Wednseday, 29 August: Luca Formilli Fendi, Guido Cappellini and Matteo Nicolini will head the list of Italian challengers looking to unseat the current Championship leaders, Victory’s Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri, when nine boats line up on Italy’s Lake Como in three weeks-time (21-23 September), as the City of Cernobbio hosts the Italian Grand Prix, round 3 of the 2012 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.
Class 1 first raced on Lake Como in October 1987 in an event organised by the late Bruno Abbate, which was won by former Italian tennis champion Adriano Panatta, and returned their last year for the first time in over two decades as an official round of the World Championship.
Preparations are now well underway as Championship organiser H2O Racing and officials of the Regione Lombardia and the City of Cernobbio put the final touches to what promises to be a spectacular event which this year is set in the grounds of the magnificent Villa Erba and will see the launch of TIMELESS, a series of unique and exclusive luxury expositions taking place at selected Class 1 Grand Prix.
The one headache currently facing officials as they finalise the event blueprint is where to launch the boats from, as a drop in water levels of over a metre in the last 12 months is currently restricting them from using the picturesque ‘canal’ that provided a unique backdrop for last year’s wet pits.
Officials have also responded to the call by some teams to revise the race circuit, extending the north end of the course in an effort to take the sting out of the turn in front of Villa D’Este that saw both Fendi Racing and Spirit of Qatar 95 come to grief - Fendi flipping over and Qatar spinning out.
Whilst Italian success on Italian waters has been somewhat limited since the ‘modern day’ multi event Championship format was reintroduced in 1992 – Italians winning just five times in 22 outings – it is Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella who look best placed to give the tens-of-thousands of spectators who are expected to turnout the home win they crave, after finishing second in race 1 of the Gabon Grand Prix in July and currently are the top placed Italian outfit lying in fourth spot in the Championship standings.
Although DAC Racing’s Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci and Spirit of Qatar’s Matteo Nicolini both recorded wins in Cernobbio in 2011, they came when all three were competing in Dubai following the disqualification of Victory.
Cappellini and Montavoci showed impressive pace in the Mercury V8 powered Spirit of Gabon-Poliform last time out but were thwarted in both qualifying and in the race by technical issues that ended their podium prospects and are still to post race points this season, whilst Nicolini, the defending Edox Pole Position Champion, returns with the two boat attack of the Qatari Team to competitive racing for the first time since March after the team opted to sit out the Gabon Grand Prix.
First practice and official qualifying in the Edox Pole position takes place on Friday 21 September, with race 1 of the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday and race 2 on Sunday.