It’s still step by step for Team Abu Dhabi driver after extending his championship lead in Norway
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi has put himself in a powerful position to claim the UIM F2 World Championship for the second time in three years after a composed performance as some of his rivals faltered in the Grand Prix of Norway.
While Germany’s Stefan Hagin took the honours with his first F2 victory, the major outcome from a dramatic Tønsberg race weekend is that Al Qemzi has increased his championship lead from five to 14 points and carries great momentum forward to Italy later this month.
The third round of the series in Brindisi on August 24-25 is followed by the Grand Prix of Portugal in Ribadouro on September 14-15, and on current form Al Qemzi could have the F2 world title wrapped up before the final round on home waters in Abu Dhabi on December 6-7.
There will be no diversion, however, from Team Abu Dhabi’s methodical approach to Grand Prix competition, which is not only to take races one at a time but also to focus step by step on all the elements making up each individual championship weekend.
“The team works hard and prepares hard for every race,” said Al Qemzi. “When we arrived in Norway our aim was to be at the highest level in everything we did, and it’s the same with every Grand Prix. We work as a team to get the best results one step at a time.”
Al Qemzi’s championship position was strengthened in Tønsberg by the disqualification of two of his main rivals, Sweden’s Daniel Segenmark and Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas, for infringements after missing turn marks.
Team Abu Dhabi initially had both drivers on the podium in Tønsberg after Rashed Al Tayer, who had qualified in seventh place, rose to third at the finish.
This followed his strong performance in winning the traditional Speed Run which launched race activities in Tønsberg, but disappointingly Al Tayer later dropped to fifth after being penalised for a lane infringement at the start.
Al Qemzi, the first round winner in Lithuania, secured his second successive pole position in impressive style but then had his own problems at the start of the Grand Prix as his engine spluttered, briefly dropping him behind most of the other 17 boats. But by the end of the first lap he had climbed to second position and over the next 44 laps made sure Hagin had to fight all the way to secure his maiden victory.
Grand Prix of Norway leading positions
- Stefan Hagin (GER) 00:36:27:43
- Rashed Al Qemzi (UAE) 00:36:28:74
- Duarte Benavente (POR) 00:37:00:33
- Ferdinand Zandbergen (NL) 00:37:09:71
- Rashed Al Tayer (UAE) 00:36:57:99
- Héctor Sanz (SPA) 00:36:37:61
UIM F2 World Championship standings
- Rashed Al Qemzi (UAE) 35pts
- Ferdinand Zandbergen (NL) 21pts
- Stefan Hagin (GER) 20pts
- Duarte Benavente (POR) 16pts
- Daniel Segenmark (SWE) 15pts
- Brent Dillard (USA) 9pts
- Owen Jelf (GB) 8pts
- Rashed Al Tayer (UAE) 7pts
- Ola Pettersson (SWE) 7pts
- Héctor Sanz (SPA) 5pts