The Armada, which musters the most beautiful boats in the world every four, five or six years on the quays of the Seine, is well known in Rouen. It is also the case for the light show, the Cathedral of Light, on the facade of the cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen. According to a famous polling institute, in France, the 24 Hours of Rouen powerboat race come just behind the Light Show in the classification of the best-known events in Rouen. Team manager Philippe Dessertenne has just won the 55th race with his team Nollet which, this year, joined forces with Russian outfit, New Star. Now it’s time to focus on the start of a new campaign in the F1 H2O World Championship!
In Endurance, S2 is the new blue-riband category whose 6-cylinder direct injection onto the piston head 2-stroke engines push out 250 bhp giving a top speed of 200 km/h. “During a race like the Rouen 24 Hours, it’s pretty common to see teams having mechanical problems” says Dessertenne, former driver and winner of the event who also has three bronze medals in F1 H2O to his name. “We gain an advantage due to the quality of Motul’s products. For example, they help limit the wear of the admission air inlet reed valves, which avoids interventions that cost us time.”
The start of the race was delayed because of rain, strong winds and a few snowflakes. It was supposed to begin on Monday 30th April at 10:00, but not until 17:00 were the boats finally unleashed. The race was marked by numerous incidents. The no. 1 Team Nollet boat powered by New Star and driven by Chiappe, Morin, Morin and Ustinov hit a tree trunk (!) shortly before the race was halted for the night when it held a comfortable lead. “We lost two hours and taking into account other glitches in the morning our fifth place isn’t too bad in the context of the forthcoming world endurance championship final event,” pointed out Dessertenne.
The team’s other entry with Russians Vandyshev, Vandyshev, Paniushkin and Malkin at the helm won the race. “They came along with their equipment and we brought them our expertise by optimising race strategy, in particular. They also took advantage of our mechanics’ skills for quick, pertinent interventions.”
Next up is the Portuguese Grand Prix, the first round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship. For this programme in the blue-riband category of speed boat inshore racing it’s time to talk about CTIC F1 Shenzhen China, as the La Rochelle-based team can count on Chinese partners. The boats are more powerful than those racing in endurance although they are also powered by 6-cylinder 2-stroke engines, but these develop 400 bhp to achieve a top speed of 230 km/h.
“We’re going to go back to our 2016 hulls (the year when Philippe Chiappe won his third title). For the engines we’ve counted on a Canadian, Alex Hledin, for several years. Although he’s a dentist by profession his talents as an engine tuner for powerboats are recognised all over the world! Our mechanics cross the Atlantic and when they come back we start assembling the boats and begin running-in. We’re in the process of organising a technology transfer between Canada and France, as we’ll soon have our own dyno.” Rendezvous in Portimao from 18th to 20th May.
Motul is an official partner of the Rouen 24 Hours and technically supports Team Nollet in the most famous endurance race for powerboats and in the UIM Endurance World Championship. CTIC F1 Shenzhen China is also Motul’s technical partner in the F1 H2O UIM World Championship.