Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi continued their crucial summer of learning all about top level European power boating events by finishing in an impressive ninth and 10th overall in a pulsating UIM F2 Lithuanian Grand Prix on Lake Zaraso on Sunday.
Competing against some of the leading racers in the world to gain as much experience and boat time as possible, the pair settled in quickly to the rigours of the demanding weather and tricky water conditions to take another major step towards a first ever podium finish in the F2 racing discipline.
Scandinavian drivers dominated the delayed qualifying session on Saturday evening and pole sitter Erik Edin displayed his class with a dominant performance in the yellow-flag interrupted race on Sunday afternoon. The Swede led until the closing stages before ceding the lead near the end to the Latvian racer Uvis Slakteris. Austrian Rupert Temper finished second for the RSC – Regan team and England’s Owen Jelf rounded off the podium after Edin had slipped to fifth behind Russia’s Konstantin Ustinov in the unofficial results.
Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) said;
This was an impressive display from both Rashed and Mohammed in a difficult race. Both of them finished inside the top 10 and the whole team can take many positives away from another successful European race.
Lithuanian Grand Prix
Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi lined up in ninth and 16th positions at the start of the UIM F2 Lithuanian Grand Prix in Team Abu Dhabi 35 and 36. An all-Scandinavian top three topped the qualifiers and pole-sitter Erik Edin made a good start to hold the advantage on the tricky 1.92km course.
Edin maintained his lead through the opening five laps, as Stefan Hagin and Uvis Slakteris climbed into second and third positions and Tobias Munthe-Kaas slipped to ninth. Neither of the Team Abu Dhabi boats started particularly well either and Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi were down in 12th and 14th positions after five laps. Johan Österberg had already retired.
Edin continued to control the race by 7.78 seconds from Hagin through lap 15, as Slakteris maintained a distant third from a pressing Owen Jelf. Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi retained 12th and 14th heading into lap 16. A yellow flag was raised several laps later, although Edin retained the lead from Hagin and Slakteris and Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi were classified in 10th and 14th. Nick Bisterfield fell out of contention and Matthew Palfreyman was also sidelined.
Racing resumed and, by lap 27, Edin led from Slakteris and Rupert Temper, after Hagin and Jelf had slipped back to eighth and ninth positions. Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi were running in 11th and 13th overall, but a second yellow flag brought racing to a stop soon afterwards and remained flying until lap 36.
Edin maintained his lead after the restart and began to edge away from Slakteris and Temper heading into the closing laps of the race. Al-Qamzi passed Bimba Sjöholm to claim ninth and Al-Mehairbi moved up to 10th at the expense of the Swede and Harri Lehti. Slakteris then snatched the lead late on and the Team Abu Dhabi duo reached the chequered flag in ninth and 10th places.
The UIM F2 Championship now moves on to the Saône River and the French Grand Prix at Mâcon on September 10-11th.