TIGHT TURNS, TIGHT RACE "One man's bread is another man's poison" applies to race courses as well. The Gothenburg, Sweden course was set amid the rocky island archipelago for which the area is known. Though roughly four miles long, the course...
TIGHT TURNS, TIGHT RACE
"One man's bread is another man's poison" applies to race courses as well. The Gothenburg, Sweden course was set amid the rocky island archipelago for which the area is known. Though roughly four miles long, the course included several sharp turns, a chicane and only two straight-aways. The water conditions were calm but since the course paralleled a major shipping channel, trafficked by huge ferries (one of which functioned as a spectator boat for over Sweden Grand Prix Sprint Winners 800) and barges, rogue wakes were considered a factor.
In the SuperSport class, The MAS FORCE SPIRIT OF BELGIUM team of Marc Sluszny, Micha Robyn and Patrick Huybreghts were delighted to be second in a race that stressed tight turns and attentive driving. "This was real racing!" said Sluszny, "We are not as quick as the other boats--we were very happy with the course as it was short and full of turns, it was more difficult to overtake in the narrow channels." The team's Mercury-powered 38' Nor-Tech took advantage of a slight error on the very fast Italian BAIA ALTOLLINI team, made a tactical turn and forced the Donzi to the outside and took over second in the ninth of ten laps. It was a tough shot for the Italians who had fought back and forth with their fellow 38 ZR Donzi British SW1 CAPITAL team for first and second place in the early laps. But Kim Collins and Daniel Cramphorn were not to be denied today and took a commanding lead from the third lap on. Though wakes from commercial vessels were not a factor, a police boat caused a wake that caught SW1 CAPITAL by surprise and gave the BAIA team a chance to pass them in the beginning of the race. "We pushed hard in the front laps and that was it!" said Collins, "We're just checking everything out on the boat to make sure it's good for tomorrow."
Others were not so pleased with the course. "This course is not good for us-we are a big boat," said a disappointed Angelo Tedeschi, current World Champion from the SuperSport SEAGULL, SPIRT OF THE UKRAINE, a 41' Ilmor-powered Chaudron that never broke out of its fourth place.
The sentiments were shared by most of the Evolution class boats, like the Chief-powered LUCAS OIL OUTERLIMITS. "This is like the Monaco Formula 1 course," said Mike Fiore, who throttled the Sprint race with Joe Sgro. "There is no place for overtaking speed," said Sgro, "You can't take your eyes off the pins or you'll end up rock decoration!"
As the Evolution boats took the course under bright sun with a light breeze, the LUCAS OIL, FURNIBO Fountain and SNAV OSG teams all battled for position to the first buoy. But before the start lap was even completed, the Fountain came off course and the LUCAS OIL Outerlimits sped ahead while the SNAV OSG fought for second. CRANEFIELD'S WINE SEAREX moved into third while the SMASH POKER Cigarette took fourth, followed by the SILVERLINE Buzzi boat in fifth. That order continued until the 4th lap when the Searex pulled off and put up its hatches, leaving the Cigarette to take third and the Buzzi boat to follow at a distant fourth.
Shortly thereafter, the LUCAS OIL boat noticeably lost speed and the SNAV Outerlimits overtook its sister-boat and continued to build its lead, lapping the SILVERLINE boat and leading the Cigarette, which passed the LUCAS OIL boat in the 8th lap to take second.
The damage list ran on like a powerboat repair manual. The FURNIBO Fountain's port-side engine went into guardian mode then shut down, LUCAS OIL reported a "pulley failure" and CRANEFIELD had a minor hose problem and idled back to the dock. All pledged to be fixed and ready to go for Sunday's Endurance race.
"This kind of race is not for us," said Matteo Nicolini throttleman for the SMASH POKER team, "We could really not be competitive but did our best. We will make some adjustments tonight and will perform better tomorrow."
The Sunday endurance race will add 6 more laps for SuperSport and 7 more laps for Evolution and the weather promises more of the same. The racers get the chance to again test their driving ability and provide close racing for the thousands of fans who attended. As Hannes Bohinc, SNAV's driver stated after his team's win, echoing the Monaco comparison, "It is like Formula 1, there is no navigation-- is a matter of watching the markers--it is a technical course, not one for speed. After we took the lead, it was a piece of cake!"
Tune in to www.p1radio.com for the play-by-play racing action from Steve Ancsell and Martin Sanborn at 7:45 AM EST on Sunday or catch the archived Saturday race.