Sunday, 4 October, STRESA (Italy): Victory 1’s Mohammad Al Mehairi, in his debut season in Class 1, and Jean-Marc Sanchez were crowned European Champions after finishing second in Race 2 of the Italian Grand Prix, round 4 of the UIM-WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.The race win went to team-mates Fazza, who stormed to victory after starting at the back of the fleet, in what was arguably the drive of the season, with Welmax finishing in an impressive third place.
Fazza’s Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi were determined to win Race 2 today after yesterday’s disappointment. A scintillating start saw them move up to fourth at the first turn and into second place by the end of lap two. They reduced Victory 1’s lead lap-by-lap and Fazza moved into first place on lap nine, going on to win the race by a comfortable 29 seconds. “We worked hard today. We weren’t where we wanted to be at the first turn and then had to push hard to close the gap. Our early long-lap strategy paid off as we were able to get ahead of Victory 1 on their second long lap,” said Bin Hendi. Today’s win, their fourth of the year, moved them up the rankings to finish second in the European Championship.
Following yesterday’s win, Al Mehairi and Sanchez knew that a podium finish would be good enough to claim the European title, which Sanchez last held in 2007. After leading from the start, Fazza tore past them but the second place finish was more than enough to get their hands on the title. “It was a perfect drive by Mohammad [Al Mehairi], we got to the first buoy in front but Fazza are really strong and deserved their win after yesterday,” said Sanchez, “It is better to finish second and have a championship in the pocket.”
Welmax’s Jorn Tandberg and Kolbjorn Selmer also had to drive through the fleet to claim a podium place. A poor start left them trailing the competition but an impressive show of speed moved them up through the field to take their third race podium of the season, finishing just 3.39 seconds behind Victory 1. “We had trouble at the start of the race, but the two early long-laps worked for us this time and we were able to pass most of the other boats to take third place,” Selmer said, “We are very happy with a podium finish after the way our weekend has gone.”
Despite having a day to forget with engine problems forcing them out on lap ten, Maritimo’s Tom Barry-Cotter and Pal Nilsen finished third in the European Championship. “The engine basically melted. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” said Barry-Cotter, “We came here with the aim of finishing third in the Europeans, but the manner that it has occurred leaves us feeling bitterly disappointed.”
Victory 77’s Mohammad Al Marri and Abdullah Al Mehairbi finished in fourth, despite a collision with Giorgioffshore on the first corner, to finish ahead of C.A.M.’s Giovanni Carpitella and Christian Rivolta after a tight battle during the middle of the race. Carpitella and Rivolta’s fifth place finish matches their performance from yesterday and means that they were the weekend’s top Italian pairing.
Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels, Giampaolo Montavoci and Roberto Lo Piano, claimed sixth spot and top Italian Team in the European Championship, after a sixth place finish while Giorgioffshore’s Nicola Giorgi and Kurt Olsen’s race ended on lap five after the coming together with Victory 77 resulted in severe damage to the boat.
Victory 1 lead the World Championship on 95 points but team-mates Fazza have closed the gap to only four points following today’s win. Class 1 now heads to the United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi for Round 5 of the UIM-WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, 19-21 November 2009.
Check out the class 1 Italian race videos at
Check out the class 1 world Sports boats video’s at: