Gillman Puts Last Years Bad Luck Behind Him With New "Mo"!!
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – 3rd April 2006 – Dreams...goals...we all have them, its part of life! Well, there’s a little known secret which involves the defending World Champion of the U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating Guido Cappellini of the Tamoil Team that bears looking in too.
For many years the native of Como, Italy has set his sight on winning 10 world titles. Already, the 9-time World Champion has set about every mark conceivable in the sport. He has the most wins, pole positions, podiums and top-10’s of any driver in the 23 year history of the F1 World Championship. There is however, this last one reachable statistic that could move him one step closer to the “R” word – retirement!
Let’s not get all crazy and start counting the races just yet.
At the moment, this is far from Guido’s mind as he and teammateIvan Brigada of Italy plan their strategy for the opening round of the 2006 season at the Grand Prix of Qatar. The lovely city of Doha will once again prove to be a tricky venue for the drivers on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of April marking the opening of U.I.M. F1 powerboat racing tour the world premiere stage for speed on water.
Cappellini, comes into the opening round ready to defend the title he recaptured in 2005 after going through a long year and one-half dry spell where he won just 1 of 14 races. While losing the “edge” he all the while was forced to watch arch rival Scott Gilllman of the Emirates F1 Team win 9 of those 14 events and take his 3rd world crown back to the United States.
The new season a year ago brought back the fire in the Italian as Guido guided his team into the “eye of the tiger” capturing 4 of the 6 events including the Grand Prix at Qatar and winning the title for his 9th time in 14 years while accumulating a total of 51 victories in his 17 year F1 career.
2005 had to have been the most frustrating series of events Scott had ever gone thru, as he led every race, only finishing two, while having drama in each of the six races whether it was crashing out while in the lead or having some kind of mechanical woe while pacing the field.
Gillman had the pole in Doha a year ago and led the field until a long run of laps under the yellow flag at slow speeds cooked his engine and he failed to finish helping Cappellini take a giant step to the title at the same time. His long time teammate Thani Al Qamzi will join him for his 5th season hoping to improve upon his 12th place finish in the championship a year ago. Both drivers have had extensive training in the “off-season” months and Scott is determined to turn around the bad momentum and start some new good “mo”. Only time will tell if he can take a 4th world title at seasons end.
Speaking of titles, Finnish driver Sami Selio continued to improve his abilities by finishing 2nd in the championship in 2005 and hopes to put a pair of “1’s” into his pocket; a first win and a first title! The lead driver of the Selio F1 Powerboat Team finished last year with 4 podiums in six starts and was still in the championship hunt in the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi in December when he crashed chasing Cappellini for the last spot on the podium effectively taking him out of the title picture.
Selio feels that once he takes his first victory, then he can continue to grow and become a major player for future championships. The native of Helsinki is young and has many years ahead of success if he can just cross this first hurdle to reach the podium like he did with his 3rd place in Doha last season. Selio’s teammate for a 3rd year will be one time rookie-of-the-year Julius Leysen of Belgium who was in a slump the first half of last season before finishing with 3 straight top-10 finishes.
Italian Fabio Comparato of the Comparato Racing Team had a break through win in late 2004 at the Grand Prix of Malaysia and was hoping this would bring him more success in 2005. That didn’t really pan out even though he did finish a fine 4th place in the championship with four top-5 finishes, he only registered one podium and never really looked like a race leader throughout the year. The native of Chiogga, Italy hopes to take it a few steps closer and start working toward his dream of winning the title as he starts his 9th F1 season.
Philippe Dessertenne leads the F1 Team France effort coming into the season having finished 5th in last years title chase. The native of La Rochelle, had his best outing of the season in Qatar taking a fine 2nd place behind Cappellini in a race that many said he should have won. A veteran now, starting his 12th F1 campaign, Dessertenne hopes his off season of hard work combined with his stable friendship and support of teammate Philippe Chiappe will bring him back up to a level he enjoyed during the 2001 season when he almost won the title.
Saudi Arabian driver Laith Pharaon has a steady season in 2005. He scored three straight top-5’s in the first three races and finished on a high note with a 2nd at the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi. Consistency is the name of this multi-national driver who knows what it’s like to win having 3 career victories with two of those coming in Middle East. Teammate Massimo Roggiero of Italy finished 9th in the championship starting just 5 races while finishing no lower than 7th place in the three that he completed. The 3 time race winner was 6th at the Grand Prix of Qatar and will be looking for more points this year.
Italian Francesco Cantando can be excused for having one “off” season taking a win at the wild Grand Prix of Singapore last September, while seeing most of the rest of the season fall short of the teams expectations placing 7th in the championship. The native of Milan continues to have unlimited potential and is always s treat for a race win ranking behind Cappellini and Gillman as the 3rd winningest active driver on the tour. His teammate for the 4th year will be Massimiliano “Max” Moreschi who is now a bit of a veteran at the age of 22. The Singha Racing effort last year had both drivers drop out in Doha and they will do their best to reverse that trend this time around.
The Australian brother combination of Bob Trask and David Trask have had another busy off-season racing on their home circuit down under introducing their new boat at the same time to great success. David finished 8th in the title run last year and a career best 5th place in Qatar, while Bob came home just outside the points in 11th at races end. It will mark the 4th year for the team and will be an interesting timeline to watch to see if these likeable “Aussies” are ready to challenge for podiums in ’06.
Portugal’s Duarte Benavente was 9th a year ago and is now armed with a brand new Dragon design out of the Welsh workshops of ex-world champion Jonathan Jones. Rumors have it that this design is a fast upgrade to the first series of hulls and will be a platform to watch the native of Lisbon return his fortunes around. Duarte, will also have a new teammate on the Atlantic Team with veteran marksman Andy Elliott coming off his best season in a while tying his teammate Duarte and Roggiero for 9th place while taking a fine 3rd place at the Grand Prix of Italy in Como. He also is running a Dragon hull and the two will be able to compare notes all season long to hopefully good advantage. Duarte was 7th at Doha a year ago while the Englishman dropped out of one of the five events he failed to complete in 2005.
Rainbow Team lead driver Fabizio Bocca will be back for his 17th season in F1 after taking a disappointing 15th in the championship for the one-time World Champion. The Italian is expected to team up unofficially with Valerio Lagiannella who raced the opening two races of 2005. Bocca was a driver who dropped out early in last years Grand Prix and hopes he can turn the tables this time around.
An exciting return of veteran Italian Franco Leidi to the series in the newly formed ASMC Team after he was away for two seasons will spice things up in the paddock. The likeable driver will be joined by fellow Italian Marco Gambi who comes over from the Atlantic Team and hopes he can get some luck back and start picking up more points at the same time. Qatar was his best event when he finished 10th.
Twenty-two drivers from throughout the world are expected to be the pontoon for the opening lights of the 2nd Annual Grand Prix of Qatar, the first stop on what will be a long run for the U.I.M. F1 World Championship in 2006. The questions are already beginning whether Cappellini can reach his lifetime goal of 10 world titles and then think about retirement, or can his main challenger for the past decade, American Scott Gillman, reverse his luck, get momentum back on his side and recapture the title in 2006. Other questions abound…will this be a Selio breakout year? Will Cantando take his first title? Can Cantando, Pharaon or Dessertenne step up to make a real statement before the year is done?
There are so many questions to be answered, but, plenty of time to get a ticket and take the ride to the title. It all begins in less than two weeks at the Grand Prix of Qatar, on the 15th of April as the opening round of the 23rd season of U.I.M. F1 World Championship racing begins its first act!