World Champion Rashed rockets to another Grand Prix Win

The newly crowned 2023 UIM F2 World Champion Rashed Al Qemzi rocketed through the Grand Prix of Vila Velha De Ródão to another Grand prix win this weekend.

The final event of the season was hosted in the Village of Vila Velha De Ródão in Portugal and saw 15 of the World’s best drivers compete for the Grand Prix Crown.

Race day started with a warm up session that saw Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas set the fastest time of the weekend when he clocked a 44.963second lap. Following a 45 minute warm up session the teams were ready and it was onto the final race of the season in the Portuguese sunshine.

All 15 boats took to the start pontoon with Rashed Al Qemzi in the pivotal pole position ahead of Edgaras Riabko and Portugal’s Duarte Benavente on the grid.

As the lights went out for the start of the 44 lap Grand Prix, Rashed powered his way into the first turn and took the lead ahead of Duarte who had managed to get the jump on Edgaras into the first turn.

Throughout the fleet there were personal battles going on all around the course and the laps slowly started to elapse. Rashed pulled away from the chasing fleet and sitting comfortably in the lead.

Further down the grid fighting for 9th & 10th position were Tobias Munth-Kaas and Mette Bjerknes with Colin Jelf in 11th but piling on the pressure. Lap 33 rounding the bottom turn Mette saw a gap and went for it but a collision between the two saw Tobias barrel roll out of the race and Mette sustain damage to her boat and forced to retire from the race.

The race remained under yellow and was restarted on lap 38 when Colin Jelf managed to get the jump on Sweden’s Johan Osterberg and promote himself up to 8th place.

Sweden’s Mathilda Wiberg also barrel rolled out of the race and despite landing the correct way up was unable to continue in the race.

The fleet returned to yellow flag conditions and remained there for the next 4 laps until the green flag was waved and they got back underway for 6 laps.

Out in front Rashed managed to keep Duarte and Edgaras firmly in his mirrors and the World Champion claimed the chequered flag and another Podium top spot.

Duarte Benavnete was adjudged to not have maintained his lane on the start and was docked a lap meaning that Edgaras Riabko came home in second and in doing so secured the UIM silver World Championship medal.

Rookie of the Year Stefan Arand claimed the Grand Prix Bronze and also secured himself the UIM World Championship Bronze Medal to add to his collection.

On securing the Grand Prix win Rashed Al Qemzi paid tribute to his team “Once I was out in front I just had to remain focused to secure the Grand Prix win! This one is for my team!”

“I would like to thank all my team for all their hard work and special thanks to Guido Cappellini for all his support and belief in me as a driver.”

Podium presentations were in front of all the crowds who had come to the village to enjoy the action packed race.

President of the Portuguese Motorboat Federation Paulo Ferreira addressed the crowds and thanked the event sponsors

“Thank you to all my sponsors for helping us host this fantastic event. Congratulations to all the racers of some exhilarating racing and thank you to them all for travelling to compete here in Vila Velha De Ródão.”

He continued “I am proud to announce that once more in the 2024 season we will again in Portugal host two rounds of the F2 UIM World Championship back to back.”

With the presentations and the season concluded celebrations amongst the teams continued meanwhile others turned their attentions to the long winter and preparations for the 2024 season.