New Austrian team tests in Doha

The Australian team Maritimo took its first tentative steps in the build-up to its 2009 Class 1 campaign, with Peter ‘Muddy’ McGrath and team newcomer, Giorgio Manuzzi, joining up to shake down the team’s number two boat, Maritimo 12 in Doha.

“It was good to get out on the water and clearly we still have some work to do,” said McGrath. “I wasn’t that happy with the balance of the boat. We also had some fuel issues that we need to look into.”

It was also the first opportunity for the new crew to size each other up, and for New Zealander, McGrath, to get back out on Qatar’s Doha Bay circuit where he took his first Grand Prix win alongside team boss Bill Barry-Cotter in 2002.

“You can’t expect too much on the first outing. What we need is time in the boat together,” said McGrath. “We need to get comfortable with each other. For me it is to be able to race as I used to and be able to take Giorgio into corners in a manner and at a pace that he feels comfortable with.”

The team has been in Qatar for several weeks, setting up shop and repairing the damage to the race boat sustained during the last race in Dubai.

The skin is OK and the only surgery on the outside was to one or two minor cracks. But the main work has been carried out to the internal structure,” said McGrath.

McGrath, although a seasoned campaigner and experienced hand, with 25 starts under his belt, a win and nine podiums to his credit, is reserved in his expectations for the first race of the season. He summed up the day by saying,

“With so little testing and time together in the boat, to run in the middle of the pack and to finish in the top half will be a very good start.”

The team’s number one boat has also now arrived in Doha, with Tom Barry-Cotter and Pal Virik Nilsen expected to test later this week.