Duarte’s Douro Dream

When a round of any world championship is played out in your home country and you are the only driver representing it, then finding yourself under pressure to deliver results, especially if you have a racing pedigree that’s seen you win many titles both at national and international level, will often be the case.

So with the concluding round of the 2017 UIM F2 World Championship, taking place in Ribadouro, in the Baião region of Portugal, all eyes naturally will be on Duarte Benavente, to many their local hero in the world of powerboat racing, expecting to see a good result.

This weekend I’m actually here to enjoy myself” said the highly likable Benavente, “I couldn’t do the whole championship like I had originally planned, so there really is no pressure for me to deliver a race winning performance.

It’s fair to say this season hasn’t been the dream one he had set his heart on. A combination of family related issues and technical problems has blighted 2017 but he remains very upbeat about racing.

When I’m out in the boat I enjoy every minute, I consider it a privilege to race.

As to the venue, well he has some fond memories of racing in Ribadouro stretching back to 1989 when he raced Formula 4.

Back in 1996 we had forty-six entries for the S850 World Championship; every guest house for miles around was full of racers. Sure it’s a lot easier now we have the beautiful Douro Royal Valley Hotel and Spa complex taking care of the F2 race team’s needs. In the past I was crowned the F2 European Champion here, so I will know that amazing feeling the winner will get when they are on the top step of the podium come Sunday night.

Before we reach that point and crown the 2017 UIM F2 World Champion the Official Opening Ceremony will be taking place at 09:15 on Saturday morning, followed by Free Practice from 11:15. Qualifying Q1-Q2-Q3 sessions start at 15:30 and hopefully by 17:00 we will have a better idea of who out of six drivers all with a chance of taking the title will have that added advantage of starting from pole position.

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