The pair will be in unfamiliar surroundings for the first two races of the season though, racing in a boat leased from Mauro D’Alessio.
Last year, Zaffain and bin Hendi crushed their opposition, cruising to victory in superb fashion. However, although the world champions will start their defence in a Victory built boat, it won’t be their championship winning hull.
It will deliver the same programme though, with the leased boat including the Victory engine package powering them.
Experienced racer Giovanni Carpitella could be one of the champion’s biggest challengers. He will team-up with the flamboyant Brit Miles Jennings who will take the wheel of the LFF10, the sole entry from Fendi Racing.
Zabo Racing’s Christian Zaborowski joined for the first time by Class 1 newcomer Niclas Johansson.
As Richard Carr wrote recently, Team Abu Dhabi will run two MTIs in the championship running both Mercury and SCAM power-plants, however they are still yet to name their line-ups.
The likes of John Tomlinson, Gary Ballough, Rashed Al Tayer, Faleh Al Mansoori and Majed Al Mansoori are all in the frame.
The decision by organisers to include the V1 mono-hulls alongside the Catamarans on the closed course is still yet to be made. If not, they could compete in Leg 8 of the Venezia Monte Carlo from Salerno to Formia on Thursday.
First place and qualifying took place on Wednesday morning with race 1 scheduled for the afternoon.
About Richard Carr
Richard Carr, of Poole, is one of the UK’s most experienced and successful powerboat racers, who has competed in the sport globally.
He has won numerous domestic and international honours: he became British Class 1 Champion in 1991; he was the winner of the coveted Needles Trophy and he also came second in the Cowes Torquay Cowes race in 1992. It was the year the race was controversially competed in the fog and it has been argued for many years that he actually won the race.
He is known in the sport for his aggressive racing character in rough seas and recently raced in the USA for Geico in 2011.
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