The Grand Prix of Dhabi brings the 2019 UIM F2 World Championship to a conclusion next weekend at the start of an intriguing month for international powerboat racing which will see three world titles decided in the UAE.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi, who has already secured the F2 world crown for the second time in three years after dominating the 2019 series, has the opportunity to round off a superb season with a treasured victory on home waters.
This will be the first time that Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) has hosted a round of the UIM F2 Championship, and Al Qemzi has the chance of another place in the record books as the first ever F2 Grand Prix winner in the UAE capital.
Among those aiming to block his patch to victory are four drivers fighting it out for runners-up spot in the championship, Portugal’s Duarte Benavente, Sweden’s Ola Pettersson, Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen and Germany’s Stefan Hagin, winner of this year’s Grand Prix of Norway.
They are in a powerful 19-boat line-up assembling at ADIMSC, home base for Team Abu Dhabi who have also secured this year’s World Endurance Championships.
The title haul could reach five during the month. Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori will be battling to retain their UIM XCAT World Championship in Dubai on 13-14 December, while a week later, Torrente aims to land a second successive F1H2O drivers crown in Sharjah, and at the same time secure another team championship with Thani Al Qemzi.
“It’s going to be a thrilling month to round of the world championship powerboat racing season, with so much at stake,” said Salem Al Remeithi, General Manager of ADIMSC.
“Our first priority is to provide a perfect platform for the final round of the UIM F2 World Championship, which we are delighted to be hosting for the first time. We look forward to a classic battle for victory in the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi between the best drivers in the series.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Tayer, whose boat was damaged during the previous round in Portugal forcing him to miss the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, will still be in action this weekend.
Al Tayer will contest the Pro Runabout GP division at the Jet Ski World Cup 2019 in Pattaya City, Thailand. The Emirati lies seven points behind Poland’s Andrzej Wisniewski in the race for the Runabout GP1 title in this season’s UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship, with the final round in Sharjah from 17-20 December.
ADIMSC has set out a 1,825m F2 circuit which is reduced to 1,015m for the GT15 and F4 national class races also featured in the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi programme.
The F2 boats take to the water at 3pm on Thursday for free practice, with another practice session following at 10.15am the next day ahead of the three-stage qualifying series getting under way at 3.30pm.
The 2019 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi roars to life at 3.30pm on Saturday.
UIM F2 World Championship leading positions after 4 of 5 rounds
1. Rashed Al Qemzi UAE 75pts (world champion)
2. Duarte Benavente POR 38
3. Ola Pettersson SWE 34
4. Ferdinand Zandbergen NL 34
5. Stefan Hagin GER 20
6. Daniel Segenmark SWE 20
Tony Lewis, is a former British print and BBC broadcast journalist with more than 40 years’ media and PR experience.