Italy’s Abbate pinches pole from nephew

Today saw the beginning of the battle to become 2024 UIM F2 World Champion as 18 drivers fought through rough conditions to determine their position in the Grand Prix of Italy’s race.

The day started with the opportunity for the drivers to blow away the winter cobwebs and really test their boats in the windy conditions as they took to the water for a 90minute free practice.

Fastest lap of the session went to Monégasque Driver Giacomo Sacchi-Abbate but he knew he still had work to do during the afternoons Qualifying as his fastest lap came with just a few boats on the water.

With the drivers having gotten used to the conditions we headed into the afternoons Qualification sessions.

Q1 would see all 18 boats contest for a place in the top 15 boats to make their way through to Q2. 20minutes of taxing conditions saw the teams battle with each other all looking for that perfect lap.

One driver that was flying was Sweden’s Mathilda Wiberg she was throwing her boat into the corners and really making the most of the conditions that really suited her skill set. She topped the group and led the way into Q2 ahead of Giacomo Sacchi-Abbate and Portugal’s Duarte Benavente.

Finland’s Totti Kemppainen, Lithuania’s Egidijus Dagilis and Slovakia’s Peter Žák didn’t make the cut and will start in 16th, 17th and 18th on the grid tomorrow respectively.

15 minutes of intense pressure unfolded with each driver looking for the perfect lap in testing conditions. By lap three Giacomo had set an unbeatable time and sealed the first place into the top six boats. Wiberg was also untouchable half way through the session and also sealed her place in Q3. They were joined by Italy’s David Del Pin and Tullio Abbate, Duarte Benavente and British racer Matthew Palfreyman who was putting in a powerful performance.

With the top six set to battle it out for Pole position there were several notable absences including that of reigning Champion Rashed Al Qemzi who qualified in 8th place and will have a fight on his hands to make his way through the fleet during the Grand Prix Race tomorrow.

Portugal’s Duarte Benavente suffered a Battery failure that meant he would watch the 15 minute session from the dock and take the 6th place on the Grand Prix starting grid.

The remaining 5 drivers all jostled for position with the fight for pole intensifying with every lap. Giacomo held the lead for the majority of the session and looked set to secure the first Pole Position of the season until on the very last lap of the session as the seconds dwindled away Italy’s Tullio Abbate put in the perfect lap to steal Pole from his nephew.

On securing Pole position Tullio Abbate had this to say “ It’s amazing we have worked very hard for this race. The conditions really suited me and my boat and I’ve used that to my full advantage. I have so many people to thank for helping me get here. Tomorrow we fight for the Grand Prix Win.”

Sunday will see the driver s complete a warm up session before the Grand Prix of Italy gets underway with the Parade Lap at 18.00 local time.