Singapore Proves To Be Key Race For 2005 Title Hopes!
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – September 9, 2005 – It’s been 9 weeks since the last Grand Prix and the drivers of the U.I.M. F1 World Championship as they are chomping at the bit to get back into action as they head almost halfway around the world to lovely Singapore. So far it’s been a real horse race for the title as the action shifts to Marina Bay for the third straight year for the 3rd round of the championship on the weekend of the 17th and 18th of September with many questions remaining in the championship battle.
Like two trains heading towards each other on the same track, 8-time World Champion Guido Cappellini of the Tamoil Team comes into Singapore on a roll with two straight wins and leading the championship with a perfect 40 points with back to back victories at the Grand Prix’s of Portugal and Italy. Coming in the opposite direction is American and defending World Champion Scott Gillman of the Emirates Team having won both races in Singapore since the series returned to lovely Marina Bay back in 2003. Gillman has also led both races this season despite failing to win either event in 2005.
“We come here with a nice points lead and are confident we can continue this trend after next weekend’s race,” stated Cappellini. “I am feeling that all my testing will pay off here and we can come away with the victory in a race I feel I can win.”
Meanwhile, Gillman who is two for two in Marina Bay feels just as strongly he can keep his winning streak alive here. “We know this place and have won from the pole and from behind here,” stated Gillman. “If we are going to win the championship this year, we are going to have to start here with our turnaround.”
Cappellini has qualified well on this 1.8 kilometer 5-pin course with a pole in 2003 and 2nd in 2004. He led before getting passed by Gillman late two years ago and last season struggled with a steering problem and dropped out after 27 laps. Guido has two straight victories and has 3 wins in his last 16 starts over the last two years.
Gillman on the other hand has looked almost invincible on the waters of Marina Bay taking the pole last year and never trailing while having won both events. His 43.23 qualifying time last year is the time to beat this season. The California native has been red hot with 9 wins in his last 15 starts and 9 checkers in his last 12 finishes.
Second in the championship is Italian Fabio Comparato of the Comparto Racing Team with 17 points after a 3rd in Portugal followed by a disappointing 9th in Como. His last win was in the Far East last year with a great victory at the Grand Prix of Malaysia. In Singapore in the last two years he has struggled however finishing 11th in 2003 and failing to finish early last year dropping out and being classified 20th.
Finnish racing star Sámi Selio of the Selio F1 Powerboat Team is tied with Gillman for 3rd in the championship with 15 points after a fine 2nd at Como in the series last event. The 30 year-old driver has qualified well in Singapore with a pair of 5th’s and was on the podium last season with a fine 3rd place. He is still looking for his first F1 victory and has a good shot at getting one on Marina Bay.
Laith Pharaon of Team Green comes into the event just a point out of 3rd in the championship with 14 points with a 5th in Portugal and an 8th at the Grand Prix of Italy. His record in Singapore is one of daring as he crashed out of 3rd place in the 2003 race with Fabio Comparato and failed to make last years event after his horrific accident at the Grand Prix of China. The Saudi Arabian driver’s only qualifying effort was a fine 4th in 2003. He’s hoping this will be a break out race from him this time around.
The “feel good” story of the year continues to be 49 year-old veteran Andy Elliott of England as he scored his first podium finish since 1992 at the Grand Prix of Italy in July with a 3rd place. Now 5th in the championship with 12 points, Elliott has good memories of last year’s race after starting a lowly 12th he came charging up to finish a fine 4th in his brand new Dragon boat built by ex-World Champion Jonathan Jones of Wales. The year before he started 19th and took a 12th. In his two race results, he’s moved up more places in Singapore than anyone in the field with a +14. His confidence will be sky high for this event.
French driver Philippe Dessertenne of the F1 Ligier Sports Team had wonderful memories of last year’s event coming all the way from 9th to finish a strong 2nd place. He did almost the same in 2003 when he started 8th and finished 3rd. Two races and two podiums and Philippe is hoping to move up in the championship standings with another podium next weekend as the driver from La Rochelle tries to stop his 26 race winless streak.
Francesco Cantando of Milan and the Singha F1 Team comes in to Singapore with a 4th place finish in Como after failing to finish in Portimao. The 10 time winner of the series has struggled qualifying in Singapore with a 15th in 2003 and missing qualifying in 2004. Francesco finished 6th two years ago but didn’t go the distance last year. He hopes turn his bad luck around this time around.
Last years rookie-of-the-year David Trask of Australia is 7th in the championship with seven points on the strength of an 8th and 5th this season. This race is almost a “home” event for this team being one of the shortest flights for the XPV Racing group all season. Both David and his brother Bob are looking for top 5 performances this time around.
Thani Al Qamzi of Abu Dhabi brings the 2nd Emirates Team boat into Singapore 8th in the championship with two straight top-10 performances this season with a 7th in Portugal and a 10th in Italy. In 2003 Thani had a fine 5th after qualifying 7th and failed to finish after starting 8th a year ago.
Gert Ladefoged has 5 points this season on the strength of a 6th after qualifying 3rd in his only start in Portugal. Gert failed to start in 2003 after qualifying 10th. Portugal’s Duarte Benavente has 4 points after finishing 10th and 6th so far in 2005. His history in Singapore has not been a happy one failing to start in 2003 and crashing out in a big way in 2004 being classified 16th.
One time World Champion Fabrizio Bocca of Italy and the Rainbow Racing effort has a 7th and 9th this season and one finish in Singapore with a 9th in 2003. He exited the race a year ago in a big way when his boat caught on fire in the late stages after running near the front of the field.
The 3rd round of the 2005 U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating is expected to have all the drama that it has shown the past two years with plenty of action around the tight 1.8 kilometer course on Marina Bay in front of the expected thousands of fans on what should be a hot and humid environment that will tax the drivers to the limit. Race day with be Sunday, September the 18th and when the day is over, we should have a clearer picture of who may have the inside track to the coveted 2005 World Championship Trophy. Stay tuned!