Not satisfied with its fourth- and fifth-place showing at the season opener of the 2012 UIM F1 H2O World Championship in Doha, Qatar, in March, the Qatar Team recently returned from three days of testing on the Po River in Northern Italy.
Shaun Torrente of Miami were testing and "tweaking" their latest DAC boat hulls from the race shop of 10-time world champion Guido Cappellini. Their goal is to improve their DAC boats for next month's race in Kazan, Russia (June 22-23).Both defending world champion Alex Carella of Italy along with teammate
The youngest world champion in the four decade history of the sport, Carella is looking to get back on the podium after finishing a disappointing fifth at his team's home Grand Prix in early March.
"It was fantastic that we were able to get almost three days of solid testing in," said Carella, who won the 2011 race in Kazan. "We've learned a few more things about out boats and feel we have made them only faster and this was our goal.
"Also it was a treat to have Shaun bring his wife along and with my girlfriend, the four of us were able to do some great socializing and bonding," he continued. "This, I feel, is so important in the long run when it comes to having a true race team 'family.' "
For the second year American driver, the feelings were mutual.
"I think this was a giant step for not only Alex and me but for the whole team taking this time to test and do some serious 'bonding' while here in lovely Northern Italy," Torrente said. "My family background is half Italian, so the longer I stayed, I almost felt as if this was my second home.
"OK, more seriously, this testing trip gave me an opportunity to get in some valuable seat time running many laps on the river in a boat hull I am still learning the 'go-fast secrets' of," he added. "Above all, however, it gave me a chance to spend more hours with my new team members both in testing mode and socially, which was something very special at the end of the day."
Carella comes to the 13th Grand Prix on Russian soil next month with just 16 career races starts and three victories, including a world title. The 27-year-old from Piacenza has eight career podiums in the 13 races he has finished.
For Torrente, he'll be starting just his eighth Grand Prix with top five finishes in the three races he's completed. A year ago, he earned more rookie points than any driver on the tour. Last year in Kazan, the two-time North American champion's day ended early with a broken boat while Carella went on to earn his second career victory.
Editor's Note: For a first-person account of Torrente's rookie season on the UIM F1 tour, check out the summer issue of Sportboat magazine on newsstands now.