Aquabike Grand Prix of France 2011 will see more than 60 riders from 10 countries line up for the competition that is set to take place June 3rd through June 5th in Ghisonaccia, Corsica. This event will be round three of the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship.
Attention will be centered on Ghisonaccia resident and local hero, Francois Medori who will do battle before a partisan home crowd. Medori will be looking to extend his lead in the overall Championship standings.
Medori will lead the line in Aquabike’s premier class, Runabout F1, aiming to add to last week’s heat two and Grand Prix win in Arbatax, which puts the French ace seven points clear in the title race on 74 points.
Looking to unseat Medori will be Italy’s Mattia Fracasso last week’s heat one winner - both riders running Rotax powered Sea-Doo’s - and defending World Champion Cyrille Lemoine, who moved up the points table into fourth spot after a third place finish in heat two last weekend.
After a disastrous double breakdown last time out, failing to post points and losing his Championship lead, dropping him to third in the standings, Franky Zapata will be hoping to rediscover the form, and more importantly the reliability, that saw him win the opening races of the season on his Mercury-powered Zapata bike.
France’s Jeremy Poret will be the target man for all riders in Ski Division F1. The 2010 European Champion sits comfortably at the top of the table with a 22-point lead courtesy of three heat and two Grand Prix wins.
His biggest challenge will come from fellow countrymen Christopher Courtois, who has notched-up four top-three finishes this season, and Porto-Vecchio local, Jean-Baptiste Botti, who missed out on his first Grand Prix win of the year in Arbatax, stopping on lap six whilst leading heat two, having won the first.
Looking to try to break the dominance of the French trio above them in the standings are Spaniard Nachete Armillas and Italy’s Emanuele Balzer.
In Ski Ladies F1 Stefania Balzer carries a slender two-point advantage going into this weekend’s event - just twelve points separating the top three.
The Italian rider, who lives in Portugal and races under a Portuguese license, celebrated her first heat and Grand Prix win last week, but knows that she will face an angry and determined Julie Bulteau, likely to still be smarting from the post-race penalty lap that cost her the Grand Prix win and the Championship lead. Both will have to watch out for Slovenia’s Pija Sumer, who has taken three top three finishes and a heat win this year.
The battle for Freestyle’s top spot is likely to be another entertaining and exciting showdown between the Championship leader, Italy’s Valerio Calderoni who won the season-opener in Qatar, with French hopes sitting squarely on the shoulders of last week’s Grand Prix winner, Romain Stampers.
Francoise Medori (France) at The race of the UIM Aquabike GP of Italy 2011 in Arbatax- Tortoli Sardinia. - Vittorio Ubertone/Idea Marketing
The action starts tomorrow (Friday 3 June) with Ski Ladies F1 kicking off free practice at 14.00hrs, with each discipline out on the water for two, 20-minute sessions.
Qualifying on Saturday morning starts at 10.00hrs, followed by the first heats of the Grand Prix of France starting at 15.00hrs with Ski Ladies F1 followed by Ski Division F1, Freestyle and Runabout F1. Heats two take place on Sunday afternoon. Saturday 4, June:
10.00/12.45 Official Qualifying/Pole Position
15.00/15.30 Ski Ladies F1, heat one
15.30/16.00 Ski Division F1, heat one
16.00/16.30 Freestyle, heat one
16.30/17.00 Runabout F1, heat one
18.00/20.00 Parallel Slalom Ski, Runabout and Freestyle show Sunday 5, June:
11.00/13.00 Warm Up
15.00/15.30 Ski Ladies F1, heat two
15.30/16.00 Ski Division F1, heat two
16.00/16.30 Freestyle, heat two
16.30/17.00 Runabout F1, heat two Event website