The finale of the 2023 UIM F2 World Championship got underway today in Vila Velha De Ródão, Portugal. 15 of the World’s top Powerboat Racers representing 10 nationalities made the journey to the picturesque village on the River Targa for the pinnacle event of the season.
During the morning’s 90minute free practice session the drivers used the time to dial their boats in to the course and get used to the conditions ahead of the afternoons qualification sessions.
Newly crowned Rashed Al Qemzi wasn’t resting on his laurels and set the fastest lap time during the session. With Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas in second and Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al Mansoori in 3rd.
With the boats all performing attentions quickly turned to Qualifying and with Just 15 boats Q1 was dropped and Q2 would see all boats compete for 30 minutes.
It was Portugal’s Duarte Benavente that would claim the first spot in the top 6 setting the fastest time in the 30minute session closely followed by Rashed Al Qemzi and rookie racer Mathilda Wiberg taking the third spot ahead of Mansoor Al Mansoori, Stefan Arand and Edgaras Riabko. Tobias Munthe-Kaas put in a flying lap which would have propelled him into the top 6 but unfortunately started the lap after the the chequered flag had been raised for the session.
With 0.8 of a second separating the top 6 the next 15minutes were going to be a hotly contested affair.
Portugal’s Duarte Benavente showed his prowess on home water and was quickly knocking seconds off his lap times but it was the reigning World Champion that would claim the final Pole Position of the season. With Edgaras Riabko taking the second place on the grid ahead of the Local racer in third.
On securing the final pole position of the season Rashed Al Qemzi had this to say “I’d done enough to secure Pole position and then Edgaras put in a fantastic lap so to make sure I claimed Pole position my Radioman told me my last lap had to be perfect.”
He continued “He told me to go for it so I increased my speed and managed to secure the Pole position by 0.005 of a second. I’d like to wish all the racers especially those fighting for World Ilver and Bronze a safe and successful race tomorrow.”
Attentions now turn to the Final Grand Prix of the F2 Season tomorrow as we Crown our World Champion and also find out who will claim the Grand Prix Podium top spot.