victory 3 limped across the line in sixth to pick up valuable points ahead of FA.RO ACCIAI, technical problem’s ending Poliform-Polimersan’s race on lap 1.
Today’s result cuts Victory’s lead at the top of the points standings to 16, with Victory Team Australia and Zabo-Isiklar now tied in second place on 80 and with a maximum 20 points still up for grabs the Championship will be decided in the final race of the season tomorrow.
Starting from pole position Al Zafeen and Al Marri hit the front on the start leg on the outside of Lulu Island and were eight seconds clear of Victory Australia at the end of lap one, Team Abu Dhabi in third ahead of Zabo-Isiklar and Poliform-Polimersan, with title contenders LF10 down in eighth spot.
By mid-race the Champions-elect were 22 seconds clear and in cruise control and on their way to the team’s 13th World title when with just two laps remaining they suddenly slowed and were passed by Bin Hendi and Nicholson to take the win.
After gearbox problems in qualifying Zabo-Isiklar throttleman Christian Zaborowski was more than pleased with second place. 
Team Abu Dhabi was never challenged for their eventual third place and despite the recovery from a lap down to finish fourth, LF10’s title challenge is over. FA.RO ACCIAI again picked up points with Roberto Lo Piano and Luca Nicolini finishing in seventh.
ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX – race 1 
1. 7 Victory Team Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / N Bin Hendi (UAE) 29:40.54s
2. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 1:04.00s
3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) + 1:10.00s
4. 10 LF10 - Ahmed Al Hameli (UAE) / G Carpitella (ITA) - + 1:28.00s
5. 8 LF8 - M Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 2:43.00s
6. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) + 1 lap
7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - R Lo Piano (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 lap
Poliform - T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (ITA) - DNF
RACE 2
Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri produced a command performance to win race 2 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and clinch a record 13th Class 1 World Championship title for Victory Team.
The only brief challenge to their utter supremacy over the 14 laps came early on when their teammates Darren Nicholson and Nadir Bin Hendi in Victory Australia jumped them at the start on the outside leg to lead, albeit briefly.
But a mistake by Nicholson at the first turn allowed Al Zaffain and Al Marri to get ahead and once out front they simply disappeared off into the distance to win by over 40 seconds with Al Zaffain and Al Marri taking their 37th and 27th career wins. 
Nicholson and Bin Hendi gave chase in second but their title challenge ended on lap two when an engine let go and despite efforts to bring the boat home to try to pick up points they retired from the race four laps later.
Giovanni Carpitella and F1H2O star Ahmed Al Hameli moved in to second spot on lap three after Poliform-Polimersan stopped with an engine problem, but they had no answer to the pace of the leaders, running out the race to take second place. 
After a frustrating year Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori rounded off their season with a second podium in as many days moving up from sixth place at the end of lap one to finish in third. 
LF8’s Alfredo Amato and Miles Jennings benefitted from the retirees list and despite starting from eighth ended the day in fourth place ahead of Roberto Lo Piano and Luca Nicolini in FA.RO ACCIAI.
Chirstian Zaborowski and Ugur Isik were on the back foot from the start after failing to post a time in qualifying when a torque sensor broke, but despite starting from seventh they hauled Zabo-Isiklar up through the pack and were into third spot by lap 3 and chasing down LF10 when they too had engine problems, compounded by steering issues, slowing to a crawl on lap seven.
Zaborowski and Isik nursed their stricken boat around the 5.05Nm circuit for the next three laps and literally floated across the finish line to complete 10 laps to secure the vital points needed to secure the runners-up slot in the overall World Championship standings, finishing ahead of LF10 by one point.
ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX – race 2
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - 41:22.39s
2. 10 LF10 - A Al Hameli (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 41.41s
3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) + 2:04s
4. 8 LF8 - M Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 1 lap
5. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - R Lo Piano (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 lap
6. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 4 laps
7 Victory Team Australia - D Nicholson (AUS)/N Bin Hendi (UAE)-DNF
74 Poliform - T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (ITA) - DNF
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS
1. 3 Victory Team - 120pts 
2. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 89pts 
3. 10 LF10 - 88pts 
4. 7 Victory Team Australia - 84pts 
5. LF8 - 72pts 
6. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 61pts 
7. Team Abu Dhabi - 46pts 
8. 74 Poliform 38pts

