Close call in the Balkans

Can Maritimo and Welmax carry the fight to Victory?

Defending World Champions, the Victory Team, will be confident it can tighten their grip and extend its lead at the top of the Championship standings in this weekend’s Romanian Grand Prix on Lake Siutghiol, Mamaia-Constanta.

Round three of the UIM WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, the Dubai team has dominated the season so far, and after wins for both Victory’s Mohammad Al Mehairi and Jean-Marc Sanchez and Fazza’s Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi, the in-house rivalry for bragging rights is building.Victory 1currently holds the advantage and the number one slot with a five-point margin over their team-mates, with Sanchez and Al Zafeen – who won together in Romania 2007 – now in-house rivals and both aiming for the race win.

But all eyes will be on Maritimo’s two-boat line-up and Welmax to see if they can carry the fight to the Victory Team. Following the withdrawal of theSpirit of Qatar Teamfrom the Championship, it is the Australian and Norwegian outfits who now stand as the main challengers to Victory’s title aspirations.

Racing in Mamaia for the first time, Maritimo Australia will be looking to build on their double success last time out in Norway, when Tom Barry-Cotter and Pal Nilsen, Maritimo 11, and Giorgio Manuzzi and Peter McGrath, Maritimo 12, landed their first podiums of the season. Team boss, Bill Barry-Cotter, will be aiming for greater consistency in Romania, but is confident that despite just three races under their belts, ongoing development of their new specification boat-engine package will result in increasingly competitive performances.

Jorn Tandberg, who won in Mamaia last year to clinch the European title, maintains his partnership with fellow Norwegian, Kolbjorn Selmer, and will be hoping to break free of the ‘propeller’ jinx that sidelined the MTI-designed Mercury V8-poweredWelmaxin the opening two races of the season. Tandberg knows a fourth career-win or a podium this weekend will kick-start his season’s fortunes and put his title defence back on course.

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Two solid performances this season, a sixth and a fourth place, see Giampaolo Montavoci currently in third place in the Championship standings, the charismatic Italian’s strongest ever season-start, and he and Giampiero Soave will be aiming for continued consistency and reliability to add more points to their tally to defend their position as the leading European outfit.

Giorgioffshore’s Nicola Giorgi will start with a third new wheelman in as many races, and brings in Norwegian Kurt Aage Olsen to make just his second start in Class 1. After a promising season-opener, taking fifth in Qatar, engine reliability issues in Norway have resulted in the team switching engine package to run SKEMA V12 power-plants.


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