The 2008 Powerboat P1 World Championship started very much like it ended last year—with strong competition – especially between the Fountain and Outerlimits Evolution teams.

This year, the reigning World Champion Fountain WorldWide team worked against boat shipping set-backs that cost them valuable set-up time in San Benedetto del Tronto. The #99 team then fought its way to first place in both the Endurance and Sprint Races of the Italian Grand Prix of the Sea season opener.

The Italian #88 OSG Racing Team, owner Giancarlo Cangiano, joined by former Lucas Oil competitor, Joe Sgro, in a brand new 43’ Outerlimits, experienced mechanical difficulties in both races and did not finish either. The team protested the British Worldwide Fountain team’s wins on an engine inspection technicality and won the decision by Powerboat P1’s jury and the U.I.M. The Fountain team was disqualified from the Sprint Race and was docked 100 points. Fountain Worldwide intends to appeal the decision.

The new#77 Lucas Oil Team of Nigel Hook and Shelley Jory were standouts in the Skater in which Hook and Fountain Worldwide competitor James Sheppard won the U.S. APBA/SBI World Championship three years ago. The team fought hard to preserve a lead in the sprint race, but held on for second in both races. The penalty to the Fountain team catapulted the Lucas Oil team to first place in the Evolution point standings.

The SuperSport Class was not without its own drama, as the reigning World Champion, Angelo Tedesci and his new team mate, Aaron Ciantar of Chaudron Powerboats, took first place in both the Endurance and Sprint races, in the Conam Yachts #44 boat. They were then penalized two minutes for jumping the start of the Sprint race, along with the #59 Saho team, giving the #7 Voom Voom team first place and dropping Conam Yachts to third. In overall standings, Voom Voom retains first place with Conam in second and Saho in third.
Meanwhile other teams in both classes remain strong contenders, including the #60 GFN Gibaletto Metamarine diesel boat, the new Cigarette #10 boat and another Skater, the #53 Pignolo team. A new Skater, #89 HoneyParty was plagued with pre- and at-race issues and retired from both races.

The new Powerboat P1 website, www.powerboatp1.com, has up-to-date news and information on all races and in addition, offers live P1 Radio broadcasts during the races by logging onto the “multi-media” page. America’s own Martin Sanborn provides color-commentary with race announcer, Steve Ancell, painting vivid pictures of the tough race action.

Soon, Virtual Spectator will offer the visual component to add to the audio, providing a true “in the cockpit” feel. Visitors to the Powerboat P1 site will be able to download software and watch the races live on their computers with telemetry technology. For those in other countries, and in the U.S., time zones must be noted as the races are 5-7 hours ahead, depending on location. The race schedules are provided for each race on the web.

As Powerboat P1 moves on to Marseilles, France for the second race of the season, it is “C’est La Vie” for the teams as they work to fix boats and engines, resolve issues and get ready for a new experience at this Mediterranean Port city. The Friday afternoon PowerPole will begin at 16:00 to determine the Saturday race line-up.

The weekend schedule will be condensed into back-to-back races, with the Evolution class Endurance Race starting on Saturday at 13:45-15:15, followed by the SuperSport Endurance Race at 15:30. (8:45 AM and 9L30 AM EST) The Sunday Sprint Race will maintain the same schedule, with each race followed by a podium awards celebration.

Stay tuned to www.powerboatp1.com for more news and updates on the French Grand Prix of the Sea, May 23-25.