October 21, 2013

Class 1 - Terracina Italy Grand Prix

RACE 1
Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri eased to their fourth win of the year with an untroubled flag-to-finish victory in race 1 of the Mediterranean Grand Prix in Terracina.
Behind the winners the fight for the podium was between LFF10 and Zabo-Isiklar but despite taking the chequered flag in second place, Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella paid the price for destroying a turn buoy on the opening lap.
The Italians incurred a 25-second post-race penalty, which combined with the 20-second time compensation given to Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski, dropped them to third.
The Victory duo grabbed hold of the race from the start to lead by seven seconds at the end of the start lap increasing the gap to 26-seconds by mid race, going on to close out the win and complete the 11-lap, 53.06Nm race in 32:04.84s. 
The only slight controversy surrounding the defending Champions emphatic win was a 25-second post-race time penalty given to them for passing a mark of the course on the wrong side. But despite the penalty they still managed to win by almost 15-seconds.
Zabo-Isiklar and LFF10 continued their post-qualifying duel and produced a sensational opening two laps trading places, racing side-by-side just inches apart.
Isik and Zaborowski led at the end of lap one but by less than two-tenths of a second, then immediately conceded the position at the first turn with Formilli Fendi and Carpitella passing them on the inside.
The Italians were then able to pull away opening up a 23-second lead as they took the chequered flag in second spot. But it was the opening lap that would prove costly, the additional 25-second penalty costing them the runners-up slot. 
For Christian Zaborowski a third runners-up slot was a good result for the team after the work they have done on the boat and as much as they could have hoped for. 
Behind the top three LFF8’s Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato ran a very solid and rather solitary race to finish well ahead of fifth placed FA.RO.ACCIAI, with Tarik Oktem taking his seat behind the wheel to join Giampaolo Montavoci in Poliform and picking up points in sixth.
MEDITERRANEAN GRAND PRIX – race 1
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) – 32:04.84
2. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 14.77s
3. 10 LFFendi10 - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 37.11s
4. 8 LFFendi8 - M Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 1:43.00s
5. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 2:24.00s
6. 74 Poliform - T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (ITA) + 2 laps
5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) - dns
RACE 2
Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato produced one of the most popular and surprising results of the weekend with a simply sensational win in race 2 of the Mediterranean Grand Prix, which started to turn dramatically on its head as early as lap 8 of 15.
The Anglo-Italian duo were running strongly in fourth place ahead of Poliform and were then elevated to third when Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella’s race ended on lap 8 with a broken torque sensor. Two laps later race leader Victory slowed to a crawl after breaking a propeller and were passed by Zabo-Isiklar with LFF8 now up into second place.
But on the final lap and with the chequered flag almost in sight Zabo-Isiklar ran out of fuel and Jennings and Amato swept passed them and into the lead to take the chequered flag and their first win in just their third Grand Prix together. 
Behind the winners Poliform’s Tarik Oktem and Giampaolo Montavoci also took advantage of Zabo-Isiklar’s misfortune, passing them in the closing stages to take the runners-up slot and their first podium together, with the unfortunate Zabo-Isiklar classified in third. 
There was drama right from the beginning when the start was aborted by an offcial on the pace boat which then suffered a technical failure. The boats waited out on the course for a replacement which sparked some calls from teams raising concerns about possible fuel issues.
From the start Victory immediately got the jump on pole-sitters LFF10 and started to open up a lead moving 20 seconds clear by lap 5. Behind them LFF10 and Zabo-Isiklar gave chase with Formilli Fendi and Carpitella maintaining a comfortable advantage when the torque sensor let go and their weekend came to a halt.
On lap 10 Victory hit trouble and slowed and Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski hit the front and looked to be on course for their first win together and Zaborowski’s first since 2006. But five laps later their cocerns about fuel became a reality and they stopped and were eventually towed back to the pits. 
With the top three boats in the Championship all running into trouble it was Jennings and Amato in LFF8 who benefitted the most and from a solid fourth at the mid-point ran out the eventual winners.
Fourth place went to Gian Maria Gabiani and Luca Nicolini in FA.RO. ACCIAI who maintain their consistent run of finishing in the points, with Victory classified in fifth. Despite Team Abu Dhabi’s efforts to get the boat ready to race, their participation lasted just one lap.
Today’s outcome keeps Victory at the top of the standings on 91 points with Zabo-Isiklar moving up into second place on 65, three points ahead of LFF10.
The teams now head to the Middle East and the UAE for the final Grand Prix of the year in Abu Dhabi on 5-6 December.
MEDITERRANEAN GRAND PRIX - race 2
1. 8 LFF8 - M Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 47:39.89s
2. 74 Poliform - T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (ITA) + 51.52s
3. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 1 lap
4. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 lap
5. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - ret
10 LFF10 - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) - ret
5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) - ret
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 3
1. 3 Victory Team - 91pts 
2. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 65pts 
3. 10 FF10 - 62pts 
4. 7 HUB Team Australia - 60pts 
5. LFF8 - 52pts 
6. 23 FA,RO ACCIAI - 46pts 
7. 74 Poliform 34pts 
8. Team Abu Dhabi - 18pts

