Cappellini & Gillman Battle Ready To Continue In Italy!
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – 25th of June, 2005 – The U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating has a rich and storied tradition that goes back to 1981. The first ever event was held on May 17th of that year and the winner was Italian Renato Molinari. The place? Como, Italy. A lake where power boating has been a fixture since before the last world war.
The 2005 edition of the world’s premiere racing circuit on water returns to it’s roots once again in less than three weeks time on the weekend of the 9th and 10th of July, as the 2nd round of the 2005 championship comes to downtown Como looking to add to it’s rich history on a circuit that most will agree is its most picturesque as well.
The names of Italian greats Molinari, Scotti and Cappellini drape the walls of the local boat club, however the history of this race has not been totally kind to Italian drivers in general. Granted, the great Molinari won the first two events, however, Dutch driver Cees Van der Velden led a string of non-Italians to win this almost annual event led by Welsh driver Jonathan Jones who won here multiple times along with British driver Steve Kerton in early 1990’s.
This year’s race will most likely again highlight a battle between native Como driver Guido Cappellini of the Tamoil Team and American Scott Gillman of the Dubai Holdings sponsored Emirates Team. These two drivers put on one of the closest most exciting events in the last decade with a thrilling victory for Cappellini as he passed the Los Angeles native in the last 10 seconds of the opening round in Portimao at the Grand Prix of Portugal in May.
Cappellini entered last years event on a almost year long losing streak having not won in 9 Grand Prix’s to snap his streak and dominate from the pole to win his 46th race of his career having now won the last two races on the lake since 2000. He now leads Gillman by 5 points after one race and the 45 year-old driver will once again be forced to go flat out with the pressure of racing in his home town once again the story of the weekend. A victory in Como would mark his 3rd triumph on the lake were he first dreamt of being a boat racing driver more than 30 years ago.
Scott Gillman and the Emirates Team were actually relieved after finishing runner-up in the opening round since this marked the first time in his 8 year history of racing on the world wide stage to actually finish an opener. Gillman, whose engines are prepared by world renowned tuner Ron Anderson of Seattle, Washington, stayed with Cappellini the first half of the Grand Prix in Portugal before making a rare mistake almost barrel rolling the boat only to fall back 14 seconds behind before once again catching up and eventually passing Cappellini with 5 laps remaining.
He was 3rd here a year ago after qualifying 3rd and would like to do better this time around.
Cappellini came through on the final two corners when Gillman’s engine started to seize up and winning by 1.8 seconds for his 47th victory of his career. However, the show won’t only be about Cappellini and Gillman. A pair of Italians who are expected to push hard to get their name at the front of the field as they look for their first win on home waters will be Fabio Comparato in the Doctor Glass sponsored Comparato Racing effort along with young Francesco Cantando in the Singha F1 Racing Team from Milan.
Comparato, who captured his first ever F1 victory at the Grand Prix of Malaysia last fall after 50 tries, is continuing to build up his confidence and feels he can win again anytime now that he has his first victory in the books. He was the 3rd member on the podium at the Grand Prix of Portugal and was 4th a year ago in Como after starting 2nd on the grid on race day.
Cantando, a three time runner-up in the championship and third most active in wins with 10 in his career, was a strong 2nd and pushing Cappellini in last years Grand Prix of Italy. He has a new boat and was in the 3rd spot in Portugal before problems with the engine took him out of the event. He has the talent and enthusiasm to capture his first win on home waters during the weekend.
French driver Philippe Dessertenne of the Ligier Sports sponsored boat came away with a fine 4th place in his new boat after starting 7th in Portimao. For the driver who has won before on this tour, he feels he is confident to do it again here in Como with a fine 6th place finish a year ago after starting the event in 12th position.
Fifth in the championship is Saudi driver Laith Pharaon of the Four Seasons sponsored Team Green DAC boat who is a threat at any time on circuit to come away with a victory. A year ago, the Miami based driver started 4th and finished 5th on the day while in 2000 he crashed out of the event after qualifying 12th.
Danish driver Gert Ladefoged has shown tremendous growth as a driver qualifying his 2nd best ever in Portugal with a 3rd and finishing 6th in the opening round. Last year, the Milan based driver started 11th and finished 8th and we should expect to see better things of him this time around.
Thany Al Qamzi was 7th at the Grand Prix of Portugal after qualifying 9th. Last year in Como he was 9th off the dock and finished 7th. A young strong driver, he will be a threat for a top 5 finish at this year’s race.
Australian David Trask of XPV Racing continues to shine coming off as rookie of the year a season ago and an 8th place finish in the opening race after starting 12th. A year ago in Como he finished 12th after starting 13th in the race.
One time World Champion Fabrizio Bocca of the Rainbow Racing Team is 9th in the championship after pushing himself from 20th on the grid to a top 10 finish. Last year on the lake he wasn’t a factor finishing just 4 laps after starting 17th. He would love to make another top 10 finish as he did in 2000 with an 8th.
Rounding out the top 10 is Portuguese driver Duarte Benavente who started off 2nd to last off the dock in 21st position at his home Grand Prix to finish 10th. He hopes to qualify as well as he did a year ago with a 5th but finish the race as well something he failed to do in 2004.
So the 2005 edition of the Grand Prix of Italy on Lake Como comes to the city of Como for the 9th time. The question is can another driver from Italy win this race or will it come from someone outside of the tradition of powerboat racings cradle of history?
All in all, 22 drivers from 12 different nations look forward to the battle around the tricky and challenging 6-turn 1.9 kilometer course on the inner harbor of picturesque Como, Italy on the weekend of the 9th and 10th of July.
Will Cappellini make it two wins in a row on the 2005 season and his 3rd straight in Como, or will the American Scott Gillman keep up with successful history of Americans racing around the northern Italian lakes and win this time around, just as 18 year-old Loretta Turnbull did back in 1931 defeating 46 other drivers from Italy and Spain. She was from Los Angeles; Scott Gillman is from Los Angeles, any coincidence here? Let’s find out, we’ll know soon enough on the waters of Lago di Como. Stay tuned.