7-Time Winner Cappellini Has New Boat & Confidence!
ABU DHABI, U.A.E. – 25th of April, 2008 – It’s spring time, so it must be the start of the European season - as the U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating heads back to the lovely port city of Portimao on the Algarve coast for the 10th Annual Grand Prix of Portugal next weekend on the 3rd and 4th of May along the challenging Arade River.
The 2008 campaign opened with a strong win one month again at the Grand Prix of Qatar for Swedish driver Jonas Andersson as he drove his F1 Team Sweden DAC boat to a close win over American Jay Price of the Qatar Team for his historic first victory and now leads the championship with 20 points on this young season.
If history is our guide however, all eyes will be glued to the driver who has dominated this event in the past as Italian Guido Cappellini, who finished 5th in the opening round in Doha, comes to his favorite place with 7 victories in 9 previous starts armed with a new DAC boat that is supposedly a third of a meter longer than his old hull.
Having gained 4 pole positions in Portugal in the past, Guido knows that he will have to work extra hard to pick up another trip to the top of the podium when the weekend is over since there are a lot of younger hungry pilots who want to strip him of his glory.
One of those drivers who is changing the world of F1 racing is current World Champion Sami Selio of the Woodstock Red Devil Racing Team who comes into the event having finished 4th at the season opening event and knowing that he has earned pole position in the past in Portimao having taken the number one spot back in 2006. The driver with the number one boat has won two of the last three races he’s started and may be inline to get back on the podium again when the weekend is over.
Selio’s teammate and boat builder Massimo Roggiero of northern Italy finished a disappointing 10th in Qatar but also knows he’s done well in the past around this 6-turn 1.66 kilometer course in qualifying with a pole in 2004 and four other top 3 performances. The veteran driver will be hoping to stop his streak of failing to finish in his last 4 starts at this race.
Points leader Andersson has only raced in Portugal twice, having a great finish in his first ever F1 event in 2006 taking a 4th place after starting 14th. Last year he qualified a solid 4th but dropped out early and was classified 21st at days end.
For New Orleans, Louisiana pilot Jay Price, he has been on a bit of a roll of late having finished 2nd in his last two starts that date back to the end of last season and again in Qatar to start the season. He is driving a brand new DAC hull and he proved to be a serious contender for the title in 2008 as he drove a skillful event at his sponsors home Grand Prix. Jay last season secured a podium 3rd after starting 6th and will be hoping to keep the streak alive once again on the Arade.
Australian David Trask of the Trask Brothers Racing effort showed he is ready to challenge for a world title after dominating his home series down under, with a fine 3rd place podium in Qatar. Also armed with a new lighter boat, he will be making his 5th start in Portimao with his best performance being a year ago when he finished 7th. His record so far has been two top-10 finishes and two failures to finish.
The Abu Dhabi Team will feature two young drivers who are now just coming into their own with Thani Al Qamzi who was the race leader in Qatar before dropping out at the two-thirds mark being hampered all weekend with engine maladies, while teammate Ahmad Al Hameli struggled in qualifying and also suffered the same fate as his partner dropping out in the 16th position.
Led by recently retired American 4-time World Champion Scott Gillman as Team Manager, maybe his recent success in Portimao where he is defending champion along with a victory in the 2004 event can help steer his drivers to their first win of the season.
Local hero Duarte Benavente started the season off without a finish in Qatar and will be looking to have a good result at his home Grand Prix for the F1 Atlantic Team. He has raced in every event in Portimao with his best finish being a fine 4th back in 2000 followed by another top-5 effort in 2003.
His teammate Philippe Chiappe of France continues to get better and better taking a 7th place in Doha while having 8th place finishes the last two years here in Portugal.
Another Frenchman Philippe Dessertenne of the China CTIC Team has also participated in every start in Portimao and recorded a podium 3rd place finish in 2001 and two top-5’s in the last 3 years as well. Philippe’s teammate Peng Lin Wu started 23rd and finished 13th here in his only start a year ago as he searches for his first ever world championship points.
Points leader Andersson’s other teammates Philippe Tourre of France and rookie Uvis Slakteris of Latvia both recently came from F2000. For Tourre his goal is looking to finish this year, while Slakteris is hoping to keep up another good effort after finishing a fine 6th at his first ever F1 race after starting 16th in Doha.
Italian Francesco Cantando is the 2nd most active winner on the tour with 11 triumph’s. “Franz” is looking for his win here after having 3 times finished runner-up in 2000, 2003 and 2004. He has 5 DNF’s including two crashes in the event with last season being his last one he encountered.
Marit Stromoy of Norway comes to Portugal for the first time as this young women who now makes her home in Copenhagen, hopes she can do the same as another women did two weeks ago, Danica Patrick, win a major race against all other male competitors. She finished 11th in Qatar as she enjoys her first full season in F1 after running the final 4 races in 2007.
And finally Italian Fabio Comparato looks for a finish this time around after dropping out of the race for the first time in 9 years in 2007. The DNF stopped his streak of 4 straight years in which he reached the podium. The lead driver of the 800 Doctor Team has a new boat and feels this could be another good effort in Portugal.
All together, 24 drivers from 13 different nations will be represented with 4 rookies coming to Portimao for the very first time. Nine time World Champion Guido Cappellini comes armed with a new boat looking for his 8th victory. He will however, be pushed hard to succeed by a host of younger talented drivers as they try to reach the top step at days end.
It’s the 10th Annual Grand Prix of Portugal from Portimao on the 4th of May beginning at 1400 local local time. The event will be broadcast live via satellite and can be followed right here on www.f1boat.com with lap to lap updates. As the 2nd round of the 2008 U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating begins its European campaign on the Arade River. “Be In The Know – With F1 H2o!”