October 16, 2013

Class 1 - Terracina Italy Grand Prix Preview

Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella will line up for the Mediterranean Grand Prix intent on marking the first Class 1 event to be held in Terracina, Italy 18-20 October with their first win since they teamed-up in Class 1 in Abu Dhabi in 2010.
At the mid-point in the Championship with four races run and four to go the top three are separated by 14-points; defending World Champions Victory’s Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri top the points table on 62, just two clear of Aussie duo Darren Nicholson and Rossco Willaton in HUB Team Australia with Formilli Fendi and Carpitella’s LFF10 in third on 48 points.
Formilli Fendi and Carpitella are genuine title challengers and now a constant threat to the top step of the podium, finishing on the podium seven times in nine outings at the last five Grands Prix and will be hoping to add their names to a somewhat sparse list of Italian winners on home waters.
In the last 22-years 15 Italian cities have hosted Class 1 with national success limited; Matteo Nicolini took the chequered flag last year in Cernobbio, with Nicolini, Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci credited wins the year before following the DQ of Victory. Prior to that, you have to turn back the clock to Tarranto in 1997 (E Polli/L Leoni), Gallipoli in 1995 (L Ferrari/V Polli) and Pescarra in 1992 (A Gioffredi/A Bonomi) to find Italian success.
The target for Al Zaffain and Al Marri will be simply to extend their slender Championship lead, but the multiple World Champions have been under more pressure in 2013 than for some time.
They had to come from behind in race 1 in Sanya to overcome a brilliant drive by the Zabo-Isiklar duo and in race 1 in Istanbul looked decidedly rattled by the Australians, hooking twice and eventually retiring – but they regrouped to take the win in race 2.
Their record however is impressive; since being paired in December 2011 in Dubai Al Zaffain and Al Marri have won 12 times from 15 starts, missing the podium just once - the DNF in Istanbul.
Equally impressive is the teams’ success in Italy winning 15 times, with Al Zaffain completing a hat-trick of wins in Stresa with Nadir Bin Hendi and winning in Cernobbio with Al Marri last year – Al Marri also winning in 2001 with Saeed Al Tayer.
The Dubai duo also sit on top in the Edox Pole Position Championship taking maximum points this season and have qualified in P1 seven times from their eight outings together.
The biggest threat to Dubai dominance this year has been the Australians, Darren Nicholson and Rossco Willaton, who bring a refreshing approach and an all-out style of racing to Class 1, and who are running a latest generation Victory boat leased to them by the Dubai outfit.
Nicholson made his mark in the championship at the end of 2011 when he partnered New Zealander Peter McGrath to grab podiums in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. He then teamed-up with Willaton, the pair qualifying strongly in Sanya in third, finishing fourth in race 1 and second in race 2.
In Istanbul they became the first all-Aussie pairing to win a Class 1 GP and the first Australians to stand on the top step since Bill Barry-Cotter in Qatar in 2002. Their term at the top of the points table was short-lived finishing third to Victory and LFF10 in race 2, but just two points shy of the leaders are well placed in the title race – assuming they make it to Terracina.
The Zabo-Isiklar duo of Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski sit in fourth place and must wonder where they might be if not for two no points tallies – the first the result of a slightly overzealous first corner and immediate exit in race 2 in Sanya after finishing second in race 1. The second, disappointingly, followed in Istanbul in race 2 following a herculean effort to fix and re-rig the boat and a brilliant drive from the back of the field after missing qualifying to finish second in race 1.
