RIBADOURO: Team Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al-Mansoori produced a battling performance in the Grand Prix of Portugal on Sunday to retain the lead in 2022 UIM F2 World Championship.
With the final round to follow in Portugal’s Vila Velha de Ródão next weekend, Al-Mansoori holds a two-point advantage over Team Sharjah’s Sami Selio, with Germany’s Stefan Hagin just two points further adrift.
Monaco’s Giacomo Sacchi followed up his pole position success 24 hours earlier with a fine start-to-finish victory in Ribadouro, holding off Selio by 9.7 seconds to climb to fourth place in the championship standings. American Brent Dillard took the third podium place.
Having arrived in Portugal with a three-point lead over Hagin, Al-Mansoori needed a big performance after mechanical problems brought him to a halt in qualifying, forcing him to start in 14th place.
The Emirati shrugged off that setback with a composed drive to a seventh-place finish, crucially one spot ahead of Hagin, who had also been dropped down the field by mechanical issues in qualifying.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qemzi, aiming to repeat his victory in Ribadouro 12 months ago after narrowly missing out on pole position on Saturday, ran completely out of luck when halted by engine problems after just one lap.
Portugal’s Duarte Benavente lasted just two more laps before going out, and Mette Bjerknæs became the third early casualty, also suffering engine issues to exit after 12 laps.
From Ribadouro, the F2 world championship moves 270 kilometers south to Vila Velha de Ródão next weekend where the final round of the 2022 series takes place on the Tagus river.
It was there 12 months ago that Al-Qemzi completed back-to-back victories in Portugal to become F2 world champion for the third time following his triumphs in 2017 and 2019.
That was the 14th world powerboat racing crown secured by Team Abu Dhabi since Guido Cappellini took over as team manager in February 2015.
UIM F2 World Championship points positions:
1. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (UAE) 39
2. Sami Seliö (Finland) 37
3. Stefan Hagin (Germany) 35
4. Giacomo Sacchi (Monaco) 29
5. Edgaras Riabko (Lithuania) 20
6. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (Norway) 19