World champions win opening round

Despite heavy winds Britain's Steve Curtis drove to an easy victory in the Lisbon Grand Prix

Despite heavy winds damaging several craft during the pre-race speed (Pole) trials, Britain’s Steve Curtis and Norweigian Bjorn Gjelsten, the defending world champions, drove Spirit of Norway to relatively easy victory in the Lisbon Grand Prix: first round of the current series in Portugal on May 25.

The 18-lap river circuit saw Italian Edoardo Polli take an early lead in Highlander, the 2002 championship winning boat secured on the eve of the race from Gjelsten in a last minute deal. However Spirit of Norway moved ahead on the third lap to lead what was left of the fleet to the finishing line.

After dicing with Australian Bill Barry-Cotter in Maritimo for third slot, the UAE contender, Victory 77 driven by Saeed Al Tayer crashed on the fourth lap. Both crew members escaped injury although their craft was almost written-off after performing a complete barrel roll.

Bill Barry-Cotter immediately brought Maritimo to a halt to offer assistance but later continued to reclaim his lost third position on the 11th lap.

Roscioli Hotels driven by Italian Nicola Giorgi made his best ever showing bringing up the rear of the fleet in fourth place.