Sardinia-Ogliastra Grand Prix saw stunning competition for the first heat with the Italian and French riders Mattia Fracasso, Stefania Balzer and Romain Stampers sharing the top honors.
UIM Aquabike World Championship 2011
In Runabout F1 Fracasso achieved a dramatacized late victory while Stefania Balzer took her very first win in Ski Ladies F1. Ski Division F1 saw rider Jean-Baptiste Botti take his second victory of the season and The freestyle event witnessed pristine racing from Romain Stampers.
For Italy’s Stefania Balzer it was the perfect day, adding the maiden heat win after taking her first pole position earlier in the day. Balzer led defending World Champion Julie Bulteau from the start, the pair easing away to lead the pack of six. Within two laps Balzer had opened up a three second gap, but almost handed it back with a small mistake at the end of lap three.
Marta Sorrentino’s top three slot was short lived, passed on lap two by Slovenian Pija Summer, with Estelle Poret running fifth after the early exit of Patty Gutierrez.
Balzer absorbed the pressure applied by the chasing Bulteau, and by lap six had extended her lead going on to win by over 12 seconds, completing the eight laps in 16mins 21,39secs.
In Ski Division F1 Jean-Baptiste Botti grabbed the immediate advantage, outpacing his fellow countryman and pole-sitter Jeremy Poret on the run to the first turnbuoy, moving out to a four second lead by the end of lap six.
Christopher Courtois led the chase, ahead of Italy’s Emanuele Balzer and Spaniard Nachette Armillas, the trio holding station and unable to make any impression on the leaders for the remainder of the race. By lap eight Botti was nine seconds clear, with Poret unable to do anything and eventually settling for second place; Botti winning in 19mins 46,57secs.
Mickael Poret completed the top six, holding off his brother Morgan for over half race distance, before he was passed by Vincent Villat, with Olivier Polo and Gabor Szabo completing the top ten. The feature race of the afternoon produced all the drama that was expected following Cyrille Lemoine’s success over Franky Zapata in qualifying.
And it was Lemoine who led the 26-rider Runabout field from Zapata from the start – both incurring penalties in a frantic opening leg.The defending Champion held off a hard-charging Zapata for four laps but was then passed by the current Championship leader, who immediately pulled away, opening up a 13-second lead before a transmission failure ended his race on lap eight.
Lemoine sailed into the lead and looked to be set for his first win of the year, when a broken compressor two laps later ended his race.
Italian Mattia Fraccaso, who was running in fifth spot at the end of lap one slowly made his way up the rankings, passing Lorenzo Benaglia and Francois Medori, and then finding himself out front on the penultimate lap following the retirements of Zapata and then Lemoine to take his first win of the year. Medori finished second ahead of Giusepe Greco, moving up six places during the race. Yann Baros, Didier Chabert and Jeremy Perez rounded out the top six.
In the Freestyle event, Romain Stampers bounced back after his disappointment in Qatar, producing a stunning series of combinations and a near perfect routine to take maximum points ahead of Valerio Calderoni, Sebastien Tchernia and Roberto Mariani.
Runabout – Heat One results
1.8Mattia Fracasso (ita)11 laps 25pts
2.4Francois Medori (fra)+ 26.81secs 20pts
3.59Giusepe Greco (ita)+ 1:21.17secs 16pts
4.18Yann Barros (fra)+ 1:25.27secs 13pts
5.22Didier Chabert (fra)+ 1:44.81secs 11pts
6.88Jeremy Perez (fra)+ 1:49.27secs 10pts
Ski Division F1 – Heat One results
1.85Jean-Baptiste Botti (fra)10 laps 25 pts
2.72Jeremy Poret (fra)+2.86secs20 pts
3.95Christopher Courtois (fra)+39.53secs 16 pts
4.222Emanuele Balzer (ita)+ 1:03.48secs 13 pts
5.36Nachette Armillas (esp)+ 1:09.20secs 11 pts
6.77Mickael Poret (fra)+1:10.09secs 10 pts
Ski Ladies F1 – Heat One results
1.81Stefania Balzer (ita)8 laps 25pts
2.33Julie Bulteau (fra)+12.73secs 20 pts
3.25Pija Sumer (slo)+ 51.55secs 16 pts
4.4Marta Sorrentino (ita)+ 2:05.96secs 13pts
5.96Estelle Poret (fra)+ 1lap 11pts
Freestyle – Heat One results
1.20Romain Stampers (fra) 25pts
2.16Valerio Calderoni (ita) 20 pts
3.56Sebastien Tchernia (fra) 16pts
4.70Roberto Mariani (ita) 13 pts
Sunday 29, May:
11.00/13.00 - Warm Up
15.30/16.00 - Ski F1 Ladies, heat two
16.00/16.30 - Ski Division F1, heat two
16.30/17.00 - Freestyle, heat two
17.00/17.30 - Runabout F1, heat two