P1: Series Malta summary

SNAV/OSG, SEAGULL/CHAUDRON WIN MALTA GRAND PRIX OF THE SEA Powerboat P1 season opener a good show for U.S. manufacturers, new teams While the traditionally rough waters surrounding Malta never materialize, the Powerboat P1 season opening Malta...

SNAV/OSG, SEAGULL/CHAUDRON WIN MALTA GRAND PRIX OF THE SEA

Powerboat P1 season opener a good show for U.S. manufacturers, new teams

While the traditionally rough waters surrounding Malta never materialize, the Powerboat P1 season opening Malta Grand Prix of the Sea still provided exciting offshore racing and saw seasoned veterans capture the checkered flag in both Evolution and SuperSport classes, and an impressive showing for American boat and engine manufacturers. Saturday's Sprint Race and Sunday's Endurance Race culminated in a Grand Prix Evolution victory for the Italian #88 SNAVOSG, a Mercury Racing-powered Outerlimits and a SuperSport win for the Italian #43 Seagull/Chaudron, the Maltese made hull powered by Ilmor Performance Marine engines. All this after a number of penalty situations which can only be attributed to first-race-weekend jitters by those involved.

Following an impressive Evolution win on Saturday, The Italian #10 Cigarette Smash Poker jumped to an early lead on Sunday, only to see the race end after a violent spin out in the fourth lap that filled the engine compartment with water. The American #77 Lucas Oil/Budweiser, a Chief-powered Outerlimits moved into the lead, but unbeknownst to them, broke a water pick-up line that started filling their bilge. As the water rose, the boat slowed, allowing Saturday's third-place finisher SNAV/OSG to move into first, and ultimately take the checkered flag, followed by Britain's #47 Silverline, a Sterling-powered Buzzi, and the #77. In the end, Lucas Oil/Budweiser and Silverline had a second and third place podium appearance for the Grand Prix.

"Not a bad weekend," is how Outerlimits VP, and SNAV/OSG team manager Paul Fiore described the 1st and 2nd place finishes of his hulls in the Malta Grand Prix. "It was well earned, the entire team worked very hard," he added. Fiore says the team came prepared for the rough water, but after Saturday's race, made the necessary set-up changes for the flatter water they encountered.

American Nigel Hook is "quite pleased" with the second place overall finish in Malta. "We had a conservative strategy going in," he said, "our goal was to get on the podium." Hook says the new Outerlimits "handled beautifully, even as it was filling with water because it is designed to 'run heavy;' the boat was awesome." It wasn't until they had to shut-down one waterlogged engine that they were overtaken.

In SuperSport action, Team 26 Racing, following impressive wildcard finishes in 2008, picked through the pack on Saturday, moving from 7th place to second, and finishing first following speed limit penalties imposed on both the #38 Baia Atollini and #43 Seagull/Chaudron.

On Sunday, Seagull/Chaudron, and the #44 Iko Case, another Chaudron hull with the female team of Shelly Jory and Adrienne Ciantar, whose family manufacturers the Chaudron hull and whose brother Aaron pilots the Seagull, left the pack at the green flag, but could not hold on as Team 26 made an move on the outside at the mid-way point in the race and never looked back.

Team 26 was followed across the finish line by Seagull/Chaudron and Baia Atollini, a Donzi/Mercury package. However, the rookie team of Daniel Cramphorn and Kim Collins fell victims to the same rule that moved them up on Saturday and were penalized four minutes for violating the speed limit. After penalties, the endurance race win to Seagull/Chaudron, with Baia Atonelli finishing second and the ladies of Iko Case taking third. After all the sorting out was completed, the Supersport Grand Prix of the Sea ultimately went to Seagull/Chaudron, with Baia Atollini taking second and Team 26 Racing finishing third.

"It was a fabulous weekend for Donzi," said Craig Barre, Donzi's VP of sales, of the second and third place finishes. Barre said he is very impressed with Cramphorn and Collins of Team 26. The trio ran the Key West, Florida poker run last November, and Barre - who says he does not make a good passenger - gave over the controls to the pair of Brits. "Those two guys know exactly what they are doing," Barre said.

The world-class racing of the Powerboat P1 World Championship next moves to the historic new venue of Istanbul, Turkey, June 19-21 before moving on to Sweden, Italy and Bahrain for the season championship race.

-credit: p1

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Series Boat
Drivers Paul Fiore , Nigel Hook