They have good qualifying and race pace, but unlike the three outfits they are chasing who run V12 power-plants the Zabo Team run the Mercury turbo-charged V8, but the break since the last race has allowed the team to make further adjustments and modifications and they will be expecting to be running at the front and challenging for the win.
Another all-Italian crew looking to do well on home waters is Gian Maria Gabbiani and Luca Nicolini in FA.RO. ACCIAI, and currently lying in a very respectable fifth place. And whilst they will be the first to admit that they do not have anywhere like the pace or resource of their more illustrious rivals, they have shown great reliability and resolve to be where they are.
They first teamed-up in Gabon last year finishing in fifth then rather unceremoniously crashed out of the Italian Grand Prix in race 1. But since regrouping they have put together a solid string of performances finishing in the points in their last eight outings and recording five top-five finishes.
The flamboyant Brit, Miles Jennings, and Italian Alfredo Amato will make their third appearance together running the number two Fendi boat, LFF8. After a somewhat frustrating race on their debut in Sanya, China where they failed to post points, they produced a stirring performance in Istanbul to make it a double podium weekend for the team after finishing third in race 1 and then fourth in race 2, their teammates grabbing second.
For last year’s Championship runners-up Team Abu Dhabi, 2013 is not proving to be as successful and they find themselves sitting in seventh. Their number one and favoured pairing of Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori were no shows in Sanya so led to a seat shuffle with newcomers Faleh Al Mansoori and Salim Al Adidi forced to split up, Al Mansoori doing both races with Tomaso Polli, Adidi racing with Giampaolo Montavoci in Poliform.
Al Mansoori and Polli fared the better finishing fifth and fourth, Adidi and Montavoci failing to finish race 1 but managing a sixth in race 2.
Rashed Al Tayer was back for the Turkish Grand Prix and taking the throttles for the first time, with [Faleh] Al Mansoori again getting the call-up to drive. They qualified well in fourth and then took the chequered flag in race 1 also in fourth, only to be disqualified. But in race 2 their weekend ended on lap 2, hooking and crashing out of the race.
Team Abu Dhabi has confirmed the same line-up in Terracina but the team is facing an uphill climb to have the boat fixed and rigged in time.
DAC Racing has confirmed that Giampaolo Montavoci will be on the throttles and will be joined for the second time this season by Tarik Oktem.
It has been a varied season for the most experienced racer in Class 1 – who starts his 104th Grand Prix and lines-up for his 116th race in Terracina. Last time out in Istanbul he guided Class 1 rookie Oktem to a very respectable fourth place in race 1 but hit trouble and retired in race 2.
Teams get their first chance to test the waters and the 4.97Nm circuit in Fridaymorning’s free practice at 11.00hrs (local) with official qualifying in the Edox Pole Position at 14.30hrs. A second practice session on Saturday at 10.30hrs is followed by race 1 of the Mediterranean Grand Prix at 15.30hrs. The final practice session and second qualifying session takes place on Sunday at 11.00hrs with race 2 at 15.30hrs.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 2
1. 3 Victory Team - 62pts 
2. 7 HUB Team Australia - 60pts 
3. 10 LFF10 - 48pts 
4. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 34pts 
5. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 30pts 
6. 8 LFF8 21pts 
7. Team Abu Dhabi - 18pts 
8. 74 Poliform 14pts.
EDOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 2
1. 3 Victory Team - 40pts 
2. 7 HUB Team Australia - 27pts 
3. 10 LFF10 - 21pts 
4. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 15pts 
5. 8 LFF8 - 12pts 
6. 23 FA.RO.ACCIAI - 11pts 
7. 5 Team Abu Dhabi 9pts 
8. 74. Poliform 5pts

