Fazza only needs to finish in the lead pack to succeed

The Class 1 World Powerboat Championship makes a welcome return to racing on Italian Waters for the first time since 2002, and Dubai’s Victory Team will line up on Lake Maggiore for this weekend’s (2-4 October) Italian Grand Prix in Stresa. The team is confident it can lift the European Championship for the sixth time in the its 16-year history, with the battle for title honours seemingly a straight in-house fight between Fazza and Victory 1.

Fazza’s Arif Al Zafeen – who won the title in 2007 alongside Jean-Marc Sanchez – and Nadir Bin Hendi, lead the World Championship standings seven-points ahead of their team-mates, Mohammad Al Mehairi and Sanchez. But with 40 points on offer from the two races, neither outfit can be complacent particularly when a broken propeller robbed the team of the title last year..

Two teams looking to spoil a ‘Victory’ parade are Maritimo and Welmax. The Australian-Norwegian pairing of Tom Barry-Cotter and Pal Nilsen are enjoying their best season since forming their partnership in 2007. Two podiums in their last three outings have put the Championship’s youngest pairing into third place, 11 points adrift in the European points table but still in with a chance of upsetting the form book.

Defending European Champion and Welmax throttleman, Jorn Tandberg, will not give up his crown without a fight, but knows it will take something extra- special this weekend to leapfrog his rivals and move up from fourth place and retain the title. But, after a series of frustrating incidents in the first two races, the all-Norwegian pairing of Tandberg and Kolbjorn Selmer have turned their season around and hit back in Mamaia-Constanta to take third place in qualifying in the Edox Pole Position and two race-podiums. Wheelman Selmer is confident that with one or two adjustments to their set-up, they can carry the fight to the Victory Team.

Hopes of Italian team success this weekend fall heavily on the shoulders of Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels’ Giampaolo Montavoci and Giampiero Soave, and Giorgioffshore’s Nicola Giorgi with both outfits looking to produce something special in front of what will most certainly be a partisan home crowd and to claim the bragging rights as the top Italian team.

After what can only be described as a hectic return to racing in Romania for former World Champion Mohammed Al Marri alongside Abdullah Al Mehairbi, Victory 77 may well be one outfit to keep a close eye on, and as Al Marri gets used to throttleman duties, an improvement on their fourth place last time out may well be on the cards.

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CLASS 1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – after round three of six

1. Fazza – 71pts 2. Victory 1 – 56pts 3. Maritimo 11 – 40pts 4. Welmax – 38pts 5. Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels – 27pts 6. Giorgioffshore – 23pts 7. Qatar 96 – 15pts 8. Maritimo 12 – 12pts 9= Victory 77 – 9pts 9= C.A.M. – 9pts 11. Qatar 95 – 4pts

(Championship points include bonus points allocated to teams for running engines for two consecutive races – one point, per engine, per race)

CLASS 1 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP – after round 2 of 3

1. Fazza – 47pts 2. Victory 1 – 40pts 3. Maritimo 11 – 36pts 4. Welmax – 32pts 5. Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels – 18pts 6. Giorgioffshore – 14pts 7. Maritimo 12 – 12pts 8. Victory 77 – 9pts