F2 Sensational Rashed Al-Qamzi seals career best second place in F2 French Grand Prix
UIM F2 French Grand Prix – Macon
September 9-11, 2016
SENSATIONAL RASHED AL-QAMZI SEALS CAREER BEST SECOND
PLACE FINISH FOR TEAM ABU DHABI IN MÂCON’S F2 FRENCH GRAND PRIX
Sweden’s Pierre Lundin claims the win on the Saône river; third place for Riabko
Al-Tayer and Al-Qamzi finish second and sixth in Speed Record; victory to Latvia’s Slakteris
MÂCON (FRANCE): Sunday, September 11: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi was in blistering form in Sunday afternoon’s F2 French Grand Prix on the Saône river in Mâcon. The Emirati started the race from fourth and produced one of the finest performances of his career to finish the 60-lap race in second position and claim a first ever podium finish in the UIM F2 World Championship.
Team-mate Rashed Al-Tayer was making his first F2 appearance of the season. He qualified in 13th position but was forced out of contention on lap 11 with technical issues, as large crowds lined the riverbank to watch the racing spectacle.
The two 35 and 36 boats operating out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) faced fierce competition from some of Europe’s finest racers and Sweden’s Erik Edin and Pierre Lundin were the early pace setters, until Edin fell by the wayside after an accident and forced a yellow flag, thus handing Lundin the lead that he held to the finish, despite two further yellow flag incidents.
Al-Qamzi shadowed the Swede throughout the race and managed to fend off a fierce challenge from both Konstantin Ustinov and Matthew Palfreyman to claim second in the middle stages, with the Russian falling out of contention near the finish, Palfreyman also clipping a turn buoy and their demise gifting third place to Edgaras Riabko.
Both Team Abu Dhabi drivers had also impressed with the second and sixth top speeds in Saturday’s Speed Record.
“This is a superb result for Rashed Al-Qamzi and goes to prove the rapid progress he has made on the international stage in a very short space of time,” said a delighted Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC). “This result is a major boost for everyone at the ADIMSC and proves that the decision to take part in the UIM F2 Championship was a good one.”
Team Abu Dhabi is sponsored by Etihad Airways and runs under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).
F2 French Grand Prix
The Team Abu Dhabi drivers eventually began the race from fourth and 13th positions, with Edin on pole and maintaining his lead from the start. The Scandinavian trio of Edin, Lundin and Munthe-Kaas continued to lead through five laps, Al-Qamzi maintained fourth and Al-Tayer found himself in 15th.
Mette Bjerknaes had qualified superbly for the race, but she left the fray after seven laps and the race was yellow flagged soon afterwards, with leader Edin slipping out of contention for the race win and handing the lead to Lundin from Munthe-Kaas and Al-Qamzi. Al-Tayer left the fray after 10 laps.
Racing resumed on lap 20 and Lundin maintained his lead from Munthe-Kaas and Al-Qamzi, with the Team Abu Dhabi driver chasing a first ever F2 podium finish. Munthe-Kaas lost his second position soon afterwards and his demise lifted Al-Qamzi into second place and Palfreyman into third.
By lap 28, Lundin’s lead over Al-Qamzi was 7.97 seconds, although the Emirati was facing fierce pressure from Palfreyman and Konstantin Ustinov. The top six held station through 34 laps, but Ustinov managed to pass Palfreyman soon afterwards and began to apply even more pressure on Al-Qamzi. The gap was less than one second after 36 laps, but the race was yellow flagged again in the closing minutes after Palfreyman struck a turn buoy and was forced out of the race.
Only a handful of laps remained when the green flag was raised again and Lundin held on to claim the win from Al-Qamzi and Ustinov, despite a third yellow behind waved when Owen Jelf and Ustinov hit trouble and the race finished under a yellow.
Erik Edin continued his run of excellent form to claim pole position for Sunday’s race with a winning lap of 35.87 seconds. That put him 0.23 seconds ahead of Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas. Mette Bjerknaes was the surprise package to card the third fastest time of 36.91 seconds.
Al-Qamzi recorded his best qualifying performance of the few races that he has contested thus far in the UIM F2 Championship. The Emirati slotted into an impressive fourth position with a lap of 37.15 seconds Technical issues thwarted Rashed Al-Tayer in Team Abu Dhabi 36 and the second Emirati was only able to use the first of the three qualifying sessions and was down in 15th position with a time of 38.97 seconds.
Uvis Slakteris, the winner of the last round in Lithuania, won the Speed Record with a speed of 174km/h. Al-Tayer was an impressive second with 172km/h and Al-Qamzi was sixth.
Earlier in the day, both Team Abu Dhabi impressed in the two free practice sessions. Rupert Temper won the first group session with a lap of 37.34sec from Germany’s Stefan Hagin and Al-Qamzi in third. Munthe-Kaas topped the times in Group B from Edin, Pierre Lundin and Al-Tayer.
This was the first time that the UIM F2 series had visited Mâcon for 15 years and the first time that the river has been used as a race venue. ADIMSC’s team manager Guido Cappellini claimed five UIM F1 World Championship victories in the French town in the seven years between 1993 and 2000. “Before we went to Lithuania, we spent some time testing on a river similar to the one in Macon,” said Cappellini. It certainly paid dividends for Al-Qamzi.
UIM F2 French Grand Prix – result (unofficial @ 17.00hrs)
1. Pierre Lundin (SWE) Lundin F1 Racing 55 laps
2. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @5.47sec
3. Edgaras Riabko (LIT) F2 Lithuania @7.59sec
4. Johan Ostberberg (SWE) Team AJO @12.94sec
5. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Stromoy Racing F2 @15.06sec
6. Uvis Slakteris (LAT) Riga Powerboat Team L1
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