Emirati pair head for Grand Prix of Italy aiming for podium double
Rashed Al Qemzi says Team Abu Dhabi’s Italian connection can help him extend his lead in the UIM F2 World Championship in Brindisi this weekend.
The 2017 F2 champion heads into the Grand Prix of Italy holding a 14-point advantage over his nearest rival, Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen, in the race for this year’s world title, and the Emirati driver is determined to widen the gap.
Al Qemzi and team-mate Rashed Al Tayer are spending the next two days testing on Lake Maggiore in San Nazzaro, Italy under the guidance of Team Abu Dhabi manager, Guido Cappellini.
The Italian ten-times former F1H20 world champion wants to ensure both drivers and boats are in prime condition when they arrive in the Adriatic Sea port city of Brindisi for the third round of the championship.
“It’s a great opportunity to test and at the same time benefit from Guido’s huge experience,” said Al Qemzi, who followed up his opening round victory in Lithuania with second place in the Grand Prix of Norway earlier this month. “We should both be at our best at the weekend.”
While Germany’s Stefan Hagin scored his maiden series victory in Norway, Al Qemzi underlined his intent to reclaim the F2 world crown with a mature performance after claiming his second successive pole position.
Al Tayer, meanwhile, returns to action in Italy in a positive mood after winning the traditional Speed Run in Tønsberg and initially being credited with a Grand Prix of Norway podium finish.
Later falling to fifth place after being penalised for a lane infringement at the start, the experienced Emirati says: “I know I should have been on the podium and that’s the least I’m aiming at for the rest of the season.”
The action in Brindisi gets under way at 10am local time on Saturday with free practice, while the three-stage qualifying session starts at 4pm.
Following the repechage beginning at 10.45am on Sunday, the top 15 qualifiers begin their 45-minute warm up at 11.30am prior to the Grand Prix of Italy commencing at 6.30pm.
The Brindisi round is followed by the Grand Prix of Portugal in Ribadouro on September 13-15, with the championship concluding in Abu Dhabi on December 5-7.
UIM F2 World Championship standings
1. Rashed Al Qemzi (UAE) 35pts
2. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NL) 21pts
3. Stefan Hagin (GER) 20pts
4. Duarte Benavente (POR) 16pts
5. Daniel Segenmark (SWE) 15pts
6. Brent Dillard (USA) 9pts
7. Owen Jelf (GB) 8pts
8. Rashed Al Tayer (UAE) 7pts
9. Ola Pettersson (SWE) 7pts
10. Héctor Sanz (SPA) 5pts