Qatar. Brigada wins U.I.M. F1 World powerboat Grand Prix in rough seas
Saturday, 15 April 2006
Italian Ivan Brigada started off his U.I.M. F1 World Championship victory tour in spectacular fashion winning by 7.86 on a day when the wind and the waves on the edge of the Arabian Gulf took out over half the field of drivers at the opening round of the 2006 championship at the 2nd Annual Grand Prix of Qatar.
Thousands of spectators from around the country came and watched the young test driver show how talented and how much of future he will have in F1 as he out drove both three time World Champion Scott Gillman of the Emirates team, who finished 2nd and his own teammate defending world title holder Guido Cappellini, the number one driver of the Tamoil Team.
Brigada, had pole and held off a hard charge by the native of Los Angeles, Scott Gillman as they headed for the first turn, once he beat Gillman, he never looked back and took control of the race even after four restarts. While those two were in close quarters for most of the event, the battle behind was heating up for most of the event when early on Francesco Cantando, who had qualified 8th and moved up to 4th crashed out on lap 7 when his boat took on water and he was out of a podium finish.
Franco Leidi, back from a two year retirement, crashed out on the 13th tour ending his day prematurely. On the restart, Cappellini, who was pushing for 4th position blew up his engine in a big way with it eventually catching on fire ending his day with a mechanical problem for the first time since the Singapore Grand Prix in 2004.
The most serious event of the afternoon came on lap 29 when local driver Mohamed Al Ali of the Qatar Team, driving a new boat, barrel rolled very heavily in the final turn of the circuit sending him to the hospital in critical condition.
The race continued after the final restart and as the laps wore down French pilot Philippe Dessertenne came home on a fine ride in 3rd place, his 2nd straight podium at the Grand Prix in the last two years.
Emirates driver Thani Al Qamzi had a great day pushing back up the order after dropping back early and finishing a fine 4th, his first top 5 finish since his 4th place at the Grand Prix of Malaysia in 2004.
Australian driver Bob Trask had his best weekend ever in his three year history starting 7th and finishing 5th in his brand new GTR hull for the XPV Racing effort. He fell down the order early and fought his way back to pick up 7 big points at days end.
Sami Selio, had a frustrating day while starting 6th after his engine blew up in qualifying and doing his best to survive with limited visibility and a down on power engine for most of the afternoon in his Red Devil Selio F1 machine.
Massimiliano "Max" Moreschi picked up his first points since 2004 with a fine 7th place after starting 13th for the Singha Team tying his career best for the 4th time.
Philippe Chiappe was a career tying 8th after qualifying 15th in the Charente Maritime boat, while Duarte Benavente of Portugal introduced the latest Dragon boat hull to 9th position in his first time running the boat.
Saudi driver Laith Pharaon rounded out the top 10 with a disappointing run after starting a fine 5th and challenging strongly early only to drop back and place 4 laps back from the lead driver Brigada at days end on the 50th lap.
The series now leaves the Middle East and heads back to Europe for round #2 and the Grand Prix of Portugal in the lovely seaside area of the Algarve and the city of Portimao on the last weekend of May.
The opening round of 2006 proved that a new star has emerged on the tour and as the 26 year-old driver Ivan Brigada heads back to Italy knowing he will now be a legitimate runner for the world title and a spectacular addition the series for years to come.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 April 2006 )