17 June 2024

Monday, June 17: This weekend’s sees the resumption of the 2024 UIM-ABP Aquabike Class Pro World Championship with the Olbia-based Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy. This event is being organised by ASD Aquabike Olbia and Aquabike Promotion with the authorisation of the Federazione Italiana Motonautica (FIM) and under the auspices of the UIM.


The Grand Prix in Olbia, which is now becoming the ‘race symbol of the championship’, has received a staggering entry of 166 riders from 30 countries across all the various classes. Pre-qualifying will be necessary in several of the larger categories.


Swede Samuel Johansson currently holds a joint lead with defending World Champion François Medori in the Runabout GP1 category. The duo took a win and a second place apiece in Vietnam and are seven points clear of Hungarian rival Gyorgy Kasza. Portugal’s Lino Araújo and Czech Martin Doulik currently hold top five places in the rankings.


The leading quintet can expect a strong challenge from a provisional 25 rivals. They include the likes of Frenchman Jeremy Perez, a returning Kuwaiti Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq, Scandinavians Rasmus Koch Hansen and Johan Johansson and Poland’s Andrzej Wisniewski.


There are 36 names on the unofficial entry list for Ski Division GP1. Quinten Bossche claimed a hat-trick of successes in Vietnam to lead the category by 11 points from Austrian rival Kevin Reiterer. The French Poret brothers, Morgan, Jeremy and Mickael, hold third, fifth and sixth in the rankings with Dane Oliver Koch Hansen sandwiched between them in fourth place.


The truly impressive field also includes the likes of Alex Barret and Antony Beernaut from Belgium, Japan’s Toshi O’Hara, talented Australian youngster Jayden Richardson and Swiss racer Alec Enderli.


Jasmiin Ypraus is the early leader in the Ski Ladies GP1 World Championship and the Estonian heads a 12-strong field that includes closest rival Estelle Poret, defending World Champion Jessica Chavanne and former world champions Emma-Nelli Ortendahl and Sofie Borgström.


Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Mulla and current champion Roberto Mariani are tied on 47 points apiece in the battle for Freestyle supremacy. They won a Moto apiece in Vietnam but face competition from four rivals on the waters off the coast of Olbia. Paulo Nuñes of Portugal is currently third in the rankings, while the Italian duo of Massimo Accumolo and Alberto Camerlengo and Saudi Arabian racer Nizar Abuljadayel will be making their first appearances of the season.  


Twenty-three racers in Runabout GP2, 16 in Runabout GP4 and 14 in Runabout GP4 Ladies will also be making their first appearances of the season in those respective UIM-ABP categories.


Pierpaolo Terreo finished third in Runabout GP2 in 2023 and heads a sextet of Italian racers with competition coming from the likes of Pole Juliusz Roman, Germany’s Justin Patzner, Lithuania’s Mindaugas Jaciauskas, Estonian Mattias Siimann and Czech Petr Dryjak. Giuseppe Risolo and Frenchman Pierre-François Savelli are late additions to the original entry list.


Ibiza-based Spaniard Alejandro Prats Palau tops the Runabout GP4 field and will line-up against the likes of Dryjak, Italian Davide Pontecorvo, Croatia’s Jurica Marovic and the Estonian quartet of Henri Koppas, Karl Keskula, Arti Molter and Laanisto Marek. German racer Maddox Reichardt is a late addition to the entry.


Czech Nikola Dryjakova is the defending Runabout GP4 Ladies champion and heads a field that also includes Italy’s Arianna Urlo, Germany’s Michelle Dimov, Estonia’s Carmen Roosmaa and Ester Rosin and Clara Muchembled and Cyrielle Bramm from France. Estonia’s Annemarie Randla and Katrin Nilbe, China’s Lingzi Jiang and Portugal’s Luisa Beja are late additions to the original list.


Ski Division GP2 features the Italian trio of Paolo Petronelli, Stefano Attianese and Andrea Reiter, Portugal’s Matteo Valente, Hungarian Csongor Jaszai, Finland’s Jerry Olin and Estonian Mattias Reinass and Marlon Tikk.


Jaszai could potentially be one of the front runners in Ski Division GP3 as well: he faces fellow countryman Lajos Komonyi, the Belgian trio of Loris Lambert, Pierre Defays and Yoni Hamelin, Croatian Dorijan Jakopanec, Dane Frederik Frandsen and Italy’s Andrea Bergamo. Late entries have been received from Tikk, Belgium’s Antoine Goethels, Michael Van Reybroek and Pierre Defays and Portugal’s Martim Sousa Marques.


French and Italian racers dominate on the Ski Division GP4 entry where the likes of Jennifer Menard-Poret, Davide Pontecorvo, Lino Brusadin and Latvia’s Daniils Potrivailo will be aiming for the top step of the podium.


After team registration and scrutineering on Thursday (June 20th), on-water action gets underway with the first free practice sessions for Ski Ladies GP1, Ski GP1, Runabout GP1 and Freestyle entrants from 10.00hrs on Friday morning. Between 13.00hrs and 16.00hrs, Ski GP3 and GP4, Runabout GP4 and GP4 Ladies, Ski GP2 and Runabout GP2 competitors will also enjoy free practice and their qualifying sessions. Pole position runs then follow for Ski Ladies GP1, Ski GP1 and Runabout GP1 runners and a hectic opening day is rounded off by the opening Ski GP3 and GP4 Motos and Freestyle qualifying.


Saturday morning’s action revolves around Moto1 heats for Runabout GP4 and GP4 Ladies, Ski GP2, Runabout GP2 and Ski Ladies GP1, Ski GP1 and Runabout GP1 free practice. The second of several of the Motos takes centre stage on Saturday afternoon from 14.30hrs, in addition to the opening Runabout GP1 and Freestyle Motos.


Further free practice will be permitted for Ski Ladies GP1, Ski GP1, Runabout GP1 and Freestyle racers on Sunday morning from 10.30hrs. The third of the weekend’s Motos in seven of the race categories feature in a busy afternoon programme that is rounded off by the second Runabout GP1 and Freestyle Motos.