Team Abu Dhabi's Rashed Al Qemzi was in brilliant form before his exit from qualifying
Team Abu Dhabi's Rashed Al Qemzi was in brilliant form before his exit from qualifying Image Credit: Supplied

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi faces an anxious wait overnight before launching his bid for a third UIM F2 World Championship title in Tuesday’s Grand Prix of Lithuania.

Al Qemzi looked in brilliant form as he dominated free practice in Kupiskis, but then unluckily went out of the first of three qualifying sessions following a collision with Swede Johan Osterberg.

The 2017 and 2019 F2 world champion was unhurt, but must now count on the Team Abu Dhabi technicians working flat out to repair his boat in time for the Emirati to start the opening race of the season tomorrow.

While a day that had started so brightly for the 2017 and 2019 world champion ended in disappointment, teammate Mansoor Al Mansoori qualified in fifth place on his Team Abu Dhabi debut.

Seventh fastest in free practice, he shrugged off the shock of seeing Al Qemzi’s early departure from qualifying to set the second fastest time behind Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas in the opening session.

Third quickest behind Swede Daniel Segenmark in session two, Al Mansoori will now hope to start his first Grand Prix in Team Abu Dhabi colours alongside Al Qemzi, the driver he succeeded as F4-S world champion in 2017.

Al Qemzi was completely blameless for the crash in qualifying, and race officials were examining video footage of the incident before deciding whether Osterberg was at fault.

“I’m not sure what caused the accident, but now my hope is that I’ll be able to start the race tomorrow,” said Al Qemzi, who won in Lithuania on his way to both his world titles.

A late surge in the final qualifying session saw Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko claim pole position ahead of Team Sharjah’s Dutch driver Ferdinand Zandbergen and Portugal’s reigning world champion Duarte Benavente.