Sunseeker crew plot Tunisian return

The Sunseeker Challenger Super Sport boat tests for the Tunisian Grand Prix of the Sea
#11 Sunseeker crew plot Tunisian return.

Pete Little, throttleman of the #11 Sunseeker Challenger SuperSport class boat has said that he and pilot Andy Wilby are aiming to repay the hard graft of the Team Sunseeker mechanics and engineers as they return to the Powerboat P1 championship in the upcoming Tunisian Grand Prix of the Sea.

The British-based outfit was forced to miss both the Grand Prix de Marseille in France and the Malta Grand Prix of the Sea after the #11 Sunseeker Challenger flipped and sunk during pre-race testing for the French event. Both Little and Wilby emerged unscathed from the crash, but the boat has had to undergo extensive repairs.

Little gave the rebuilt boat its first run-out at the weekend. 'It has been frustrating sitting on the sidelines for the past two Grand Prix events,' he said. 'But now we are back. The boat feels responsive and its performance is pretty much where we want it. A lot of people have put in a huge amount of time and effort to get the boat in top condition to race again, and we shall be aiming to reward their efforts in the Tunisian Grand Prix of the Sea.'

Dominic Byrne, Managing Director of Sunseeker Sales Group, once again highlighted the severity of the incident. 'It was testament to the quality of workmanship that the hull withstood the barrel-roll, but we weren’t so fortunate with other parts of the boat. The damage to Pete Little’s seat brought home to us all the severity of the incident and we are very thankful that both pilots escaped relatively unscathed and are now raring to race again.'

Pennesi: Results prove diesel still works.
The 60 GFN Gibellato continued its impressive Evolution pace in Malta


Marco Pennesi, team boss and pilot of the #60 GFN Gibellato Evolution class boat, has said that the outfit’s front-running pace and third place in the championship standings prove that his decision to stick with diesel power for the 2008 season was the right choice to make.

Powerboat P1’s new rules for 2008 require more powerful-engined boats to have a heavier running weight to improve equality. As a result, the majority of teams in the Evolution class have opted to use Mercury or Ilmor petrol engines this year, as part of a general move to smaller, lighter hulls that are more likely to handle and accelerate better on the tighter courses used in Powerboat P1 in recent years.

Pennesi has continued to back the more powerful diesel engines, though, and the #60 GFN Gibellato boat has defied predictions that it would struggle against the new wave of lighter, US and British-run boats. The Italian team has scored three PowerPole wins and two podium finishes in the first half of the season, and has been a regular challenger for race wins on outright pace.

'During the winter, I was curious to know how the American hulls would perform, but I’ve won three PowerPoles and I’m happy to have demonstrated our strength,' Pennesi said. 'If we respect the power-to-weight ratio, then there is no difference, but diesel has three times the torque of a petrol engine. Last winter, when [Powerboat P1 CEO] Jim O’Toole came to me, a special premium for diesel engines was among his ideas. I said that there was no need. I knew that I would be strong just the same.'

Pennesi is now targeting an outright victory on merit in the remaining four races of the season. 'There are opportunities to win,' he said. 'Even if there is very strong competition with many strong teams. I’m even more happy after the work we’ve done to the hull in recent days. In testing, it is definitely better in acceleration and it should go better on the straights. If all these solutions lead to the expected results, then we should go even better in Tunisia.'

Shelley Jory tops Round Britain finishers.

#77 Lucas Oil Evolution class pilot Shelley Jory was the top-finishing Powerboat P1 competitor in this year’s revived Round Britain race. The Briton, partnering Dean Gibbs and Neil Holmes in the #7 Going Lean boat, finished sixth overall and fourth in class after 10 days of racing round the coastline of the British Isles.

The former Powerboat P1 Evolution class #81 Wettpunkt.com boat, crewed by Hannes Bohnic, Max Holzfeind and Ed-Williams Hawkes, finished 30th overall, while the Powerboat P1 SuperSport frontrunning #47 Silverline Buzzi Bullet boat of Drew Langdon and Jan Falkowski finished 31st after suffering problems on the penultimate leg.

The 1424 Nm event was won by the #333 Blue FPT boat of Vassilis Pateras and Panos Tsikopoulos in a time of 20 hours, 36 minutes and 47 seconds. The team’s navigator, legendary powerboat racer Dag Pike, won the last Round Britain race in 1984 and is the oldest competitor in this year’s field at the age of 75.

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