June 17, 2013

Class 1 - Istanbul Turkey Grand Prix

RACE 1
HUB Team Australia’s Darren Nicholson and Ross Willaton produced a spectacular performance in testing conditions to win a dramatic and incident-filled race 1 of the Isiklar Turkish Grand Prix.
Starting just their third race together in their second Grand Prix in Class 1, Nicholson and Willaton mastered the choppy and tricky seas that spectaculary caught out defending World Champions Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri, spinning out early in the race to bring out the red flag and force a re-start.
Turkey’s Ugur Isik and Norway’s Christian Zaborowski repaid their team’s efforts to repair Zabo-Isiklar in time after their crash in race 2 in the season-opener, taking a brilliant second place after initially starting in eighth place, to finish ahead of Class 1 newcomers Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato in LFFendi8.
After winning the drag race to the first turn, pole-sitters Al Zaffain and Al Marri led the Australian duo and LFFendi10’s Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella at the end of the start lap, but at the second turn of lap 2 hooked the boat and spinning out.
Luckily the boat suffered little damage and the Championship leaders’ were able to line up for the re-start.
HUB Team Australia led from the re-start and traded places with LFFendi10 and Victory after the intial bout of short laps, resuming the lead on lap 4, only to be passed by Victory a lap later, with LFFendi10 now third.
But on lap 6 Victory hooked and spun out again and stopped, but this time were unable to get one engine re-started, retiring from the race.
The Australians swept into the lead and for the next four laps were able to maintain a comfortable 10-second lead over LFFendi10, when on lap 11 their [Formilli Fendi and Crapitella] hopes of a certain podium ended, a damaged torque sensor ending their race.
Nicholson and Willaton were able to ease up and close out the race in 40mins 2.83s, becoming the first Australians to win since 2002.
Behind the battle at the front, Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski steadily moved up and through the field, moving from eighth to fourth before the red flag. A poor re-start saw them down in fifth, then move up to fourth on lap 6 after passing Team Abu Dhabi and LFFendi8.
The exits of Victory and LFFendi10 elevated the Turkish-Norwegian duo to second place and a well deserved podium.
After a frustrating debut outing in China, Miles Jennigs and Alfredo Amoto produced a more than impressive performance, maintaining a middle order position throughout the race, keeping a hard charging Team Abu Dhabi behind them in the closing stages, to complete the podium.
Despite taking the chequered flag in fourth place, Team Abu Dhabi’s Faleh Al Mansoori and Rashed Al Tayer were later disqualified for re-passing a turn mark after hooking the boat and spinning out, their disqualifaction elevating Class 1 debutant, Tarik Oktem, and Giampaolo Montavoci in Poliform to fourth place ahead of Gian Maria Gabbiani and Luca Nicolini in FA.RO ACCIAI.
Today’s win moves HUB Team Australia’s Nicholson and Willaton to the top of the Championship standings on 44 points, with Victory in second place and Zabo-Isiklar in third.
TURKISH GRAND PRIX – RACE 1- results
1. 7 HUB Team Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / R Willaton (AUS) – 40.02.83
2. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 51.45s
3. 8 LFFendi8 - Miles Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 02.10.00s
4. 74 Poliform – T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (SUI) + 02.48.00s
5. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 lap
- 10 LFFendi10 - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) - dnf
- 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - dnf
- 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) - dq
RACE 2
Victory's Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri banished all memories of yesterday’s early exit in race 1 and produced an emphatic start-to-finish win in race 2 of the Isiklar Turkish Grand Prix.
The Dubai pairing led from the flag and were pulling away from race 1 winners’ HUB Team Australia and LFFendi10, when the race was red-flagged after Team Abu Dhabi’s Faleh Al Mansoori and Rashed Al Tayer hooked and turned over on lap 2, forcing the second restart of the weekend – both drivers emerging from the upturned boat unhurt.
From the restart the defending Champions were immediately in control. They took their short laps immediately and by mid race had opened up a 20-second lead which they maintained for the remainder of the 16-lap race, going on to take their third win of the season and move back into the Championship lead. “Yesterday was not our day and today was. The target was to be in front all race and we were,” said Al Zaffain. “We had the perfect set-up today and were able to concentrate on what was in front of us and not what was behind us.”
The fight for the remaining podium places was between HUB Team Australia and LFFendi10, and despite a poor restart the battle was won by the Italians Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella as early as lap 5, opening up and maintaining a 10-second lead to the chequered flag. “Nothing broke this time but still we had a problem with the exhaust at the start and initially lost time to seven, but Victory was already gone so we had no chance to try and catch them,” said Carpitella. “We have to resolve this problem before Terracina but it was good to get on the podium after yesterday.”
For yesterday’s victors and briefly the Championship leaders’ there was to be no repeat win, but a second podium puts them in second place just two points behind Victory. “We had hoped it was going to be rougher than that,” said Willaton. “It was my mistake. It looked like it was going to blow up so we went down a gear set, but it wasn’t to be. But all in all we have had a good weekend.”
Behind the front runners a three-way dice ensued between LFFendi8, Poliform and FA.RO.ACCIAI, with Poliform’s Tarik Oktem and Giampaolo Montavoci enjoying a brief spell in the spotlight in third place, then holding fourth before technical problems ended their race on lap nine.
Poliform’s woes allowed LFFendi8’s Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato in to move up into fourth spot and round off a good weekend for Fendi Racing, with Gian Maria Gabbiani and Luca Nicolini again able to maintain their consecutive run of points finishes with fifth.
There was disappointment for Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski after yesterday’s podium-second, failing to make the restart with engine problems.
TURKISH GRAND PRIX – RACE 2- results
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) – 50.10.19s
2 . 10 LFFendi10 - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.22.45s
3. 7 HUB Team Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / R Willaton (AUS) + 00.31.67s
4. 8 LFFendi8 - M Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 02.25.00s
5. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 lap
- 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) - dnf
- 74 Poliform – T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (SUI) - dnf
- 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) - dnf
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 2
1. 3 Victory Team - 62pts
2. 7 HUB Team Australia - 60pts
3. 10 FFendi10 - 48pts
4. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 34pts
5. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 30pts
6. 8 LFFendi8 21pts
7. Team Abu Dhabi - 18pts
8. 74 Poliform 14pts 14.

