Following his victory in the opening round of the 2002 Formula I series in Portimao, Portugal last week, Italian ace Guido Cappellini will set an all-time record if he finishes the season heading the points table

Following his victory in the opening round of the 2002 Formula I series in Portimao, Portugal last week, Italian ace Guido Cappellini will set an all-time record if he finishes the season heading the points table.

Race boat designed/builder Cappellini, whose firm Dac produces the majority of Formula I craft in the line-up, has been world champion six times in the past seven years. He narrowly missed winning a further consecutive title two years ago when he was penalised for smashing timing equipment in a fit of rage. This moment of anger cost him dearly. It broke his string of success, but despite this, a seventh world Formula I title would be unprecedented in any branch of motor sport.

Cappellini’s greatest threat comes from 43 year old American star Mike Seebold. Seebold is racing in Europe for the first time since 1994 and is already making himself felt on the circuit. He finished third at Portimao to collect 12 valuable points despite driving the only boat without power steering..

This year America is making an all-out effort to topple the Italian. Seebold joins fellow American Scott Gillman from Colorado who has been a regular contender on the world F1 circuit since the mid-1990s. Gillman drives for the Emirates racing team and set the fastest speed in the pre-race ‘Pole’ contest in Portimao. Unfortunately he hooked his boat in a rough patch of the course while lying third on the 25th lap during the race itself and was forced to retire. The second round of the series, the Campione d Italia, will take place on Lake Lugano on May 19.