ABU DHABI: Team Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al-Mansoori is ready to handle the pressure as he bids to secure the 2022 UIM F2 World Championship in a tense finale to the powerboat season over the next two weekends in Portugal.
His first F2 Grand Prix victory in Lithuania last month has given the Emirati driver a three-point championship lead over Germany’s Stefan Hagin to take into Sunday’s penultimate round in Ribadouro.
With the final Grand Prix of the campaign to follow a week later 270 kilometers away in Vila Velha de Rodao, Al-Mansoori is determined to follow teammate and three-time world champion Rashed Al-Qemzi to the F2 crown.
He said: “I’m not surprised to be leading because, from the start of the season, I was aiming to put myself in a good position.
“Competing alongside Rashed has given me a lot of extra confidence, and this helped me to take the lead in the championship with my first win in Lithuania.”
Al-Mansoori paid tribute to Italian powerboat racing legend, Guido Cappellini, who has delivered 14 world titles to the UAE capital since taking over as Team Abu Dhabi manager in February 2015.
“We all owe so much to Guido for the success the team has enjoyed since he took charge. He has built a great team spirit and used his experience to take us to the top.
“The most important thing I’ve learnt from him is to focus and keep calm always. Before the last round, his advice about how to deal with the pressure from the boats behind was so important.
“It wasn’t easy to hold my lead for 45 laps. But that was great experience, and now I want another strong finish on Sunday to take me into the last round,” Al-Mansoori added.
Back-to-back victories at the same two Portuguese venues 12 months ago secured a third F2 world championship for Al-Qemzi, who could yet land an overall F2 podium place.
He said: “I want to have a strong finish to the season. There are still 40 points to be won, and I can still finish in a good position in the championship.
“I like the conditions and the atmosphere and always enjoy racing in Portugal, so I have a good feeling going back to there and I want to win again. But I also want to help my teammate as much as I can,” he added.
UIM F2 World Championship leading positions: 1. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (UAE) 35 points; 2. Stefan Hagin (GERMANY) 32; 3. Sami Selio (FINLAND) 22; 4. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NORWAY) 12; 5. Edgaras Riabko (LITHUANIA) 11; 6. Giacomo Sacchi (MONACO) 9; 7. Rashed Al-Qemzi (UAE) 9; 8. Nikita Lijcs (LATVIA) 6.