June 13, 2013

Class 1 - Istanbul Turkey Grand Prix Preview

Fifteen years after the Jolly Motor crew of Massimo Lippi and Lamberto Leoni won the first Class 1 Grand Prix to be held in Istanbul in 1998, the Championship returns for the UIM Class 1 Isiklar Turkish Grand Prix, the second event of the season, and this time to race across the Bosphorus in Pendik on 14-16 June on the Marmara Sea.
All eyes will be on the Turkish-Norwegian duo of Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski to see if the repairs carried out on their Victory built, Mercury powered Zabo-Isiklar will give them the same firepower and opportunity to continue where they left off in China, and carry the fight to Victory and go one better than their second places in qualifying at race 1 in Sanya past March.
With the ship carrying the boats from China only arriving in Istanbul at the end of May the team has faced a race against time to repair the extensive damage sustained in their dramatic first corner crash in Sanya's race 2, and be ready for driver Ugur Isik’s home Grand Prix.
However, team principal Jan Zaborowski is confident that with the comprehensive pre-repair work and preparation that they carried out in Norway, and with the time that they have spent on the boat in Turkey, they will be in good shape to build on what was the team’s best overall performance since Isik and Zaborowski teamed-up in 2011 in Abu Dhabi.
Lining-up as race favourites will be Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri who will be looking to extend their lead in the Championship standings and try to emulate the successes achieved by previous Victory pairings in Turkey; Ali Nasser and Randy Scism taking the chequered flag in Istanbul and in Bodrum in 1999 - Nasser winning again in Istanbul the following year with Khalfan Harib - Mohammed Al Marri winning with Saeed Al Tayer in Marmaris also in 2000.
The last event to be held in Turkey was in Izmir in 2002 and won by Spirit of Norway’s Bjorn Rune Gjelsten and Steve Curtis, and of the present day class of 2013 only Mohammed Al Marri, Giampaolo Montavoci and Ugur Isik have raced on Turkish waters.
The defending Champions are on a six-race winning streak, are unbeaten in their last four outings in qualifying and following their Sanya Grand Prix win-treble in the season-opener in March, sit 24-points clear of LFFendi10 and HUB Team Australia.
Al Zaffain and Al Marri top the Victory Team’s all-time winners table with 34 and 24 wins respectively, with five-time World Champion Al Zaffain now equal with Bjorn Rune Gjelsten and closing in on Steve Curtis’ longstanding record of 42 wins.
Two outfits who will be looking to challenge Victory and Zabo-Isiklar in Pendik-Istanbul are Italians Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFFendi10 and Australians Darren Nicholson and Ross Willaton in HUB Team Australia.
They enjoyed a herculean scrap and podium success in Sanya, both outfits running Victory built boats - the Italians running SCAM V12 power-plants the Aussies Victory V12s.
In race 1 the Aussies attacked and the Italians defended for six of the 10 laps - the gap never more than five seconds - but the LFFendi10 crew hung on to finish in third and take revenge on the Australian crew who had knocked them off the podium in qualifying.
They continued their dice in race 2, but the Australian duo was able to turn the tables on their Italian rivals to go on and take their second podium of the weekend - the Fendi crew settling for another third.
Formilli Fendi and Carpitella will start their 13th Grand Prix together looking for their first win from 20 race starts, with Carpitella starting his 50th race.
The team has also confirmed a revised line-up in their second boat, LFFendi8, with Italian Marco Pennesi, who made his Class 1 debut in Arendal in 2007 and last raced in Brazil in 2010, joining countryman and series newcomer Alfredo Amato who made his Class 1 debut in Sanya alongside Miles Jennings.
Team Abu Dhabi’s recent driver reshuffle takes another twist in Istanbul with the team confirming a revised line up, recalling Class 1 regular Rashed Al Tayer to resume race duties alongside rookie, Faleh Al Mansoori.
Al Tayer missed the season-opener in China but returns to start his 14th Grand Prix and for the first time in 24 race starts in Class 1 will switch over to take the throttles as he looks to add to his tally of three wins, eight podiums and one pole position.
In Sanya newcomer Al Mansoori partnered Giampaolo Montavoci in qualifying to finish a very credible fifth and then went on to race with Tomaso Polli to take fifth and fourth spots and put the team into fourth place overall in the points table.
Team D’Alessio-SCAM has yet to confirm their line up and whether or not they will stay with Gian Maria Gabbiani and Luca Nicolini for a sixth Grand Prix start together.
The duo enjoyed a solid season-opener last time out picking up five points in qualifying and matched the position with sixth in race 1. They enjoyed a solitary run and untroubled race 2 maintaining fifth place throughout, and once again proved their reliability completing their sixth straight points finish in FA.RO. ACCIAI.
DAC Racing has revealed that Turkish driver Tarik Oktem will make his Class 1 debut in Istanbul alongside Giampaolo Montavoci in Poliform.
Montavoci, a veteran of 102 Grands Prix and 113 race starts, showed and proved his versatility in Sanya, jumping in and out of two different boats to guide two rookies on their Class 1 debuts, racing with Al Mansoori in Team Abu Dhabi in qualifying and with Salim Al Adidi in races 1 & 2 in Poliform, picking up points with both.
The action on the water starts with first official practice on Friday 14 morning followed by official qualifying in the Edox Pole Position in the afternoon. Two further practice sessions are followed by races one and two on Saturday and Sunday at 15.30hrs local Turkish time.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 1
1. 3 Victory Team - 40pts 
2= 10 LFFendi10 - 24pts 
2= 7 HUB Team Australia - 24pts 
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 16pts 
5. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 15pts 
6. 23 FA.RO.ACCIAI - 12pts. 
7. 74 Poliform - 5pts
EDOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 1
1. 3 Victory Team - 20pts 
2. Zabo-Isiklar - 15pts 
3. HUB Team Australia - 12pts 
4. LFFendi10 - 9pts 
5. Team Abu Dhabi - 7pts 
6. FA.RO.ACCIAI - 5pts
7. LFFendi8 - 4pts
www.class-1.com

