Emirati dominates from start to finish in Brindisi to open up big championship lead
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi has taken a major step towards a second UIM F2 World Championship title after an emphatic victory in the Grand Prix of Italy.
The 2017 champion extended his lead in this year’s series to 30 points over Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen with a commanding performance in Brindisi where he dominated proceedings over two days.
Al Qemzi will now aim to clinch the world title during the Grand Prix of Portugal in Ribadouro on September 13-15, although he could be kept waiting until the final round in Abu Dhabi on December 5-7.
The Emirati driver followed up his opening round victory in Lithuania and second place in Norway with another impressive performance in Italy where he looked to be in control from the official practice session when he set the pace.
Al Qemzi then secured his third successive pole position in qualifying and went on to claim his second Grand Prix victory of the season, shrugging off a yellow flag re-start to win by almost four seconds from Sweden’s Ola Pettersson.
“After the yellow flag my adrenalin was flowing as the pressure was back on me, especially as this was a very short circuit,” said Al Qemzi. “But I regained the lead and felt comfortable after that and just focused on staying ahead.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer, who had been hoping for a change in fortunes after qualifying in seventh place, went out after suffering engine problems and then hitting a race buoy.
“The circuit was really too crowded for a circuit just 1650 metres long,” said Al Tayer. “Nobody can reach a good speed when it’s like that and the race should be limited to 15 boats.”
Grand Prix of Italy results:
1. Rashed Al Qemzi UAE 48:43:82
2. Ola Pettersson SWE 48:47:41
3. Bimba Sjöholm SWE 48:48:16
4. Tobias Munthe-Kaas NOR 48:52:57
5. Duarte Benavente POR 48:53:60
6. Daniel Segenmark SWE 48:56:63
7. Ferdinand Zandbergen NL 48:58:32
8. Mette Bjerknæs NOR 49:00:13
9. Johan Österberg SWE 49:07:10
10. Owen Jelf GBR 49:07:32
UIM F2 World Championship standings
1. Rashed Al Qemzi (UAE) 55pts
2. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NL) 25
3. Duarte Benavente (POR) 23
4. Ola Pettersson (SWE) 22
5. Stefan Hagin (GER) 20
6. Daniel Segenmark (SWE) 20
7. Bimba Sjöholm (SWE) 12
8. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) 11
9. Brent Dillard (USA) 9
10. Owen Jelf (GB) 9