Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi presented the form which took him to the UIM F2 World Championship two years ago as he held pole position for tomorrow’s Lithuania Grand Prix in brilliant fashion.
Al Qemzi, runner up in last year’s championship, underlined his willpower to return the F2 title to Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club by leading the opening day of the 2019 season in cold and windy conditions on the Kaunas Reservoir.
The Emirati driver at times looked in a class of his own, and he won the final ten-boat qualifying shoot out in remarkable style, needing just one lap to post a winning time of 45.46 secs to eclipse Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer was a victim of the difficult circumstances when he crashed while holding second place during an earlier qualifying group session, but he will now look to secure a Grand Prix start in tomorrow’s repechage.
There were no difficulties for Al Qemzi, who initially set the fastest time in the first free practice session before the course was shortened after Finland’s Kalle Viippo avoided injury when his boat flipped over in gusting winds.
The Emirati, whose race victory in Kaunas two years ago on his F2 debut laid the basics for his title triumph, set a best lap time of 46.41 secs to easily top his group’s qualifying times by 1.62 secs from Latvia’s Uvis Slakteris.
Al Qemzi was so dominant that he was able to sit out more than half of the qualifying session, and the quality of his presentation was highlighted when Germany’s Stefan Hagin was 1.6 secs slower in heading the second succeeding group.
The Abu Dhabi drivers had stopped off in Italy en-route to Lithuania for practice under the watchful eye of team manager Guido Cappellini who is asking them to emulate Shaun Torrente and Thani Al Qemzi, the reigning F1H2O world champions.
Shimmering on the day’s action, Cappellini said: “It was a perfect start for Rashid (Al Qemzi) who is in very good condition. Rashed Al Tayer had the accident in windy conditions, but he is fine and the boat is ok so he will be racing tomorrow.”