Portugese Driver Gets Set For Heavy Test Program!
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – 3rd of April, 2007 – Reading other peoples resumes can be a fascinating experience. It gives us a picture on paper of what a person’s successes and survivals have been in their chosen profession.
One of the most interesting drivers personal history’s on the U.I.M. F1 World Championship tour for power boating is that of Portugal’s Duarte Benavente who had nothing by “Champion” written next to his career for the first eight years he entered the sport. Here’s some examples. Portgual F4, Champion; Iberian F4, Champion; European F4, Champion; Portugese F2, Champion; F1 Multicopa, Champion. Now, we come to the next step, which is the international F1 series, and this reads, Champion “In the making.”
The burning desire that this 36 year-old driver has is nothing short of raging. As he starts his 8th full season on the tour at his home at the Grand Prix of Portugal at Portimao on the 13th of May, he realizes it’s time to make a real push for the title. “We are very excited about heading up to Wales and work with Jonathan Jones in the next few weeks and test our new boat with the crash box fitted for the upcoming season,” said Duarte. “Jonathan and his staff are top notch designers and have put a lot of thought into the new boat. I feel confident we can make a real impression during this transitional year in the sport.”
The new Dragon boat that the lead driver of the Atlantic Team has is going to get a thorough shake down prior the opening round on the Algarve coast. Duarte, who has 59 career race starts, with two podiums and 13 top five finishes in his F1 career since joining the series in 1999, is looking to make this season a giant step in the right direction and someday win the ultimate trophy to add to his many championships.
“For me to start the season at my home Grand Prix is not only great psychologically but it’s given me an opportunity to have my boat back from the Middle East after it was shipped following the Emirates races last December,” added Benavente. “I’ve had mine in my possession longer than most teams since it’s already very near the race site to start the season. All my key sponsors are back for another season and I want to pay them back with good results. I will also have added new crew members this year which should take the pressure off me a bit and get me pointed in the right direction hopefully with a lot more success. We’ll see.” Expected to join him on the team again this season is longtime friend and another ex-multi-time World Champion Andy Elliott. The English driver from Great Britain who enters the season will also pilot a modified Dragon boat and bring a wealth of experience along the way with 130 career starts which is 2nd among active drivers. Elliott, who finished 13th in last years championship just missed his 2nd podium in two years when he finished a fine 4th at the Grand Prix of China last October.
So, if you were counting total World Championships, the drivers on the Atlantic Team would be by far number one. However, each continues to strive for their own way to win a U.I.M. F1 World Title. If it was judged by “style and character” this time would already have taken the title. We’ll see how it translates on the water in a matter of six weeks time. Stay tuned.