March 30, 2013

Class 1 - Sanya China Grand Prix

RACE 1
Victory’s Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri made the perfect start to their title defence with a convincing win in race 1 of the Sanya Grand Prix.
The defending Champions had to come from behind after being outgunned at the start by Zabo-Isiklar’s Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski, who led the Victory duo into the first turn to lead by three seconds at the end of the opening lap.
Behind the race leaders the LFFendi10 crew of Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella made the jump on Victory Australia’s Darren Nicholson and Class 1 newcomer Ross Willaton to move up a place from fourth on the start line.
The race outcome hinged on two opposite race strategies, Zabo-Isiklar opting to take their mandatory short-lap early, on lap 2, and a brilliant midrace stint of the 11-lap, 51.51Nm race by the defending World, Middle East and Edox Pole Position Champions, and their decision to go late with their short-lap on 7.
LFFendi10 followed the move by Zabo-Isiklar to get ahead of Victory who suddenly found themselves 27 seconds adrift of the leaders.
Victory immediately began to push and regained second spot on lap 4, with the deficit cut to 12 seconds two laps later. On lap 7 Victory took their short lap to come out well ahead of Zabo-Isiklar and turn the deficit into a 23 seconds advantage.
For the remainder of the race Al Zaffain and Al Marri controlled their pace and the race to run out the comfortable winners by over 40 seconds.
Despite conceding the lead after being out front for over half race distance, Zabo-Isiklar’s Christian Zaborowski was more than pleased with a second podium in as many days.
The fight for the final step on the podium was a bruising encounter between LFFendi10 and Victory Australia for 6 of the 11 laps; the Australians attacked again and again and got to within two seconds of the Italians who defended their podium spot heroically to hang on and take third place.
The Sanya shuffle saw throttleman Giampaolo Montavoci switch back into Poliform to race with Class 1 debutant Salim Al Adidi, and Tomaso Polli step out to take the sticks beside Faleh Al Mansoori in Team Abu Dhabi – the two Italians enjoying mixed fortunes.
Montavoci and Al Adidi’s race ended early, with Poliform towed off the course on lap 2 with technical problems, Polli and Al Faleh going the distance and producing a very credible performance to finish in fifth place ahead of another solid outing by Gian Maria Gabbiani and Luca Nicolini in FA.Ro ACCIAI.
There was disappointment for Alfrdeo Amato and Miles Jennings in LFFendi8, retiring on lap 2 and more frustration for Marit Stromoy and Pal Virik Nilsen in Visun Sanya who hit problems before the start and returned to the pits.
SANYA GRAND PRIX - RACE 1 - results1. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - 33.15,70
2. 91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 00.43,87s
3. 10 LFFendi10 - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 01.15.00s
4. 7 Victory Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / R Willaton (AUS) + 01.18,00s
5. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / Tomaso Polli (ITA) + 02.39.00
6. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) - 1 lap
7. 8 LFFendi8 - Miles Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) - dnf
8. 74 Poliform - S Al Adidi (UAE) / G Montavoci (SUI) - dnf
9. 86 Visun Sanya - M Stromoy (NOR) / PV Nilsen (NOR) - dns
RACE 2
Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri wrapped up the perfect opening to their season, winning race 2 of the Sanya Grand Prix to add to their wins in qualifying and race 1 to complete their Sanya hat-trick.
But Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski’s hopes of carrying the fight to Victory 3 and adding to their double podium seconds, ended in spectacular fashion when they barrel-rolled Zabo-Isiklar at the first turn.
Both pilots were unhurt but the severity of the damage to the boat became clearer once it had been towed back to the pits.
Zabo-Isiklar’s dramatic exit brought out the red flag and forced a restart, with the race shortened to 14 laps.
The Victory duo again took control from the start and was unchallenged at the front throughout, systematically extending their lead lap-by-lap to eventually run out comfortable winners by 45-seconds to lead the Championship by 16-points.
Victory Australia’s Daren Nicholson and Ross Willaton, and LFFendi10’s Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella picked-up where they left off yesterday, resuming their on water fight.
But this time the Australian duo were able to turn the tables on their Italian rivals, passing them on lap 3 to go on and take their second podium of the weekend.
Italy’s Tomaso Polli rounded off a busy and successful event that started on the wheel of Poliform and ended with two outings on the throttles of Team Abu Dhabi alongside Class 1 rookie, Faleh Al Mansoori.
The scratch pairing produced a more than impressive second outing, going one better than in race 1 to take a very respectable fourth place.
Gian Maria Gabbiani and Luca Nicolini enjoyed a solitary race maintaining fifth place throughout and once again proved their reliability, completing their sixth straight points finish in Fa.Ro. ACCIAI.
Giampaolo Montavoci’s afternoon hit trouble on lap 1, an electrical problem forcing Poliform to a crawl. But the Italian and his rookie driver, Salim Al Adidi stuck with it, Poliform kicked back into life, and they were able to go on and complete the race to finish in the points in fifth.
Newcomers Miles Jennings and Alfredo Amato went further than in race 1, but were unimpressed with the first corner hose down by Poliform which all but drowned their engine. The duo stayed out hoping to clear the problem and limped round for eight laps, falling one lap short of the 70% ruling that would have at least given them some well-deserved points.
Marit Stromoy and Pal Virik Nilsen’s already frustrating time in Sanya was compounded when they failed to make the start.
SANYA GRAND PRIX - RACE 2 - results
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - 42.36,27
2. 7 Victory Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / R Willaton (AUS) + 45,84s
2. 10 LFFendi10 - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 01.22.00s
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / Tomaso Polli (ITA) + 01.35.00s
5. 23 Ra.Ro. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) - 1 lap
6. 74 Poliform - S Al Adidi (UAE) / G Montavoci (SUI) - 2 laps
8 LFFendi8 - Miles Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) - 6 laps
86 Visun Sanya - M Stromoy (NOR) / PV Nilsen (NOR) - dns
91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) - dns
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - after race 2
1. 3 Victory Team - 40pts
2= 10 LFFendi10 - 24pts
2= 7 Victory Australia - 24pts
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 16pts
5. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 15pts
6. 23 FA.RO.ACCIAI - 12pts.
7. 74 Poliform - 5pts

