F2 Team Abu Dhabi rounds off European F2 campaign with third and seventh places in Portugal Grand Prix
UIM F2 Portugal Grand Prix – Ribadouro
October 7-9, 2016
TEAM ABU DHABI’S AL-TAYER AND AL-QAMZI WRAP UP UIM F2 RACING
SEASON WITH THIRD AND SEVENTH PLACES IN PORTUGAL GRAND PRIX
· Sweden’s Pierre Lundin wins final race of F2 season on Douro River; second place for Britain’s Owen Jelf
RIBADOURO (PORTUGAL): Monday, October 10: Following post-race technical scrutineering, Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Rashed Al-Qamzi rounded off a hectic few weeks by finishing third and seventh overall in the UIM F2 Portugal Grand Prix, the final round of the UIM F2 World Championship, on the Duoro River in northern Portugal on Sunday afternoon.
Victory in the 50-lap finale to a thrilling season of European F2 racing fell to Swedish racer and recently crowned champion Pierre Lundin, who led a processional race from start-to-finish to reach the chequered flag a handful of seconds ahead of the Austrian Rupert Temper.
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. But Temper was later disqualified from the overall classification by race officials late on Sunday evening for running a non standard specification on the electrical connection to the engine and his demise lifted Jelf into second and Al-Tayer into third place.
The Emirati duo had qualified in 10th and seventh positions and moved up to ninth and sixth before the off, when Portuguese veteran Duarte Benavente was forced to withdraw before the start with transmission issues. 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 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.
“Both our drivers have made really impressive progress this season in the F2 Championship and that was plain to see with their performances this weekend,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC). “That race brings down the curtain on the European races we have competed in this summer and we now head back to the Middle East for several crucial races in the UAE over the next two months that will decide the outcome of several other championships in which we are in contention for honours.”
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).
Qualifying and free practice
Seventeen drivers lined up at the start of free practice on Saturday morning and that preceded the afternoon’s qualifying session. F1 veteran Duarte Benavente clocked the quickest lap of 40.59 seconds in the practice session. Al-Qamzi and Al-Tayer ran for 27 and 36 laps respectively and were classified in fifth and eighth positions. Mette Bjerknaes flipped her boat out of contention and a collision between Uvis Slakteris and Fabrice Boulier sidelined both drivers from the rest of the weekend’s action.
Qualifying followed in breezy conditions and current champion Pierre Lundin claimed pole position with a lap of 40.94 seconds, which put the Swede 0.56 seconds ahead of England’s Owen Jelf. Al-Qamzi and Al-Tayer both made the third qualifying session and settled into seventh and 10th positions. Only 14 of the 17 entrants took part in qualifying after the dramatic events of the morning.
Ribadouro was a regular host venue for UIM F3, F850 and F4 European Championship races in the 1990s and last hosted a round of the F2 European Championship back in 1999.
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