by Class 1
Class 1 World Powerboat Championship this year the event will field one its strongest line-ups in recent years, with an eleven boat entry for the 2011 season-opener on 14th to 16th April in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Class 1 World Powerboat Championship
Announcing the news at today's press conference in Monaco, promoter San Germano also revealed the dates for ten races at five Grand Prix, with Norway, Italy, Brazil and Abu Dhabi joining Dubai as the season venues, with the possibility of a sixth event to be announced in the coming weeks.
It promises to be a closely-contested and intriguing season as old rivalries are renewed, as well as a titanic fight for supremacy in what is being billed as a Middle East versus Europe showdown, as teams prepare to go head-to-head for title honors.
Defending World, European and Middle East Champions Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi - the dominant drivers in Class One over the last four years - will steer Victory Team's single boat attack.
The triple World Champions took nine wins from 12 starts last season and know that they will face stiffer opposition in 2011, not just from neighbors. Team Abu Dhabi and Middle East rivals Spirit of Qatar, but the seven teams from Europe - all intent on breaking the stranglehold that Victory Team has held over the championship since 2007.
After an impressive debut season for Team Abu Dhabi and Class One rookie Rashed Al Tayer, taking three wins and one podium finish, Al Tayer is retained in the driver's seat, with the team still to announce who will take the throttles alongside him.
Spirit of Qatar's recently announced return to racing renews their great rivalry with the Victory Team. Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and English throttle man Steve Curtis lead the team's two-boat assault on the championship in Qatar 96, with Class One debutant Ali Al Neama teaming-up with the experienced Italian, Matteo Nicolini in Qatar 95.
Leading the line for European team success will be 2010 Edox Pole Position Champions Kolbjorn Selmer and Jorn Tanberg, the all-Norwegian pairing maintaining their partnership in Welmax for a third season, whilst fellow Norwegian outfit Zabo Racing look likely to maintain their 2010 pairing, with Paul Gaiser alongside throttle man Christian Zaborowski in Relekta.
Italy rolls out four teams and three all-Italian pairings in 2011: Fendi Racing will make its championship debut with owner-driver Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella continuing a promising Class One partnership that began in Abu Dhabi last season with a podium, running an Outer limits boat and engine package.
Giorgi Offshore has confirmed that throttle man Nicola Giorgi, who lines up for his seventy-fifth Grand Prix in Dubai, will partner Tomaso Polli who he first raced with in 2002, with Guido Cappellini resuming his partnership with Giampaolo Montaovoci, the pair teaming-up last year for five races and grabbing two podium finishes.
Both Team D'Alessio-SCAM and Chris Parsonage Racing, the sole English entry, have confirmed their participation but are still to reveal their driver line-ups.
Teams 2011 – summary
Team: Victory Team (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Boat: number three Victory
Pilots: Arif Saif Al Zafeen (D) UAE
Nadir Bin Hendi (T) UAE
Team: Team Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Boat: number five Abu Dhabi
Pilots: Rashed Al Tayer (D) UAE
Team: Fendi Racing (Italy)
Boat: number ten Fendi Racing
Pilots: Luca Formilli Fendi (D) ITA
Giovanni Carpitella (T) ITA
Team: GiorgiOffshore (Italy)
Boat: number eighteen GiorgiOffshore
Pilots: Tomaso Polli (D) ITA
Nicola Giorgi (T) ITA
Team: Chris Parsonage Racing (England)
Boat: number fifty
Pilots: tbc (D)
Team: TBC (Italy)
Boat: number seventy-four
Pilots: Guido Cappellini (D) ITA
Giampaolo Montavoci (T) ITA
Team: Welmax Offshore Racing (Norway)
Boat: number ninety Welmax
Pilots: Kolbjorn Selmer (D) NOR
Jorn Tandberg (T) NOR
Team: Zabo Racing (Norway)
Boat: number ninety-one Relekta
Pilots: Paul Gaiser (D) BRA
Christian Zaborowski (T) NOR
Team: Spirit of Qatar (Qatar)
Boat: number ninety-five Qatar
Pilots Ali Al Neama (D) QAT
Matteo Nicolini (T) ITA
Boat: number ninety-six Qatar
Pilots: Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani (D) QAT
Steve Curtis (T) ENG
Team: D'Alessio-Scam (Italy)
Pilots: tbc (D)
15/16 April - Dubai, UAE
?/? June - TBA
16/17 July - Arendal, Norway
24/25 September - Stresa, Italy
22/23 October - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (tbc)
First/Second December - Abu Dhabi, UAE