Last Years "Rookies" Ready To Step Up In New Season!
Abu Dhabi, UAE – 10th of May, 2007 – The 2007 U.I.M. World Championship for power boating has for the last 26 years been the pinnacle in a sport that takes infinite skill and determination as drivers ride boats at 220 kilometers “teetering on the edge” in their pursuit to win a world title.
As you look down the paddock two boat teams have been the norm, but no more. More and more teams at taking a look to add a third boat to their roster and two such teams are doing so in the 2007 season start at the 9th Annual Grand Prix of Portugal as 22 boats with drivers from 9 different nations ready to take part on the Arade River in Portimao.
The powerful Emirates Team led by current World Champion Scott Gillman of Los Angeles, California will for the second time in their history add a third driver when rookie Abu Dhabi native Ahmad Al Hameli will join countryman Thani Al Qamzi looking to make his break in the sport.
“I’m excited about having Ahmed join Thani and myself on the squad,” said Gillman. “I’ve been here on this team helping teach these drivers to race in this ultimate series of boat racing around the world and I feel like a father to these guys. If they win, I win. I know Ahmed is ready, I worked with him this winter in F2000 and he’s ready for the step up to the major leagues”.
The other three boat squad also comes from the Middle East as the fast rising Qatar Team with drivers Massimo Roggiero of Italy and Jay Price of New Orleans, Louisiana are back together again with newcomer Leo Bonelli of Italy joining the squad as the third driver.
The veteran Roggiero is starting his 13th year and taking his 100th career start in Portimao and has been the designer of the very successful BABA built hull that took the pole in the hands of Finnish driver Sami Selio at Portugal last year. Now with the new mandated crash boxes added to the hulls it will be interesting to see how the BABA hull handles in the race for the first time.
Overall winner of the Formula 2000 International championship in middle east Jay Price comes in on a roll having taken just 6 career starts but already has a podium 2nd place in China a year ago and was in a three way battle for Rookie-of-the-Year before a disqualification in the Emirates ended any hopes of winning the award. Price has the natural talent to move up one place and take his first ever victory on the tour this season as does his veteran teammate Roggiero who has 3 career victories himself.
The new F1 Team Sweden led by last years Rookie-of-the-Year runner-up Jonas Andersson who has all of 5 career starts will be the “veteran” on this squad with teammate Rookie Philippe Tourre joining the team after a very successful F2 career. Andersson’s unfortunate crash at Como, Italy last year set him back in his push for the rookie title. Here in Portugal last season was his very first race starting 14th and finishing 4th.
The DAC Team which has won eight of the 9 races in Portugal has lost their prized Rookie-of-the-Year driver Ivan Brigada who wasn’t able to secure a seat on the team and will be replaced by veteran Italian driver Marco Gambi who comes over from a rough season that saw him fail to pick up a point. He hopes to change his luck in a hurry this season.