With just under three weeks to go to the third round of the 2016 UIM XCAT World Powerboating Series, teams are gearing up for some spectacular action in Lugano, Switzerland.
This will be the first ever XCAT outing to the stunning Swiss city, and with several roughwater races contested recently, the 14 international teams are hoping for some flat water when racing gets underway on Lago di Lugano from June 4-5.
“It’s a different setting so it’s going to be a totally different set-up. Hopefully we can repeat what we achieved in Fujairah and Dubai,” said Victory Team driver Nadir bin Hendi, who together with Arif Al Zaffain, claimed the two opening race wins of the season last month.
Swecat’s Mikael Bengtsson, who with Erik Stark, is in second place overall in the fledgling Series standings is also looking forward to the prospect of a band new race location.
“It’s very exciting to go to Lugano. We hope it will be a flat race because we haven’t really had a flat race – even last season the whole season was rough. These first two races of this year have not been very rough but also not calm, so we are very excited,” he said.
For T-Bone Station, who are still racing with the two-stroke engines while most of the other teams have made the transition to the newly introduced Mercury XCAT ROS 400 engines, flat water would also be a bonus.
“Racing on a lake is better for us because the two-stroke engines are higher in the water so when it’s a bit bumpy our propellers come out all the time while the four-stroke engines are more in the water so they can push 100 per cent of the time,” explained T-Bone Station driver Giovanni Carpitella.
“In the lake I hope it is flat so then we can have a lot of speed because our boat can go very fast.”
Meanwhile, Victory Team manager Ragesh Elayadeth explained that the experience gained from the first two races of the season will go a long way in understanding the new, environmentally friendly engines that the teams are still coming to grips with.
“Lugano is going to be totally different to the first two races because it’s in a lake. Now we have a lot of data from the first two races – not only us but all the teams – so we will apply that to our system and see what we need to do. As a result I think Lugano will be a better race for everyone.
“We’ve never raced in Lugano before but we have raced in Lake Maggiore and Lake Como in Italy so we are expecting something similar to those conditions.”
The Lugano GP is the third round of the XCAT World Series and after this race action will move to another brand new location – in Seoul, South Korea.
Karien is a South African freelance sports journalist and communications / PR consultant.
She has worked as one of three chief writers on the official 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic daily programmes and magazines.