ORYX Dave Villwock sets qualifying pace in Oryx Cup
2009 H1 Unlimited UIM World Championship
Oryx Cup – UIM World Championship, Qatar – November 19th-21st, 2009
For immediate release
Thursday, November 19th, 2009
DAVE VILLWOCK SETS FASTEST TIME IN
H1 UNLIMITED QUALIFYING FOR ORYX CUP
· Bernard and Villwock create history for new H1 Unlimited series
· H1 Unlimited announced as new name for ABRA Hydroplane series
· World’s fastest race boats compete outside the Americas for the first time
DOHA (Qatar): Dave Villwock set the fastest time of the day in U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus to claim the leading qualifying position for this weekend’s Oryx Cup UIM World Championship, the final round of the renamed H1 Unlimited UIM World Championship, in Doha.
The Washington State driver is chasing his 60th victory in H1 Unlimited racing, a number that will put him within two wins of the late Bill Muncey, the most successful Unlimited Hydroplane racer in the sport’s history in terms of race wins.
Villwock laid down the gauntlet by posting the early fastest time in the open qualifying session, the U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus driver recording an average speed of 235.651km/h around the 3.22km course in ideal racing conditions. Title rival Steve David was his closest challenger with 233.509 km/h, but Brian Perkins struggled with a lack of power from U-48 with a best lap of 200.808 km/h and trailed Jean Theoret (221.533 km/h) and J. Michael Kelly (217.776 km/h) after the first 30 minutes of qualifying.
Perkins opted to miss the remainder of the session in favour of replacing the gearbox overnight, as race officials set the cut-off to qualify for the heats to a minimum average speed of 200 km/h. Villwock maintained the fastest time heading into the final 50 minutes of qualifying, with David and Theoret in second and third positions and Jeff Bernard still to record a time after earlier starter problems. Both Nate Brown and Ken Muscatel had already done enough to reach Friday’s heats.
The wind died down completely during the final 30 minutes of the qualifying session, but Greg Hopp was unable to start U-100 Leland Racing and record a time and championship contender Jeff Bernard struggled to post a fastest tour of 204.317 km/h to seize sixth position.
History in the making
Jeff Bernard and Dave Villwock were the first two racers on to Doha Bay at the start of the Unlimited testing session and duly created a piece of history by being the first two Hydroplane drivers to take to a stretch of water east of Florida and outside the Americas with their H1 Unlimited hulls.
Villwock posted a fastest average speed of 238.669 km/h during his three-lap stint and that was sufficient to win the unofficial session. Championship leader Steve David ran for six laps and posted 236.862 km/h on his second run in U1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison.
“It is a beautiful setting here and a perfect place for a race course,” enthused David. “I had to pinch ourselves when I actually hit the water for the first time today. The last race was over 7,000 miles away and the race in Qatar will decide the outcome of the championship. We will be running slightly tighter into the corners here and a bit closer together, but it should be a great two days’ of racing if we can avoid getting any salt in the turbine engines.”
It was also announced in Doha on Thursday morning that the name of the Unlimited Hydroplane series has been changed to H1 Unlimited (formerly ABRA) with immediate effect. This is to cater for the fact that the series has expanded outside the United States, with Qatar the first name on a calendar that chairman Sam Cole hopes to expand still further in the near future.
“Our racing series long ago accomplished the mission implied by our old name and with the beginning of the racing series internationally we need a name that more closely represents our new global reach,” said Sam Cole, Chairman of H1 Unlimited.
Tomorrow (Friday) crews are permitted to test for two hours from 9am, before the official opening ceremony and the first two Unlimited Heats at 12.30hrs and 12.50hrs. There will be a podium ceremony for the heat winners and then the second pair of heats will follow at 14.30hrs and 14.50hrs, before a second podium ceremony.
Oryx Cup UIM World Championship – qualifying results (Thursday)
1. U-16 Dave Villwock Ellstrom Elam Plus 235.651 km/h
2. U-1 Steve David Oh Boy!Oberto/Miss Madison 233.509 km/h
3. U-37 Jean Theoret Schumacher/Miss Peters & May 221.533 km/h
4. U-7 J Michael Kelly Graham Trucking 217.776 km/h
5. U-17 Nate Brown Our Gang Racing 215.950 km/h
6. U-5 Jeff Bernard Formulaboats.com 204.317 km/h
7. U-48 Brian Perkins Go Fast Turn Left Racing 200.808 km/h
8. U-22 Mike Webster Matrix System Automotive Finishes 192.877 km/h
9. U-25 Ken Muscatel Superior Racing Violation
10. U-100 Greg Hopp Leland Racing DNS
Timetable of events – Friday, November 20th
09.00hrs – 11.00hrs Unlimited testing
12.00hrs Opening ceremony
12.30hrs Unlimited Heat A
12.50hrs Unlimited Heat B
13.05hrs Podium for heat winners A and B
14.30hrs Unlimited Heat 2A
14.50hrs Unlimited Heat 2B
15.10hrs Podium for heat winners 2A and 2B
15.30hrs – 17.00hrs Pit area open to general public (VIP tours available)
For further media information about the QMSF:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).
For further information about ABRA:
Owen Blauman, Oryx Cup UIM World Championship Media Relations, email@example.com