Powerboating: Hunt holds off the men to take title in debut campaign

Britain's Jackie Hunt eclipsed her male rivals to take the P1 World Championship SuperSport title yesterday. Hunt, the only female driver in the series, sealed a remarkable success in her debut season with fifth place in the second race of the Portuguese Grand Prix at Cascais.

The 37-year-old from Hampshire, navigated in the Arpro Racing Dragon by her husband, Mike Shelton, said: "Thank God it's all over! The tension this weekend has been almost unbearable. I'm exhausted, I'm battered and bruised - but it's a wonderful feeling. We knew what we had to do and we've done it. Now we can celebrate.''

A season of ever-shifting fortunes tilted Hunt's way in Saturday's first leg of the grand prix, when she claimed a commanding victory and her rivals, Ocean Dragon, were forced to retire. Hunt took a 70-point lead into the final race, and then backed off when Ocean Dragon ran into more problems and again had to pull out.

"It's been an amazing season and I can hardly believe what's happened,'' Hunt added. "We had a good start to the year, but then we had all sorts of difficulties and effectively lost four races. It seemed as though it was getting away from us. But we never gave in. If anything, we became even more determined.

"The Ocean Dragon boys gave us a hell of a fight and we had to dig deep to come back. That's just what we've done.''

The Ocean Dragon owner Martin Lai, who went into the last grand prix leading by 30 points, said: "We've been unlucky with all the problems we've had and it's a pity we couldn't fight Jackie here. But that's racing - we'll be back.''

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