23 March 2024

Saturday, March 23: Frenchman Jeremy Perez, Estonia’s Jasmiin Ypraus, Austria’s Kevin Reiterer and Emirati Rashid Al-Mulla claimed pole positions in the Runabout GP1, Ski Division GP1, Ski Ladies GP1 and Freestyle categories for the Grand Prix of Bình Định-Vietnam in sweltering temperatures in Quy Nhon on Saturday morning.


Thirty-seven-year-old Perez is the owner of a jet ski rental company. The Runabout GP1 pole position winner and Marignane-based racer said: “I am very happy. It was not easy, only one lap but the track is very good. It will be an exciting race this afternoon. Now we have to confirm on the Moto 1 and Moto 2.”


Tallinn-based Ypraus, who headed the Ski Ladies GP1 contingent, said: “Pole position is over. I won the first and second Q. The first one was perfect and I found a good rhythm. The second one, I tried to find my limits and went to swim twice. That was not ideal but at least we got a good time. The conditions out there are quite wavey to be honest. I wasn’t expecting that but it makes it fun for all of us.”


Ski Division GP1 pole sitter Reiterer said: “The pole position was good. It was very important to get a good lap out when there is no-one in front of you and you don’t have a lot of waves. The track is really fast and challenging. So, this was the main thing. I got a good condition lap in and I am happy coming out in P1.”


Perez snatches Runabout GP1 pole; Slalom pole for Samuel Johansson


Samuel Johansson posted the target time of 28.846sec and that was sufficient for the Swede to stay ahead of Dane Marcus Jorgensen, Jeremy Perez, Gyorgy Kasza and François Medori in Parallel Slalom qualifying in the Runabout GP1 category. Rasmus Koch Hansen is in his seventh year of racing and the ski’s new engine served the Dane well.  He qualified in seventh behind Martin Doulik.


Logistical issues forced Anthony Radetic to sit out race weekend. The American summed up the importance of qualifying. He said: “Qualifying is everything. If you get pole position and the top five and take the green buoy that everyone wants, you get the open water. You try to go as fast as you can…”


Half of the Runabout GP1 field would be eliminated in Q1. Jorgensen secured his place in Q2 with a stunning run of 1min 58.657sec run but was soon displaced by Medori with a faster run of 1min 57.653sec that secured Q1 glory. Gyorgy Kasza, Perez and Koch Hansen finished third, fourth and fifth with Samuel Johansson rounding off the top six.


Jun Ikoma was towed off the course with mechanical issues, while Mario Lamy, Johan Johansson and Linus Lindberg were among the other nine riders to miss out on Q2.


The first laps posted in Q2 in calmer water would be crucial and Kasza set the target time of 1min 56.267sec that would eventually net him sixth place. Seconds later, Perez (1min 52.951sec), Medori, Jorgensen and Koch Hansen ran quicker and held their positions to the finish of the session. Samuel Johansson and Doulik qualified in sixth and seventh with Lino Araújo, Ruben Riquelme and Yordan Nikolov rounding off the top 10.


Ypraus claims Grand Prix and Slalom pole double


The 11 Ski Ladies GP1 contenders carried out qualifying for the Parallel Slalom before pole position for the weekend’s three Motos. The fastest four went through to the evening’s entertainment and Jasmiin Ypraus (33.257sec), Sofie Borgström (34.501sec), Benedicte Drange (34.516sec) and Emma-Nellie Ortendahl (35.357sec) filled the top four positions. Jessica Chavanne lost her chance to qualify for the slalom after falling off her ski at turn five.


Pole for the first of the Motos followed immediately and Ypraus hit the front on her second lap with a 1min 55.163sec run from Chavanne (1min 57.152sec) and Ortendahl (1min 58.134sec). Estelle Poret slotted into fourth and Drange and Borgström held fifth and sixth. Monaco’s Lisa Caussin Battaglia missed out on Q2 by finishing 11th.


The 10-minute Q2 stint would decide pole position for the afternoon’s opening Moto. Ypraus laid down the gauntlet with a 1min 55.719sec and arch rival Chavanne slotted into second with a 1min 55.951sec run.


Ortendahl, Poret and Drange qualified in third, fourth and fifth. Ypraus fell off her ski on two occasions but her fastest lap remained unbeaten and the Estonian snatched pole from Chavanne. American racer River Varner started Q2 at the end of the session in a bid to put in a late fast lap but she came off her ski and failed to record a time.


A mortified Ortendahl was later disqualified by race officials for failing to report to technical control and Poret and Drange duly moved up to third and fourth with Borgström climbing to fifth. Estelle Poret duly replaced the Swede in the top four for the evening’s Parallel Slalom. The Swedish racer has appealed against the decision.


Ski Division GP1 pole for Reiterer; Slalom pole for Mads Koch Hansen


Parallel Slalom qualifying preceded pole position in Ski Division GP1 and the Poret brothers, Mickael and Morgan, posted the target times of 33.554sec and 33.907sec, respectively. Swiss rider Alec Enderli was able to split the two French brothers with a run of 33.692sec and then Mads Koch Hansen stormed to the top of the rankings with a time of 33.252sec. Kevin Reiterer didn’t post a time as the session finished with Koch Hansen on pole from Mickael Poret, Enderli and Morgan Poret.


The 15-minute Q1 session eliminated 11 of the 21 entrants. Quinten Bossche secured his place in Q2 with the gauntlet time of 1min 54.862sec and both Mickael Poret and Kevin Reiterer slotted into second and third with nine minutes on the clock. Morgan Poret, Oliver Koch Hansen and Toshi Ohara finished fifth, sixth and seventh after Jeremy Poret moved into third near the end, but Enderli, Mads Koch Hansen and Andrea Guidi were among the 11 riders who failed to make Q2.


All eyes switched to Q2 and the 10-minute shoot-out for 10 boats for pole position. Kevin Reiterer fired his first salvo with a time of 1min 49.165sec to move ahead of Jeremy and Mickael Poret and Bossche.


Reiterer was able to stave off his rivals to snatch pole, although Bossche moved up to second place with a 1min 49.755sec tour that pushed Jeremy and Mickael Poret down to third and fourth. Morgan Poret qualified fifth ahead of Oliver Koch Hansen, Axel Courtois, Daniel Svae Andersen and Ohara. Frenchman Valentin Dardillat failed to start Q2.


Fourth-placed Mickael Poret said: “The track is very good. We had a big discussion with the riders and officials to make a good track and I am sure it will be a very nice fight in the afternoon. It is very tough physically and the weather is very hard.”


Al-Mulla on Freestyle pole


Team Abu Dhabi’s multiple World Champion Rashid Al-Mulla borrowed Paulo Nuñes’s boat for his turn on the water and delivered a solid performance to earn 86 points after another entertaining array of flips, spins and somersaults to entertain the crowds and live streamers on a hot and humid lunchtime in Vietnam.

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