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UIM World GP Hydroplane Championship - Lake Karapiro, New Zealand VIDEO HERE
Some of the best GP Hydroplane drivers in the World lined up today for the final race in the 2012 UIM World GP Hydroplane Championship. The race was held on Lake Karapiro in New Zealand, and featured seven boats, five from New Zealand and two overseas visitors; Renegade from the USA and GP1 from Australia. Among them one of New Zealand's most successful raceboats, 'The Boss' originally raced to victory by Peter Knight made an appearance, this year driven by american J. Michael Kelly who flew in for the event.
GP Hydroplanes are a unique UIM recognized class of hydroplane. Powered by 510ci supercharged or turbocharged engines they can reach speeds of up to 180 mph, and are the world's fastest automotive circuit race boats. The engines rev between about 8 and 8 and a half thousand revs, producing about 1600hp. The hulls are mainly constructed of carbon and kevlar, making them immensely light while maintaining immense strength.
The boats competed in four races over the weekend, two heats on Saturday and one on Sunday with the final race held at on Sunday afternoon.
As the final got underway, it was the Australian boat 'GP1' driven by Grant Harrison in pole position that hugged the buoy at the first corner. Followed closely by Marty Wolfe in his boat Renegade from the USA who had to take a wider line at the first turn, Harrison was able to accelerate down past the crowds in the stands and extend his lead. Warwick Lupton, though up with the leaders at the first corner took a wider line and lost valuable time.
Harrison was able to hold on to the lead into the second turn and accelerated away to win the 2012 GP World Championship.
With second place going to Wolfe, the kiwis were left fighting for third place which was taken by 'Fair Warning' raced by Scott Coker.
NZ's Warwick Lupton defended the UIM GP World Championship that he won on Victoria's Lake Yarrawonga in November 2010 in his boat Annihilator. Racing this year in his new Annihilator boat, he lined up alongside other members of the Lupton extended family in the other Annihilator boats, but on this occasion they were unable to make an impact on the field - one could almost say they were annihilated!
The teams line up again at Karapiro on the 3rd and 4th March to compete for the E.C. Griffiths Cup. Currently held by Scott Coker in 'Fair Warning' this is one of the oldest sporting trophies in the world, originally raced in 1910.