2005 Formula I season kicks off in Portimao

The start of the 2005 Formula 1 World Powerboat Championship season begins in the Algarve on May 21-22 when the Portuguese Grand Prix takes place in Portimao.

The start of the 2005 Formula 1 World Powerboat Championship season begins in the Algarve on May 21-22 when the Portuguese Grand Prix takes place in Portimao.
The eight-turn 1.8 kilometer course has always shown itself as one of the sport’s major challenges and for many drivers this is the one they want to get right.
American Scott Gillman of the Emirates Team will be using race number 1 for the third time in his career after winning six out of nine events last season including Portimao. The native of California begins his Formula I season after a busy few months running in the Middle East’s “Presidents Cup” series where he finished second plus victory in the Formula II class.
Team Manager Ron Anderson is back hoping his Abu Dhabi based team can make an impact on the championship for second year and with new sponsorship and a new boat his optimism is high. Scott’s teammate, Thani Al Qamzi, is also back looking to improve his seventh placing in the championship.
A driver with a great deal of talent and determination who wants to get it right this time is Francesco Cantando of the Singha Team who finished second in last year’s championship. He is hoping his new “blaze” hull is what is needed to take command in Portimao. His teammate, Massimiliano Moreschi finished 17th in the series last year but is starting to mature as a challenger and hopes to achieve his first ever place on the podium.
Italian Fabio Comparato was third in last year’s championship picking up his first ever victory at the Grand Prix of Malaysia after 50 career starts. He finished in the top four in the last five events including third place in Portimao after qualifying second on pole. Joining him this season on the Comparato Racing effort is veteran Italian Luca Fornasarig who comes back to Formula I in a full time capacity.
The man everyone is chasing and one who has more World Championship titles than any other driver is Italian Guido Cappellini of the Tamoil Team fresh from setting a record speed of 256,25 km/h (158.1 mph) in 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, using this as a benchmark to let everyone know he was ready to add yet another world Formula I title to his impressive score.
For the first time in a decade the native of Como will have his old “lucky” no. 43 on the side of his boat hoping it will help him return to the top. Joining him this season will be German driver Fabian Kalsow who finished sixth in his first year of international Formula III racing in 2004.
Other drivers who will make a big impression this season will be Finnish star Sami Selio who was fifth in the title run a year ago with four podium placings.
Saudi speedster Laith Pharaon of Team Green returns hoping for more consistency after his podium and two top five finishes from seven starts in 2004. He was injured in the Grand Prix of China forcing him to miss two races later in the year. He is keen to win here, his last success being Abu Dhabi in December of 2003. His teammate is veteran Italian Massimo Roggiero who was the fastest qualifying in Portugal a year ago but later failed to finish due to a mechanical failure.
One-time world champion Fabrizio Bocca returns with a new boat and a new teammate but failed to finish in Portugal last season. He is partnered by Italian Valerio Lagiannella.
Danish driver Gert Ladefoged returns after business commitments forced him to miss half the season last year although he still managed to finish in the top ten in those races completed. Portugal was his first outing in 2004 where he started 12th and finished eighth for the Danita Team. Joining him this time will be Frenchman Cedric Deguisne who had tough luck in Portimao last year starting last and being first to retire.
The French Ligier Charente Maritime Team – with drivers Philippe Dessertenne and Philippe Chiappe – return once again. Dessertenne was ninth fastest qualifier in Portimao and finished seventh, while his teammate Chiappe who started 19th filled 14th slot.
The Seaquest Team of the Trask brothers from the Gold Coast of Australia, Bob and David, return together for a second season after younger David collected “rookie-of-the-year” honors. Bob started strong early on but his five retirements in the last five races slowed his progress. Brother David did the opposite and got stronger as the season moved along.
Bob started 18th in Portugal last year finishing 12th while David began in 15th spot but didn’t last the distance.
Rounding out the competition and with greatest local pressure is Portuguese driver Duarte Benavente leading heading the Atlantic Team. Benavente finished as high as fourth in his home Grand Prix last year but would like to come higher this time. His teammate Italian Marco Gambi who started 20th finished 11th in 2004.
The questions will be, can Scott Gillman make it two wins in a row at Portimao. Or will the lucky ’43’ send Guido Cappellini to his sixth victory in Portugal. How about if Francesco Cantando, who has come so close to winning here last time, finds success in his new boat. Or, will local native Duarte Benavente finally deliver and prove he is one of the worlds best on home waters. All these questions will be answered in what is shaping up to be a classic 2005 campaign!


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