Emirati dominates from start to finish in Brindisi to open up big championship lead
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi has taken a major step towards a second UIM F2 World Championship title after an emphatic victory in the Grand Prix of Italy.
The 2017 champion extended his lead in this year’s series to 30 points over Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen with a commanding performance in Brindisi where he dominated proceedings over two days.
Al Qemzi will now aim to clinch the world title during the Grand Prix of Portugal in Ribadouro on September 13-15, although he could be kept waiting until the final round in Abu Dhabi on December 5-7.
The Emirati driver followed up his opening round victory in Lithuania and second place in Norway with another impressive performance in Italy where he looked to be in control from the official practice session when he set the pace.
Al Qemzi then secured his third successive pole position in qualifying and went on to claim his second Grand Prix victory of the season, shrugging off a yellow flag re-start to win by almost four seconds from Sweden’s Ola Pettersson.
“After the yellow flag my adrenalin was flowing as the pressure was back on me, especially as this was a very short circuit,” said Al Qemzi. “But I regained the lead and felt comfortable after that and just focused on staying ahead.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer, who had been hoping for a change in fortunes after qualifying in seventh place, went out after suffering engine problems and then hitting a race buoy.
“The circuit was really too crowded for a circuit just 1650 metres long,” said Al Tayer. “Nobody can reach a good speed when it’s like that and the race should be limited to 15 boats.”
Emirati dominates qualifying as he bids to increase lead in F2 world title race
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi maintained his 100% qualifying record in the 2019 UIM F2 World Championship today by clinching pole position for the Grand Prix of Italy.
Just as he did during the previous two rounds in Lithuania and Norway, Al Qemzi dominated qualifying in Brindisi where two of the three stages were carried over from last night.
After setting fastest times in the first two qualifying phases, the Emirati driver won the ten-boat shootout with a lap of 34.47, ahead of Sweden’s Bimba Sjöholm, 35.16, and Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas, 35.34.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer set the seventh fastest time with a lap of 36.19.
Al Qemzi, the 2017 F2 world champion, leads the 2019 series by 14 points from Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen – fifth fastest in qualifying – ahead of the Grand Prix of Italy which roars to life at 6.30pm local time in Brindisi.
Next week (30 August-1 September), the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya will be the venue for the 21st running of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA – Trofeu Fermí Velez. The race will be the fifth and final round of the 24H SERIES Europe and will therefore bring the decision in the battle for the various titles. Moreover, the event at the famous Spanish Grand Prix circuit counts towards the 24H SERIES Continents. Excitement is guaranteed with a packed field of 31 cars for the GT SERIES and 18 cars for the TCE SERIES. Each division will have a separate starting group and its own prize-giving ceremony.
Opened in 1991, the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya has hosted many prestigious international events, from the cycling competitions for the 1992 Summer Olympics up to Formula 1 and MotoGP world championship rounds. The 24-hour race is locally also known as Trofeu Fermí Velez, named after Fermin Velez, a successful Spanish endurance race driver who succumbed to cancer in 2003. The event started as a touring car race, but since 2011, as Dutch agency CREVENTIC came on board to help the circuit and the RACC with the promotion, GT cars have been admitted as well and its international profile was raised significantly. The Spanish event is now considered as one of the leading international 24-hour races.
This year’s race again promises to be a thrilling one. The big question is whether Czech Ferrari team Bohemia Energy Racing with Scuderia Praha can continue its winning streak, with four wins from the four rounds held in the 24H SERIES Europe so far. To do so, the team will be facing tough competition in the A6 class. German Porsche team Herberth Motorsport, last year’s race winners in Barcelona and also successful in 2016, will be aiming for its first victory of the year. Expectations are also high for UAE-based team GPX Racing, highly motivated after its overall win in the 24-hour race at Spa. A newcomer in the 24H SERIES is German team Frikadelli Racing, also with a Porsche, a well-known quantity at the Nürburgring, but now at a different venue. Other entries in the A6 class are representing Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Renault.
In the SPX class, the new KTM GTX will be making its debut with two entries by Austrian team True Racing. They will be up against a Vortex, a MARC II V8 and a Porsche 911 Cup MR. The Ligier JS2 R will also be making its endurance racing debut, French team Nordschleife Racing will be running it in the SP4 class. The Porsche 991 Cup class has seven entries. The GT4 class with an Aston Martin, two BMWs and a Porsche rounds out the GT SERIES field.
Twelve TCR cars lead the TCE segment. Here, Audi, CUPRA, Peugeot, SEAT and Volkswagen are all represented by customer teams. Of course, the race has particular prestige for CUPRA and SEAT teams as the circuit is really close to the brand’s headquarters in Martorell. Here, Swiss Volkswagen team Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing has already racked up four wins in the TCE SERIES this year and will be aiming at further success in Barcelona following its most recent win in the Portimao 24 Hours last month. The SP3 class includes a BMW, a Ginetta and a Porsche. Two BMWs and a Honda in the A3 class round out the TCE SERIES field.
There are opportunities for optional private testing on Thursday, 29 August and on Friday morning, 30 August. Free practice is scheduled from 13.00-14.00 hrs, followed by qualifying for the TCE SERIES from 16.45-17.30 hrs and for the GT SERIES from 17.45-18.30 hrs. Night practice runs from 21.00-22.30 hrs. The starting grid procedure for the Hankook 24H BARCELONA gets underway on Saturday, 31 August, at 11.15 hrs. The race starts at noon and ends at the same time on Sunday, 1 September, followed by the prize-giving ceremony. After the race, there will be a championship party where all the title winners of the 24H SERIES Europe will be honoured.
