Guido Cappellini shocked the world of powerboat racing when he signed Erik Stark after his win at London earlier this month.
Stark started to repay Cappellini’s faith by setting the fastest time in free practice for his new Abu Dhabi team.
There had been no extra free practice on Friday afternoon and the first time that the drivers had been able to see the course was the one-hour practice session this morning.
Thani Al-Qemzi started strongly and was the first of the drivers to break the 50-second barrier with a lap of 49.92sec.
Stark’s first few laps with Team Abu Dhabi netted a time of 51.41sec.
After the first 13 minutes of the session, Jonas Andersson topped the times with a lap of 49.42sec from Shaun Torrente (49.70sec) and Al-Qemzi’s earlier time.
These were the only three drivers to break the 50-second barrier.
Stark then went fastest with a 49.39sec flier to set the target for his new team-mates and his rivals and, after 25 minutes of the session, five drivers had broken the 50-second barrier and Stark had raised the bar still further to 49.06sec.
Defending champion Alex Carella was struggling at the rear of the 19-boat field with set-up issues.
Top Photo: Silvia Borgonovi