Dubai: Teams from the UAE will have their task cut out as they head for the Grand Prix of Portugal — Round Four on the 2018 UIM F2 World Championship on the Douro River in Ribadouro, Portugal this weekend.
With neither of the two Victory Team drivers managing to opening their accounts, it will be down to Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Tayer and Rashid Al Qamzi to try and put themselves within striking distance of top honours when the racers head to the final round to Colombo for the Grand Prix of Sri Lanka at the end of November.
Team Abu Dhabi’s defending champion Al Qamzi — who won the world crown in his debut appearance last season — has been lying in eighth overall with nine points to his credit. But his racing partner Rashid Al Tayer is in sixth with 12 points after Konstantin Ustinov had been disqualified post-race at the Grand Prix of Norway in Tonsberg in the first week of August.
But it has been smooth sailing for Italian driver Alberto Comparato as he has come out flawless so far with two wins in Lithuania and Norway for a maximum 40 points. He is followed by Norwegian Tobias Munthe-Kaas in second with 22 points while Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko (15 points) and American Brent Dillard (14) are in third and fourth places, respectively.
Al Tayer was handed third position moving the Team Abu Dhabi racer into equal fifth position alongside Germany’s Stefan Hagin. With a maximum 40 points still on offer in the next two rounds in Portugal and Sri Lanka, much would depend on this weekend’s results.
“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,” Al Qamzi said.
“The entry in F2 is strong this season and there are a lot of drivers. Qualifying is very important to give us a better chance in the race itself,” he added.
Racing will take place on a five-pin, 1.765km race course with technical scrutineering taking place on Friday (September 14) followed by free practice from 11.15am (2.15pm UAE) on Saturday. The three-tiered qualifying session will start from 3.30pm (6.30pm UAE).
On Sunday, drivers will be allowed a warm-up practice session at 10am (1pm UAE) followed by the Repecharge race for slowest qualifiers at 11.15am and the Grand Prix of Portugal starting off at 3.45pm (6.45pm UAE).