Britain’s Matthew Palfreyman brings home Gold in Brindisi

The 2024 UIM F2 World Championship got off to a sensational start this weekend as 18 competitors representing 12 Nations battled it out in Brindisi.

The Adriatic Port creates the perfect amphitheatre for Powerboat Racing and created some really taxing conditions for the racers this weekend.

Italian Driver Tullio Abbate, had secured Pole Position during Saturday’s proceedings and looked favourite to win the 38 lap race. Favouring the rougher conditions he was confident heading into the Race.

One driver Abbate had to keep a close eye was nephew Giacomo Saachi-Abbate who would start the race side by side with uncle in second place on the grid and was hoping to beat him into the first turn.

As the sun began to set over the Italian Waters, the fleet of drivers powered away from the pontoon. Team crews and spectators watched with baited breath to see who would emerge from the spray in the lead and hoping that their drivers would all round the first turn cleanly.

Sacchi-Abbate was the first to clear the sea spray but British Driver Matthew Palfreyman was hot on his wake and heading into the bottom turn made his move to steal the lead.

Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas was fighting hard in 9th place when he flipped out and was the first driver to take an early bath.

Under the yellow flag, Sacchi-Abbate knew this would be his chance to get the jump on Palfreyman and regain the race lead and the move almost paid off as the race restarted they came out of the turn side by side but with Palfreyman having the inside line into the right hander, Sacchi-Abbate was forced back into second place.

Whilst a strong battle for third place ensued with Tullio Abbate, Mathilda Wiberg and Duarte Benavente all piling on the pressure looking for the third Podium spot.

Mathilda Wiberg had been flying all weekend and was really proving her pace in the fleet but disaster hit for the Swede at lap 20 when a throttle issue saw her forced to retire from the race.

With 10 laps remaining Palfreyman held a strong lead and looked safe to secure the first win of the season as he managed to keep Giacomo Sacchi-Abbate in his rear view mirrors. The race then abruptly ended for the Monégasque driver as he struck dirty water in the top turn and barrel rolled out of the race leaving his uncle Tullio to move up to second place.

Lap 34 saw the Green flag raised and Palfreyman once more powered away from the following pack.

Portugal’s Duarte Benavente and Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko had been battling throughout the whole 38 race lap when during the restart Edgaras managed to get the edge on Duarte to move himself up to third position.

As the chequered flag was dropped Palfreyman powered home to secure the first win of the season and personal best result for the British Powerboat Racer.

Following the race penalties were applied by Officials for infringements meaning applied Edgaras Riabko was promoted to the silver medal position and Portugal’s Duarte Benavente brought home the Bronze.

On a fantastic achievement for the British Racer Matthew had this to say

I think that’s the toughest race of my career and it’s all a little bit of a blur to be honest. Tullio and Giacomo seemed to have a problem at the bottom turn and I knew the boat was capable of it, so I made my move and it paid off.

He continued

I’d like to thank all my team and family for helping me win here this weekend, it’s a great result for the whole team and now we are ready for the fight to become World Champions. But for now it feels great to be bringing the Silverware home to Britain.

The UIM F2 World Championship will be fought out over six rounds of racing with the next event happening in Tonsberg as we head to the Grand Prix of Norway on the 1st – 4th August.