March 26, 2013

Class 1 - 2013 Season Preview

Fifty-years after American Jim Wynne won the first UIM sanctioned World Drivers Championship in 1964 the sport celebrates its anniversary-season with an historic first Grand Prix in the Peoples Republic of China.
The bustling city port of Sanya on the southernmost point of Hainan Island, often referred to as the Chinese Riviera, will provide one of the most diverse and exciting backdrops of the year when it hosts the Sanya Grand Prix and the season-opener, 28-30 March.
Defending World, Middle East and Edox Pole Position Champions Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri will lead the nine-strong fleet out as the Victory Team celebrates its own impressive landmark of competing at the top level in international powerboat racing.
Twenty-one year’s after lifting their first World Championship in 1993, Victory Team’s title holders will be the pair to beat and will be looking to carry on where they left off in 2012 as they go in search of the team’s 13th World crown and adding to Victory’s remarkable tally of 93 wins from 168 starts.
Al Zaffain and Al Marri have proved a powerful force since teaming-up at the end of 2011, winning eight times in 11 outings and qualifying in pole position five-times. This season Al Zaffain is chasing a sixth World title and Al Marri a fourth.
Team Abu Dhabi head the list of challengers who face the daunting task of trying to unsettle and depose the Champions, and since entering the series in 2010 has become a growing force in the sport – albeit slightly overshadowed by their illustrious neighbours.
Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori is an exciting partnership that has grown in stature since pairing for the first time in 2011 and their season-haul of six podiums last year saw them push the Champions all the way to eventually take the Championship runners-up slot and the team’s best overall finish.
Chasing both the Middle East outfits will be Italy’s Fendi Racing with Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella, a revitalised combination since switching out of their Outerlimits hull- engine package and into a Victory hull powered by SCAM V12s.
LFFendi10 will roll-out in a new livery at the season-opener with the all-Italian pairing looking to build on their third overall in last year’s Championship standings.
After switching hulls the duo produced an impressive run in the second half of 2012 picking up four podium seconds, one each in Gabon and Dubai and a double podium in Abu Dhabi and are genuine title challengers in 2013.
The line-up in the second Fendi Racing boat, the Outerlimits hull, will see two newcomers joining the Championship ranks, with Italian Alfredo Amato teaming-up with Englishman, Miles Jennings.
Following weeks of intensive pre-season preparation in Dubai, Zabo Racing’s team principal, Jan Zaborowski, is confident that the team will pick up in China where they left off in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season - on the podium - as they look to break the V12 dominance.
The line-up inside Zabo-Isiklar remains the same with Turkey’s Ugur Isik and Norway’s Christian Zaborowski starting their third consecutive season as they look for their first win together. The duo will be hoping to build on last year’s fourth overall in the points table and will run the same Mercury 850 V8 engine package.
A switch in line-up in Victory Australia sees Australia’s Ross Willaton step in for Peter McGrath to take the throttles and partner countryman Darren Nicholson.
The Australian duo will run the same Victory hull powered by Victory V12 power-plants that Nicholson and McGrath acclimatised too quickly and made good use of in the final two races of 2012, with a podium apiece in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as a third quickest in qualifying in Abu Dhabi.
Team D’Alessio-SCAM has confirmed the same line up with Gian Maria Gabbiani on the wheel alongside Luca Nicolini in the SCAM V12-powered FA.RO. ACCIAI.
The all-Italian pairing joined forces last season at the Gabon Grand Prix, finishing in fifth place. Their Italian Grand Prix ended in dramatic fashion when they went over and out of the weekend at the first corner of race 1, but ran out the season with three top-six finishes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to end up eighth in the Championship points table.
Nicolini is a racing veteran with 25-years’ experience, getting his first Class 1 outing in 1993, dipping in and out of the series over the years and has 23 race starts under his belt. Gabbiani made his powerboat debut in 2010; he stepped-up to Class 1 last year to race alongside Guido Cappellini in Qatar, joining Team D’Alessio-SCAM in July.
Teaming-up to race together for the first time and to run under the colours of Sanya and event organiser Visun Group are two of Norway’s most accomplished powerboat stars Marit Strømøy and Pål Virik Nilsen.
Marit will swap the confines of her single-seater F1H2O circuit boat to take the wheel beside the experienced Pål Virik in the Maritimo-designed and built hull powered by Mercury V8 power-plants that she made her Class 1 debut in in Brazil in 2010.
Born in Sandefjord, Norway and now living in Oslo, 36-year-old Strømøy made her racing debut in 1989 at the age of twelve, picking up numerous European and Nordic titles as she moved up through the smaller classes to make her debut and become the first woman to compete in F1H2O Championship in 2007.
In 2011 she made racing history when she became the first woman in F1H2O to qualify in Pole Position.
At 38, Pål Virik is an accomplished Class 1 veteran with 32 starts under his belt. He made his Class 1 debut in 2005 and in 2007 he switched roles from driver to throttleman to form an exciting partnership with Tom Barry-Cotter - the duo going on to win a hat-trick of titles in the Australian Offshore Superboat Championship (2008/9/10).
He finished on the podium three times in Class 1 in 2009 and once in 2011. Last season he competed in Class 1 in Qatar and in the F2 World Championship, his win in Cagliari in Italy the highlight of a season cut short through injury.
A surprise move by DAC Racing’s team principal and driver Guido Cappellini not to race sees the call-up of Italian Tomaso Polli to replace him in Poliform.
The decision by Cappellini puts 37-year-old Polli back behind the wheel of a Class 1 for the first time since he raced alongside Luca Nicolini in Dubai in 2011, to partner Giampaolo Montavoci, one of the most experienced throttlemen on the tour with 101 Grand Prix starts under his belt and starting his sixteenth season in Class 1.
The location of the newly constructed dry and wet pits puts the Class 1 boats into the heart of the hustle and bustle of the port to share the water with the fleets of traditional fishing and trading boats, and luxury super yachts moored opposite the imposing Visun Royal Yacht Club, which will give the anticipated tens-of-thousands of spectators a grand-stand view when they motor out along the Sanya River and past the man-made Phoenix Island to the 5.66Nm race circuit on Sanya Bay.
The first official practice session is on Thursday (28) morning followed by qualifying in the Edox Pole Position at 14.30hrs (local). Two further practice sessions precede both races which start at 15.30hrs (local) on Friday, 29 and Saturday, 30.