Sheppard and Wilson take title with Roscioli Hotels Roma winning SuperSport
King of Shaves, the Ilmor-powered Fountain driven by James Sheppard and Craig Wilson, won the opening leg of the Portuguese Grand Prix of the Sea in Portimao on Saturday. With Sunday’s final cancelled due to rough weather and an unassailable points lead they now become the 2007 World P1 Evolution Champions.
It was another outstanding performance by Sheppard and Wilson, the pairing having set new standards during the season with six race wins and a world crown in their first P1 year. It is a remarkable achievement particularly as the Fountain Worldwide team did not enter the series until the third round in Naples, Italy.
The Italian challenge of OSG, the 2006 Evolution World Champions, started strong and looked, in the early stages, as though an upset could be on the cards. Giancarlo Cangiano and his racing partner, Giovanni Carpitella have fought furiously to defend the team’s world crown and started knowing that only a win in Portugal could maintain their challenge.
For OSG and the all-American Lucas Oil-Outerlimits team this final race represented the last chance to make any impact but as King of Shaves forged ahead, the contenders were forced to defend their position against the wild cards entries, The Switch from France and SIF of Italy. Both were pushing for podium positions and when the all-American Lucas Oil-Outerlimits suffered mechanical problems, the wild cards could taste glory, with SIF piloted by Vittorio Fogliamanzillo and Renato Guidi finishing in third.
Meanwhile Roscioli Hotels Roma, driven by Angelo Tedeschi, Fabio Magnani and Ugo Pellegrino, demonstrated a champions pedigree by winning the SuperSport class and the overall title. In a race packed with drama, all three leading contenders looked capable of securing the victory that would keep their title hopes alive before final race only to be disappointed by its cancellation.
Buzzi Bullet started in second place in the championship standings with a deficit of 80 points. Finishing ahead of the points leaders was their primary objective and they pulled out the stops.
The race began with all four contenders for the title, Roscioli Hotels, Buzzi Bullet III, Extremeboat and Voom Voom heading the fleet. They were later challenged by Sun Lik Beer although its lead was short-lived, retiring on the third lap with mechanical problems.
As the boats settled into a rhythm, it was Extremeboat that looked the most impressive, building up a lead lap by lap. Close behind Roscioli Hotels, Buzzi Bullet and Voom Voom were battling for position with Roscioli Hotels Roma nosing ahead of Buzzi Bullet as racing intensified. However, it was the Italians that emerged victorious once Extremeboat had dropped off the pace with a broken trim-tab and Buzzi Bullet, despite a late assault, beaten into second place.
Portuguese Grand Prix of the Sea
Results Evolution Class
1. – 99 – King of Shaves – British – 100pts
2. – 88 – OSG Racing – Italian – 80pts
3. – 75 – SIF – Italian – 60 (Wild Card)
4. – 59 – The Way To Happiness – Italian – 50pts
5. – 76 – Searex – German – 40pts
67 – The Switch – French – DSQ (Wild Card)
97 – Lucas Oil Outerlimits – DNF