Saturday, 20 May, ZADAR (Croatia): There was a huge turnout for the launch of the 2017 UIM-ABP Aquabike European Continental Championships, with 118 riders lining up for the opening round of Circuit and Offshore in Zadar, Croatia.


The action packed schedule kicked-off yesterday with practice and was followed by official qualifying.


Denmark’s Marcus Jorgensen was the pace setter in Runabout GP1&2; the GP2 world and European champion took the pole in the premiere class by 2.8 seconds from Markus Schick of Austria, with a time of 1:29.912s and was almost seven seconds faster in GP2 than his nearest rival, Daniel Lasselsberger. In GP4 Toni Vingut grabbed the pole ahead of fellow Spaniard Jordi Thomas.


The biggest rider roll-out was in Ski GP1 and all eyes were on the sports big names from the UIM-ABP world tour, but it was France’s Raphael Maurin who stole the limelight, taking the pole with a 1:47.52s lap ahead of Norway’s Stian Schjetlein by just o.28 seconds, with defending European champion Kevin Reiterer in third – the Austrian grabbing pole position in GP2.


The standout performance was by a certain Emma-Nellie Ortendahl, taking on her male peers and going a very impressive fourth quickest, ahead of Nacho Armillas and Alberto Monti. Not surprisingly, world champion Ortendahl was in a class of her own in Ladies qualifying, setting a time of 1:46.885s, 9.46s quicker than Virginie Morlaes, with Katrin Nilbe in third.


Switzerland’s Alec Enderli went quickest in Ski GP3 with 2:03.885s, just over a second quicker than Goncalo Rodrigues, Ulrik Berntsen recovering from a poor practice session to go third quickest. Viljar Berntsen topped the time sheets in Ski GP3 Junior.


In Ski veterans, Hungary’s Markus Erlach topped the times sheets in practice and then carried his pace over into qualifying to set the fastest lap with a time of 2:00.08s, with Janis Uzare in second ahead of Andres Lauri.