New Faces, New Places Hi-Lite Upcoming Campaign!
PORTIMAO, Portugal – 3rd of May, 2005 – A traditional beginning to the 2005 U.I.M. Formula 1 World Championship for power boating returns to the lovely Algarve and the coastal city of Portimaò as it jump starts the season with the 7th Annual Grand Prix of Portugal.
The 8-turn 1.8 kilometer course has always shown itself as one of the major challenges of the history of the sport as season after season for many drivers this is one they want to get right to start off the campaign in a good note. American Scott Gillman of the Emirates Team will bring the number 1 on his boat for the third time in his career after winning 6 of nine events last season and dominating the championship including his first win at Portimaò last May. The native of California comes into this season after a busy few months running in the Middle East’s “Presidents Cup” series and finishing 2nd while finding victory in the process in the F2 class.
Team Manager Ron Anderson is back spelling hopes that the Abu Dhabi based team can be a real factor in the championship for another year and with new sponsorship and a new boat this should do everything in keeping the optimism high. Scott’s teammate Thani Al Qamzi is back looking to improve on his 7th place in the championship with 34 points while helping his teammate to capture the team title as well in 2004.
A driver with a lot of talent and determination who wants to get it right this season is Francesco Cantando of the Singha Team who for the 3rd time in his career finished 2nd in the championship chase. The new father is hoping his new “blaze” hull will be what he needs to take command of his first title and a first win in Portimaò. His teammate, Massimiliano Moreschi was 17th in the title run last season but is starting to mature as a real race challenger and hopes to reach his first ever podium in the upcoming campaign.
Third in last seasons championship coming on strong at the end was Italian Fabio Comparato who picked up his first ever victory at the Grand Prix of Malaysia after 50 career starts. He finished in the top 4 in the last 5 events he finished a year ago including a 3rd in Portimao after qualifying 2nd . Joining his this season on the Comparato Racing effort is veteran Italian Luca Fornasarig coming back to F1 full time for the first time in a few years.
The man everyone is chasing with the most World Championship titles than anyone is Italian Guido Cappellini of the Tamoil Teamfresh off a record setting speed of 256,25 km/h (158.1 mph) set in late April on Lake d’Iseo in northern Italy. He broke the three year old mark of another one-time Formula 1 driver Allan Marshall of Great Britain and used this as a bench mark to let everyone know he was ready to recapture his title. For the first time in a decade the native of Como, will run his old “lucky” no. 43 on the side of his boat hoping this will help him return to the top after a year and one-half where he has only shown 1 win as a result of his work. Joining him this season will be German driver Fabian Kalsow who was 6th in his first year of international F3 racing in 2004.
Other drivers who will make a big impression this season will be Finnish star Sami Selio who was 5th in the title run a year ago with 4 podiums to with that, along with teammate and one-time rookie of the year Julius Leysen of Belgium how hopes to finish more races than he did during his slump ridden sophomore season on the Selio F1 Team.
Saudi speedster Laith Pharaon of Team Green returns hoping for more consistency with a podium and two top-5 finishes in his 7 starts in 2004. He had an injury from a crash in the Grand Prix of China that made him miss two races late in the year and would like to win again having last done so in December of 2003 in Abu Dhabi. His teammate is veteran Italian Massimo Roggiero who was the fastest in qualifying and had the pole position in Portugal a year ago but failed to finish due to a mechanical failure. Massimo had a pair of top-5’s and is looking to get back into the win list once again.
One time world champion Fabrizio Bocca returns with a new boat and a new teammate for 2005. He had a top 5 in Malaysia and started 11th and failed to finish in Portugal last season. His new teammate is Valerio Lagiannella from Italy.
Danish driver Gert Ladefoged returns missing half the season a year ago because of business necessities while finishing in the top ten in every event completed. Portugal was his first event of 2004 where he started 12th and finished 8th for the Danita Team. Joining him this season will be Frenchman Cedric Deguisne who half a bit of tough luck in Portimaò last season starting last and being the first out of the race.
The French Ligier Charente – Maritime Team with drivers Philippe Dessertenne and Philippe Chiappe return with the native of La Rochelle, Dessertenne, hoping to continue finishing in the top-5, something he did five different times a year ago. He was 9th quick in qualifying in Portimaò and finished 7th , while his teammate Chiappe started 19th and finished 14th.
The Seaquest Team of the Trask brother from the Gold Coast of Australia, Bob and David return together for a 2nd season with the younger David coming off “rookie-of-the-year” honors. Bob started strong early but his 5 failures to finish in the last 5 races slowed his progress. Brother David did the opposite and got stronger as the season moved along and had 3 top 10’s in the final 3 races.
Bob started 18th last year in Portugal and finished 12th while David began in the 15th spot and failed to go the distance.
Rounding out the competition is the team with the most local pressure with Portugal driver Duarte Benavente leading the way of the Atlantic Team. Benavente has finished as high as 4th in his home Grand Prix and would like ever so much to reach the podium this season after starting 4th and finishing 6th in 2004. His teammate Italian Marco Gambi started 20th and was 11th with one top 10 performance a season ago.
Twenty of the most talented drivers on water from 11 different nations will be ready to go at it for the 7th time at the Grand Prix of Portugal as the U.I.M. Formula 1 World Championship for power boating begins their 15th consecutive season and the beginning of their European campaign on the Arade River in downtown Portimaò on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of May.
The questions will be for this season, can Scott Gillman make it two in a row in Portimaò to jumpstart his season. Or, will the lucky number for Guido Cappellini send him to his 6th victory in Portugal. How about if Francesco Cantando who has come so close to victory here win for the first time in his new boat. Or, will native son Duarte Benavente finally deliver and prove he is one of the world’s best in the process on his home water. Many of these questions will be answered soon in what is shaping up into a classic 2005 campaign!