Abu Dhabi: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Qamzi says he feels no pressure in the battle to become a four-time winner of the UIM F2 World Championship as another tough assignment approaches in the Grand Prix of Italy at the weekend.
The Emirati’s recent opening round victory in Lithuania, giving him an immediate five-point championship lead, was achieved in particularly difficult race conditions, as he launched a brand new boat into action for the first time, and faced a formidable line-up of challengers.
With Estonia’s Stefan Arand, Monaco’s Giacomo Sacchi and British driver Colin Jelf among the hunting pack in Italy, and back-to-back Grand Prix weekends to follow in Portugal later this month, Al Qamzi is taking everything in his stride.
“The championship is very competitive this year, but I don’t feel any nerves,” said the 2017, 2019, and 2021 F2 champion, who is aiming to extend the sequence to join Sweden’s Erik Stark as a four-time title winner. “The aim is for another win, and we’ll see how it goes.”
“The conditions in Lithuania were very difficult, with big rollers and the weather changing, and we had to make some weight adjustments to the boat. But in the end it was running perfectly, and for Italy we’ll just be concentrating on selecting the right propellers.”
Prior to Friday’s free practice in San Nazzaro, Al Qamzi and teammate Mansoor Al Mansoori will spend two days testing under the guidance of Team Abu Dhabi manager, Guido Cappellini.
The experience and local knowledge of ten-time F1H2O champion Cappellini will play a big part in helping to keep Al Qamzi on course for another world crown, and in driving Al Mansoori to put behind him a big disappointment in Lithuania.
The Emirati was holding third place before he overturned on the 28th of 35 laps to lose a podium finish, and wants to recover immediately to revive his own championship hopes following last year’s third place finish. “Mansoor was going really well until the accident happened when he was under pressure, and he has put that behind him,” said Al Qamzi. “We work very well together, and we’ll be helping each other as usual in Italy.”
2023 UIM F2 World Championship leading positions
1. Rashid Al Qamzi (UAE) 20pts
2. Stefan Arand (EST) 15
3. Giacomo Sacchi (MON) 12
4. Colin Jelf (GBR) 9
5. Samuel Lucas (AUS) 9
6. Mette Bjerknæs (GBR) 5
7. Johan Österberg (SWE) 4
8. Mathilda Wiberg (SWE) 3
9. Dainis Podžuks (LAT) 2
10. Edgaras Riabko (LTU) 1