Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi secured a remarkable start-to-finish triumph in the Grand Prix of Lithuania, kickstarting his pursuit of a fourth drivers’ title in the 2023 UIM F2 World Championship.
Despite a disappointing fourth place finish in the qualifying round, the Emirati driver showcased a brilliant surge from the beginning, seizing the lead and maintaining composure throughout the race. He emerged victorious against another three-time F2 world champion, Colin Jelf of Britain.
In the opening round of the 2023 F2 championship, Team Abu Dhabi appeared poised to dominate the podium with Mansoor Al Mansoori securing the third spot. However, an unfortunate overturn on the 28th of 35 laps ended Al Mansoori’s race prematurely.
This incident led to a race stoppage, and the Grand Prix concluded under the yellow flag, with Estonian rookie Stefan Arand claiming the third place position.
Rashed Al Qemzi, steering a brand new DAC boat for the first time, expressed his elation at the outcome: “I feel really happy for my team. They gave me a new boat and everyone worked very hard to get this result. It was a very hard race, and it’s a perfect start to the season.”
Interestingly, this victory could prove to be a significant omen forRashed Al Qemzi, as he previously clinched wins in Lithuania en route to his F2 world titles in 2017 and 2019.
Demonstrating his reputation as a swift starter, Al Qemzi powered his way from fourth place to an immediate lead, capitalizing on the slip of Monaco’s Giacomo Sacchi from pole position. Meanwhile, Jelf advanced from fifth to second place, and Al Mansoori also made an early ascent, rising from sixth to third place, reshuffling the top three positions.
During the race, a yellow flag momentarily halted proceedings on lap 17 due to a collision involving Latvia’s Nikita Lijcs and a buoy. Shortly afterward, Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas dropped to the back of the field after a pit stop for a propeller change.
Despite Jelf’s efforts to apply pressure during the first restart, Al Qemzi maintained control and secured his lead. Following Al Mansoori’s unfortunate exit from the Grand Prix, he was the first to congratulate his teammate at the race’s conclusion.
The triumph in Lithuania marks a promising beginning for Rashed Al Qemzi’s quest for the 2023 UIM F2 World Championship title, showcasing his determination and driving prowess on the international stage.