With Pierre Lundin crowned 2016 UIM F2 World Champion at Macon and Erik Edin with an unbeatable second overall, the attention at the GP of Portugal was on who could capture the Bronze Medal.
Uvis Slakteris was the hot favourite going into the event, although his boat suffered enough damage in Saturday’s Free Practice to put him out of the race.
Slakteris could still take the Bronze providing Austrian Rupp Temper and Britain’s Owen Jelf failed to gain enough points or didn’t finish.
Lundin led the race from start-to-finish to reach the chequered flag a handful of seconds ahead of Temper.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer pressurised Britain’s Owen Jelf for long periods in an attempt to snatch the final podium position, but finished just behind the BaBa driver.
Pre-race favourite Lundin made the perfect start from pole position and led Rupert Temper by 2.91 seconds through lap one, as the Austrian displaced Owen Jelf to take second and Al-Tayer made a storming start to hold fourth place after two laps.
Lundin increased his lead to 5.41 seconds through seven laps, as Al-Tayer and Al-Qamzi consolidated fourth and eighth positions. There were no changes in the running order after lap 14, although Lundin’s advantage had grown to nine seconds and Al-Tayer began to pressurise Jelf’s hold on third place.
As Lundin came into traffic and was forced to overtake a couple of the back markers, Temper reduced the Swede’s advantage to just 4.13 seconds through 27 laps, although everyone in the top 10 was holding station in what was developing into a processional conclusion to the UIM F2 racing season.
Edgaras Riabko became the first retirement after 27 laps and his demise lifted Steve Hoult into the top 10, although that was short lived and the Briton slipped out of contention six laps later.
An elated Temper proudly wore his new UIM F2 Bronze Medal after the race, his second place was enough for him to take the coveted third place overall.
However, during post race scruitineering, ‘a non standard electrical connection to the engine’ caused his disqualification.
Michael Werner, Rupp Temper’s Team Manager and Engineer said, ‘The wiring on this engine has been put like this on the grounds of safety. I have nothing against the Technical Commissioner but if I had made this wire layout like they had asked, then I would have been fired’.
The team will now decide whether to appeal to the UIM.
Temper’s torment was Owen Jelf’s fortune. The British driver was promoted to second place in the race and far more importantly was the proud owner of a 2016 UIM F2 Bronze Medal.
The 2016 UIM F2 World Championship never ceased to amaze and had more drama than a British television soap opera on crack cocaine.
Results to Follow