After the fascinating battle last weekend in Tvedestrand for the 2022 UIM 3D World Championship the action has now moved one hundred kilometres north to Larvik, Norway and the Event Director, Lars Inge Graver, and his team at the Outboardklubben were delighted to see that Pål Virik Nilsen is on the entry list.
As well as being the ‘main man’ behind the race Inge Graver has since 1998 managed Virik Nilsen racing activities. When PRW spoke to him today he had this to say.
I’m really happy to see him racing here as we recently spoke about what race he should do next, as his options this year are limited with so few events on the calendar. It’s extra special for me to have him here as I know full well what he’s capable of.
Virik Nilsen will sit alongside Erik Sundblad Johansen in the Rashed Al Merri built catamaran sponsored by Energima Gruppen AS who specialise in finding solutions for ventilation and cooling systems for commercial buildings.
Sundblad Johansen was delighted to have Virik Nilsen onboard.
We have only been testing together for a short while but already I can feel he has a lot of experience with this kind of boat, it’s like it’s in his DNA. We know that the boat has the speed and I know he can get the best out of it, so I’m really excited to have him in the cockpit with me.
For the highly experienced Virik Nilsen, who only lives five minutes from the racecourse, he is really relishing the opportunity of getting back out on the water.
I have been around these water on several occasions but only in a pleasure boat as there has never been an offshore race here in Larvik before. So technically it’s my ‘home race’ but that’s no real advantage.
His first impressions from testing were that this catamaran takes the corners totally different from what he is more used to in an XCat hull.
This boat actually feels similar to a Twister catamaran I had where you needed to keep the speed up in the turns by drifting it around the buoys. In an XCat you can almost pin the turn marks like a circuit boat. Just to be out in a raceboat is so positive plus I have the added bonus of supporting my manager here in Norway. Erik is so calm and precise with his driving that I know we can have a great working relationship together.
As Virik Nilsen climbed in the cockpit his presence in the pits did not go unnoticed by the Italian crews. Serafino Barlesi, who currently leads the UIM 3D World Championship title race was quick to praise the Norwegian.
I have seen him in XCat and Class 1 he’s an exceptionally good pilot, the perfect choice.
When PRW pressed him about his race strategy for the final two championship races here in Larvik he said
Of course, for me usually we take it one race at a time, but I will always go into every race looking to win it. I hope it’s rough on Thursday so we can see what the opposition are made of.
Photos: Chris Davies/PRW