Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Qamzi launched his bid to regain the UIM F2 World Championship title after he was declared winner for the second time in Kaunas at the Lithuania Grand Prix, Round One of the 2019 UIM F2 World Championship, on Sunday.
Winner of the race when he went on to be crowned F2 world champion for the first time in 2017, Al Qamzi had ended second behind Tobias Munthe-Kaas. However, the Norwegian race leader was slapped with a one-lap penalty pushing Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Qamzi onto the top of the podium for the second time in Kaunas.
On a day when gusty winds made racing a challenge, the 45-lap race experienced its fair share of drama with pole-sitter Al Qamzi failing to get off to a quick start. In the bargain, Germany’s Stefan Hagin and Munthe-Kaas grabbed the opportunity and went clear at the top of the field. But, the Team Abu Dhabi driver gamely kept his pursuit of the top two till the yellow flag came out for the first time on Lap 26.
And when the re-grouping did happen after nearly ten laps on Lap 35, there was more drama as leader Hagin stopped dead in his tracks paving the way for Munthe-Kaas to go clear and hold on to finish that way, while Al Qamzi came in second and Sharjah Team’s Ferdinand Zandbergen completed the podium spots.
However, as it transpired the winner from Norway had to serve out a one-lap penalty that handed over the win to Al Qamzi for a perfect start to the season. “My boat didn’t get the quickest of starts,” Al Qamzi later related.
“But the aim was always to aim for the top spot and I am glad that we were able to keep the pressure and be competitive till the end. The team has been fantastic so far and I am sure they will continue pushing me towards a second world title,” he added.