SAN NAZZARO: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qemzi saved his best for last to claim pole position for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Italy as he looks to extend his lead in the 2023 UIM F2 World Championship.
The three-time F2 world champion won the six-boat qualifying shoot-out in San Nazzaro and underlined his determination to secure a fourth drivers title.
Al-Qemzi, who leads the championship by five points following his opening round victory in Lithuania, took an early lead in the 15-minute final session before it was briefly halted by a yellow flag after six minutes.
The Emirati’s response was to immediately set a faster time to increase his advantage over Tobias Munthe-Kaask to more than a second, before the Norwegian later closed the gap to finish in second place ahead of Monaco’s Giacomo Sacchi.
Sweden’s Daniel Segenmark, Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko and Estonia’s Stefan Arand complete the top six for tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
After his success in Lithuania, Al-Qemzi arrived in Italy in a confident mood as he looked to build on his championship lead, and reinforce his challenge for a fourth F2 world title.
Back in action in the boat which he drove for the first time in Klaipeda last month, the Emirati was second fastest in the morning free practice session — marginally behind Sacchi — with teammate Mansoor Al-Mansoori setting the fourth best time.
With Arand topping the afternoon’s first qualifying session from Munthe-Kaas, Al-Qemzi was comfortably in third place, while Al-Mansoori went through in 10th spot.
Following a long delay when debris on the course had to be cleared, Sacchi was quickest in the the 15-boat second qualifying session from Riabko and Munthe-Kaas, with Al-Qemzi moving into the shoot-out in fourth place. Al-Mansoori missed out in eighth position.