As the twenty-two drivers start to arrive in Augustów, Poland for the opening round of the UIM 2022 F2 World Championship, they were each warmly greeted by Zdzisław Sadowski, the President of AKS Sparta, who have organised the race.
We are glad to host such great drivers, such good teams in Augustów for the first time. I hope that it’s not for the last time. I hope all the drivers will like the organisation, Augustów city, the lake and circuit on which they will start. I wish them a safe race and a good sport rivalry, and I hope that all of them will have good moods on Sunday evening.
Amongst the first to arrive was the reigning British Formula Grand Prix (F2) Champion Sam Whittle.
It’s a fantastic venue for my first race in the world championship it’s almost too good to be true as it was only just three weeks ago that we decided to step up and race here. There some very experienced drivers here so, I know it’s going to be hard but hopefully I can get into the top fifteen and avoid the repêchage on Sunday morning. We know that boat is quick. The issue is going to be, I don’t have the experience and I want to take things very carefully.
Driving twenty-seven hours from his home in Sweden was the Molgaard ‘works driver’ Johan Osterberg, who actually raced here in Augustów some fifteen years ago in the Endurance World Championships.
That weekend didn’t go to plan as after just two laps the driver trusted with the opening stint flipped it over. We eventually got the boat back to the pits and patched it up but after that we just cruised around the course. I’m hoping not to repeat that again here this weekend. Like all the drivers in the pits we are just thankful to be able to race again after the last wo years of pandemic and now the crisis in the Ukraine.
With a seven-thousand-kilometre round trip Duarte Benavente knows all too well about life on the European road network, although these days he and his crew stop each night to relax and sleep.
We’ve been making these kind of trips for more than twenty years now, certainly back in my F4 days we were always on the road. With F1H2O its all containerised but now I am racing F2 I’m back in the van but’s it’s fun it’s the life we choose many years ago and that’s what we like to do in life, and I feel grateful to be still doing it. I have been looking forward to this weekend now for a long time. It’s the start of another new season with many new boats and even some new names driving them. I’ve been finishing on the podium in the last three years, second, first, second, so of course the goal is to fight for the top three positions in the championship but as I said many new boats many young drivers let’s see it’s the first race and for sure the talking will stop when we are out on the water.
The first opportunity for the fans to see the F2 competitors will be during a boat parade on Friday evening. This will see some of the competitors drive their raceboats along the Netta causeway passing the popular Nowa Szekla Tawerna & Bar on route to the town. It will be streamed live on the PRW FaceBook page. Then the following morning the F2 contenders will take to the water for Free Practice ahead of the three-stage qualifying in the afternoon.