Saturday 10 May, 2008: A glorious sun-splashed sky and a calm Adriatic Sea made for exciting racing on the opening day of the 2008 Powerboat P1 World Championship season in picturesque resort of San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy.
Reigning P1 World Champion #99 ‘Fountain Worldwide,’ which ran third for most of the Evolution class race, made a dramatic move on the last lap to take the checkered flag. The victory was made sweeter by the fact that the British team of Craig Wilson and James Shepperd didn’t have their 12 metre boat until almost 6:00 a.m. on race day itself, having lost its trans-Atlantic transport from the Fountain Powerboat factory in the United States in favor of U.S. Military cargo. "I’ve never had to work so hard in my life," said pilot Shepperd after emerging from his Ilmor-powered Fountain boat. "My hands hurt. Everything hurts. We didn’t have much setup time, but there was some superb stalking by Craig that allowed us to get ahead in the closing stages of the race. That was tough, but a great start to the year."
The 77 ‘Lucas Oil’ team of American Nigel Hook and Brit Shelly Jory, the only male-female Evolution Class team, led for most of the race but ended second place in their 12-metre Skater, powered by Mercury Racing. The German Searex Racing team of Siegfried Greve (Germany) and Belgian Gino Passchier drove the 40-foot ‘Cranfield Wines’ to a third place finish.
In P1 SuperSport class, the locals had much to cheer about with a win by Italian team 44 ‘Conam Yachts.’ The crew of team owner and throttleman Angelo Tedeschi and his new pilot Aaron Ciantar dominated the SuperSport event that got the race weekend off to a great start, quickly opening a dominant 30-second lead over their nearest rivals and extended that by a further 10 seconds by the chequered flag. Great Britain was well represented on the podium with second and third place captured by the #07 Voom Voom.com, followed by 47 Silverline Buzzi Bullet.
A large crowd enjoyed world-class racing and are prepared for tomorrow’s second round of the 14-race series which spans three continents.