Ribadouro, Portugal: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Rashed Al Qemzi will need to call upon all their resolve and determination if they are to leap back into contention for the UIM F2 World Championship at the penultimate round on the Douro River in Ribadouro, Portugal, this weekend.
Al Qemzi triumphed in the series last season at his first attempt but it has not been plain sailing for the Emirati duo racing out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) so far this year.
Following Konstantin Ustinov’s post-race disqualification in Norway last month, Al Tayer was handed third position and that has moved the versatile all-rounder into equal fifth position in the points’ standings with Germany’s Stefan Hagin, but the duo trail series leader Alberto Comparato by 28 points with a maximum 40 still available to the winners of the races in Portugal and Sri Lanka at the end of November.
Al Qemzi crashed out of the Norwegian race after running well in qualifying and the defending champion currently languishes in eighth position in the championship with nine points.
He needs to win both remaining races to stand a chance of regaining the title. Series leader Comparato, on the other hand, has taken two wins so far this season in Lithuania and Norway and has a maximum 40 points — round two in Denmark was cancelled because of adverse weather conditions.
The Italian’s closest challenger is currently Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas on 22 points. Kaunas race runner-up Edgaras Riabko is third on 15 points and American Brent Dillard is fourth, two points ahead of Hagin and Al Tayer, after finishing sixth and fourth in the opening two races.
“We know it will not be easy to regain the points and challenge for the title now, but it is still possible and we will remain focused and determined to try and win the race in Portugal,” said Al Qemzi adding that the entry in F2 is strong this season and there are a lot of drivers. Qualifying is very important to give you a better chance in the race itself.”
Racing will take place on a five-pin, 1.765km race course. Technical scrutineering and administration will take place on Friday September 14 and free practice will be permitted on the course between 11.15hrs and 12.45hrs on Saturday, September 15. The three qualifying sessions start at 15.30hrs.