Team Abu Dhabi driver grabs second place to launch title challenge after world champion Al Qemzi suffers unlucky exit
Team Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al Mansoori announced his intention to make a powerful challenge for this year’s UIM F2 World Championship title with an impressive second place finish in the Grand Prix of Poland.
The Emirati driver came through a severe test of nerve and concentration in a dramatic first round of the 2022 series, which brought victory for Germany’s Stefan Hagin and frustration for Al Mansoori’s team-mate, Rashid Al Qemzi.
Three-times F2 world champion Al Qemzi looked to be heading for victory after starting from pole position and leading for more than half the race, but in very difficult conditions and fading light on Lake Necko, his boat spun out and lost its cowl.
With the engine covering holding his race number removed, he was forced to retire after 22 of 40 laps, presenting Hagin with a clear path to victory by + 5.512 seconds from Al Mansoori. Norwegian Tobias Munthe-Kaas was another 17 seconds away in third.
Gusting winds throughout Sunday had created created potentially dangerous race conditions on Lake Necko, threatening to rule out any action on the day.
After a three-and a half hour delay, the Grand Prix began with a rolling start following three laps of free practice, but not before Colin Jelf’s engine caught fire beside the pontoon, putting the British driver out of the race.
With the wind and choppy waters demanding maximum focus, Al Qemzi looked in complete control before his spin took him out of the race.
Second place for Al Mansoori was a just reward for a composed performance by the 2017 F4-S world champion, who joined Team Abu Dhabi last season.
It was also a happy return to Augustów for the Emirati who enjoyed a brilliant World Endurance Championship triumph there alongside Al Qemzi last July.
Al Qemzi, the 2017, 2019 and 20221 F2 world champion, will now quickly shrug of his setback in Poland and look forward to the next round of the series, the Grand Prix of Lithuania in Kupiškis, on 12-14 August.