Italian ace makes comeback in opening round of world offshore Marathon championship

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Italian Fabio Buzzi driving Red FPT made a triumphant return to competitive powerboating when he led from start to finish in the first heat of the UIM Marathon World Cup races from Cowes on Friday

Titled the Cowes 100, he drove alongside fellowItalian Emilio Rigantiand Britain’s Simon Wood Powell, taking a tactical approach in the tough sea conditions but still managed an average speed of 60 knots over the course.

This was well below the top performance available from his four 600hp engines but his aim was to preserve the boat, engines and crew for Sunday’s second leg, the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes.

“It’s very satisfying to be back racing and winning,” explained Buzzi. “The Italian Federation says I am too old to race. I may have been 67 when the race started, now I am 44!

“It was very difficult, sometimes flat where we could accelerate but then suddenly choppy which was a dangerous mix. The boat and its FPT engines ran perfectly, it was right not to overstretch them, Sunday’s race is too important.”

Powerboat Asia, piloted by Martin Lai, Sarah Donohue and Tom Williams-Hawkes finished second, followed by Venturer of Londoner Andy Macateer.

“We couldn’t catch Fabio. Our boat is lighter and with only half the power, but this is an excellent result,” said Martin Lai, owner and throttleman of Powerboat Asia. “The boat and crew are a bit battered but we’ll be looking good by Sunday.”

Austrian Hannes Bohinc and Wettpunkt.com crossed the line in sixth place. “Today the seas did not favour our boat but Sunday is another day.” he said.

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