Emirati has dominated championship from the start and is targeting second world crown of the season
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi has the chance to clinch the UIM F2 World Championship title with one round to spare at the Grand Prix of Portugal this weekend.
The 2017 champion heads into the penultimate round of the 2019 series holding a commanding 30 points advantage over Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen following victories in Lithuania and Italy and a second place in Norway.
“I have a big lead and I’m relaxed, but I will push hard again because I want to win, said Al Qemzi. “I won in Portugal last year and I love the circuit in Ribadouro.”
With the final round to follow in Abu Dhabi on December 5-7, Zandbergen, Portugal’s Duarte Benavente, German Stefan Hagin and Swedish pair Ola Pettersson Daniel Segenmark each have a mathematical chance of overhauling Al Qemzi.
But the Emirati driver, whose dominance of the series so far has been underlined by three successive pole positions, will secure his second F2 world crown in three years with a podium finish on the Douro River in Ribadouro on Sunday.
Depending on other individual fortunes, he may not need a top three result to become champion again, although Al Qemzi will be targeting a third Grand Prix race victory in a season which has already seen him complete one world powerboat championship triumph.
He was part of the four-man Team Abu Dhabi crew who landed the world endurance title in Poland in July, and another member of that quartet, Rashed Al Tayer, will be aiming for a podium finish in Portugal after a series of misfortunes this season.
His run of bad luck continued in the Grand Prix of Italy last month where he went out after suffering engine problems and then hitting a race buoy.
The F2 boats take to water at 11.15am local time on Saturday for a two-hour free practice session ahead of qualifying getting underway at 3pm. The Grand Prix of Portugal starts at 3.45pm on Sunday.
UIM F2 World Championship standings
- Rashed Al Qemzi (UAE) 55pts
- Ferdinand Zandbergen (NL)25
- Duarte Benavente (POR) 23
- Ola Pettersson (SWE)22
- Stefan Hagin (GER)20
- Daniel Segenmark (SWE)20
- Bimba Sjöholm (SWE) 12
- Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) 11
- Brent Dillard (USA) 9
- Owen Jelf (GB)9