Rashed Al Qemzi heads into the final round of the season at Vila Velha de Rodao knowing that a second victory in eight days will see him clinch another F2 crown.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi is primed for an all out attack in Portugal at the weekend to secure a third UIM F2 world championship title.
The 2017 and 2019 champion heads into the final round of the season at Vila Velha de Rodao knowing that a second victory in eight days will see him clinch another F2 crown.
Rashed’ start-to-finish win on the Douro river at Ribadouro last Sunday moved him to within two points of Lithuania’s championship leader, Edgaras Riabko.
And the Emirati is aiming for a repeat of his dominant performance in the penultimate round where he was fastest in free practice, claimed pole position and was never seriously challenged in the 40-lap Grand Prix.
“My approach will be exactly the same,” said Rashed. “The team focus is on getting the best out of ourselves and the boat, as we did last week.
“There’s a lot at stake and you can never take anything for granted in powerboat racing, but with the best team in the world behind me I’m confident we can get it right.”
Team-mate Mansoor Al Mansoori, meanwhile, will be looking to build on his battling performance in Ribadouro where he climbed to a fifth place finish after starting 11th on the grid.
Riabko holds a narrow championship lead based on his opening round victory on home territory in and fourth spot last weekend, and the Lithuanian wants to add a first world title to his 2018 European F2 title.
Team Abu Dhabi also expect a huge effort from Portuguese star Duarte Benavente, who won on the Tagus river at Vila Velha de Rodao last season and finished second to Qemzi last weekend.
With the pressure on, the experience of Team Abu Dhabi manager Guido Cappellini, the ten-times former F1H2O champion, will be vital.
The Italian powerboat racing legend has delivered 12 world titles to Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club since taking charge in 2015, and he has had a major influence on Rashed and the rest of the team’s Emirati drivers.
This was underlined in July when the team dominated the UIM World Endurance Championships in Augustow, Poland with a two-boat crew of seven Emiratis sharing the driving over back-to-back six hour races.
Qemzi, Thani Al Qemzi and Mansoor Al Mansoori combined to secure the endurance crown for Team Abu Dhabi for a second successive year.
Rashed Al Tayer, Majed Al Mansoori, Rashed Al Remeithi and Mohamed Al Mehairbi joined forces to finish runners up in the championships for a repeat of the team’s one-two success in 2019.
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