A brilliant virtuoso performance by Samuka Racing’s Filipe Filipe gave the flamboyant Portuguese team their second heat win of the week to secure third overall in the title race, with France’s Jean-Bruno Pastorello producing a measured drive to be crowned UIM-ABP Aquabike Rally Jet - Russky Offshore 2013 World Champion after finishing in fourth.
Russia’s Alexsei Chernukha was once again outstanding and the pick of the Russian riders, grabbing his fourth podium of the week finishing in second spot ahead of the ever-improving Vick Team duo of Vincent Thomas and Lucas Granger from Guadeloupe.
For the newly crowned Champion it was a very nervy final half lap around Russky Island after once again suffering damage to the hull of his bike, forcing him to slow and nurse the bike home. 'Today points were more important. This morning I told myself to drive with my head and not my heart. It was a good solution.' Pastorello said. 'But when I broke my bike again on the last lap I was very disappointed. It was difficult for me and I was very nervous. I really had to drop the speed and just try to get back in one piece. But in the end we [the team] did enough and I am very happy indeed to win this title and event. And I look forward to coming back next year.'
The conditions for today’s final heat were good; clear skies and calm seas with the odd roller around the back of the island and the prospect of a fast and furious race looked on. And the race-long leading four outfits didn’t disappoint.
Pastorello set the early pace, but it was his Russian rival Chernukha, the real threat to his title hopes, that pitted first, with Samuka Racing in third ahead of Vick Team.
But the Russian’s efforts on the first leg were compromised in a bungled pit stop and a motionless bike that wouldn’t start. Pastorello headed out but sportingly turned back to see if he could help. But he was given the signal to go, however it was Samuka Racing’s Filipe Filipe who grabbed the advantage after breezing in and out of the pits in third and stormed out ahead.
From that point on the Portuguese rider, who had been laid up in bed all week suffering from a stomach virus, didn’t look back or hold back and produced the week’s outstanding ride, to dominate the remaining three legs, completing the course in 2hrs 12mins 32.34secs to win by 4mins 30.50secs. 'It was a really fantastic effort by Filipe,' said teammate Carlos Truta. 'We all agreed that if he [Filipe] felt up to it he should take on all four legs. As a team we again got the strategy and the pits stops right. And once we got out front we knew Filipe could open out a lead and go on to win. It has been a good week. We had some good luck and some bad luck but it was the whole team that got us this result.'
Behind Filipe, Chernukha and Pastorello enjoyed a good fight, Chernukha regaining second spot on leg II only to lose out again in the pit stop – refuelling technique proving to be the team’s achilles heel.
Pastorello chased after Filipe and Chernukha again had to make up lost ground and he did moving into second spot by the end of leg III, with Vick Team slowly and surely closing the gap on the leading trio.
On the final leg Chernukha eased away as the Frenchman dropped the pace and slowed because of the damage to his bike, allowing Vick Team to pass and go on and grab their second consecutive podium.
Although frustrated by his pit stops Chernukha was satisfied with today’s second place and second overall. 'I was not happy to keep losing time and position in the pits stops, but it was a good race,' he said. 'I am very pleased to have taken part in this event and to race against riders like Pastorello and the Portuguese and to be the best placed Russian rider is great.'
For Vincent Thomas and Lucas Granger the turnaround in their fortunes and performances came too late for them to challenge the overall podium positions, finishing fifth overall. 'We have had a mixed week. We started badly getting no points on then had a problem in heat 3. But the conditions yesterday suited us and today we were able to run pretty fast. So we made a late charge – better late than never.' said Thomas.
Behind the lead quartet Spanish outfit Maremoto Jets enjoyed a solitary tour in fifth place to match their best finish of the week and finish in sixth place overall, but it was a disappointing day for Russia’s Alexander Shishov and Igor Chernikh who recorded their worst result of the week finishing in eighth, missing out on third overall by five points.
At the end of five days of extremely varied conditions, exciting racing and some standout performances it was France’s multiple World Champion from Toulouse Jean-Bruno Pastorello who deserved the plaudits, winning three out of the five gruelling 220kms heats around Russky Island to be again crowned World Champion.
Heat 5 results:
1 12 Samuka Racing PT 4 02:12:32.34 00:00:00.00 25
2 37 Team Russia 37 RU 4 02:17:02.84 00:04:30.50 20
3 971 VICK Team GP 4 02:17:20.04 00:04:47.70 16
4 8 Team France FR 4 02:20:26.99 00:07:54.65 13
5 55 Maremoto Jets ES 4 02:22:35.00 00:10:02.66 11
6 21 Team Russia 21 RU 4 02:25:01.69 00:12:29.35 10
Race Time Limit: 02:56:43.12
Overall results Rusky Offshore 2013:
1. 8 Jean-Bruno Pastorello (fr) 88pts
2. 37 Alexsei Chernukha (ru) 83pts
3. 12 Samuka Racing (pt) Filipe Filipe, Carlos Truta, Antonio Curtinhal 70pts
4. 58 Alexander Shishov (ru), Igor Chernikh (ru) 65pts
5. 971 Vick Team (gp) Vincent Thomas, Luca Granger 49pts
6. 55 Maremoto Jets (es) Fede Fuster, Alberto Rios, Enrique Garcia 46pts
(Full results will be posted on aquabike.net)