Friday, 18 May, PORTIMAO (Portugal): The much anticipated duel between Victory’s Alex Carella and Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente did not disappoint in today’s first practice session of the new season, with Carella gabbing the inter-UAE team bragging rights after posting the fastest time in the closing stages of the 90 minute session.
After trading teams in the off-season the pair traded times this afternoon with Carella posting his best time of 41.80s on his 50th lap to edge Torrente by just 0.26s. “It was a good start but we have some work to do tonight,” said defending world champion Carella. “We have shown we are competitive to the other big teams and drivers but we need to find some more and work on the balance, but overall I am more than happy.”
It was an impressive showing by both drivers running their new boats in anger for the first time, Carella in the all new Victory designed and built hull, Torrente in the newest generation DAC and more than pleased with his session. “This is a great boat. It’s a rocket ship,” Torrente said. “I am really thrilled but the best part is that is what we expected after the testing we have done. I have narrowed the propeller option to two or three and one especially that is good in all conditions so looking forward to tomorrow.”
Sweden’s Jonas Andersson was another to deliver bringing his brand new boat home in third spot posting a 42.17s lap, with teammate Erik Edin also impressing, a tenth shy and going fifth fastest. “I am very happy with that because I didn’t drive at all well,” Andersson said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to test because of the long cold winter in Sweden so this was the first really runout since Sharjah. I can find more pace if I drive better. The boat was very nice.”
Philippe Chiappe and Erik Stark, a last minute replacement for the unwell Mike Szymura, completed a top six line-up separated by just 0.97s, Chiappe fourth quickest with a 42.33 and Stark with a 42.76s lap.
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