The GT4 South European Series is the official support category for the event with two races of 50 minutes each, one on Friday evening and one on Saturday morning. There will be plenty of activities for the public as well with a DJ and a chill-out zone in the paddock as well as a 24-hour sim race running at the same time as the race at the circuit.
Live streaming in HD quality with commentary from the Radio Show Limited team, well-known from IMSA Radio and Radio Le Mans, is available on the series’ website and Youtube channel as well as Motortrend on Demand. There will also be regular updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (24H Series). Hankook is the official title sponsor and exclusive tyre supplier for the event, Panta is the official fuel supplier. DRD international for pit equipment, screen protection etc., Stand21 for racewear and Speedcom for radio communication equipment and support will be present with sales and service booths in the paddock at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya. Further information can be found at www.24hseries.com.
Emirati in control as he looks to extend lead in F2 world title race
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi provided more evidence today that he has the UIM F2 World Championship under control as he set the early pace in the Grand Prix of Italy.
Al Qemzi, who has carried a 14-point lead over Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen into the third round of the series in Brindisi, was in dominant form again during the Group A free practice session, setting a fastest lap of 34.5 secs.
With Sweden’s Daniel Segenmark second fastest in 35.44 ahead of Germany’s Grand Prix of Norway winner, Stefan Hagin in 36.19, Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer recorded the fifth fastest time of 36.60.
Al Qemzi, the 2017 F2 world champion and opening round winner in Lithuania, looked in perfect shape to pursue a third consecutive pole position later in the day for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Italy commencing at 6.30pm local time.
The two Emirati drivers had spent two days earlier in the week testing on Lake Maggiore in San Nazzaro, Italy under the guidance of Team Abu Dhabi manager, Guido Cappellini.
It’s still step by step for Team Abu Dhabi driver after extending his championship lead in Norway
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi has put himself in a powerful position to claim the UIM F2 World Championship for the second time in three years after a composed performance as some of his rivals faltered in the Grand Prix of Norway.
While Germany’s Stefan Hagin took the honours with his first F2 victory, the major outcome from a dramatic Tønsberg race weekend is that Al Qemzi has increased his championship lead from five to 14 points and carries great momentum forward to Italy later this month.
The third round of the series in Brindisi on August 24-25 is followed by the Grand Prix of Portugal in Ribadouro on September 14-15, and on current form Al Qemzi could have the F2 world title wrapped up before the final round on home waters in Abu Dhabi on December 6-7.
There will be no diversion, however, from Team Abu Dhabi’s methodical approach to Grand Prix competition, which is not only to take races one at a time but also to focus step by step on all the elements making up each individual championship weekend.
“The team works hard and prepares hard for every race,” said Al Qemzi. “When we arrived in Norway our aim was to be at the highest level in everything we did, and it’s the same with every Grand Prix. We work as a team to get the best results one step at a time.”
Al Qemzi’s championship position was strengthened in Tønsberg by the disqualification of two of his main rivals, Sweden’s Daniel Segenmark and Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas, for infringements after missing turn marks.
Team Abu Dhabi initially had both drivers on the podium in Tønsberg after Rashed Al Tayer, who had qualified in seventh place, rose to third at the finish.
This followed his strong performance in winning the traditional Speed Run which launched race activities in Tønsberg, but disappointingly Al Tayer later dropped to fifth after being penalised for a lane infringement at the start.
Al Qemzi, the first round winner in Lithuania, secured his second successive pole position in impressive style but then had his own problems at the start of the Grand Prix as his engine spluttered, briefly dropping him behind most of the other 17 boats. But by the end of the first lap he had climbed to second position and over the next 44 laps made sure Hagin had to fight all the way to secure his maiden victory.
Hagin wins Grand Prix of Norway but second place boosts Emirati’s championship bid as team-mate Al Tayer joins him on podium
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi extended his lead in the 2019 UIM F2 World Championship with a second place finish in today’s Grand Prix of Norway which brought a first series victory for German Stefan Hagin.
The result gives Al Qemzi a 13-point advantage in the race for the F2 title which he won in 2017, and he was joined on the podium by Abu Dhabi team-mate Rashed Al Tayer thanks to a battling performance to finish third in Tønsberg.
After his opening round victory in Lithuania and his second successive pole position, Al Qemzi had high hopes of another win, although he will be content to have grown his lead from
Sweden’s Daniel Segenmark who finished fifth in Norway.
Al Qemzi’s victory hopes might have been over even before a lap had been completed as an apparent mechanical issue left him struggling to leave the start, with the majority of the other 17 boats surging away from him.
But the Emirati driver made a superb recovery, rapidly climbing to second behind Hagin on the first lap and he was piling the pressure on the German when American Brent Dillard crashed to bring a yellow flag on lap 14.
Dillard’s exit saw Al Tayer, who had started in seventh place, move into third, and after the restart, despite Al Qemzi’s efforts to catch Hagin, the top three remain unchanged all the way to the finish.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Tayer wins Speed Run in Tonsberg
Team Abu Dhabi continued to set the pace in the Grand Prix of Norway today as Rashed Al Qemzi reproduced the form which has given him the lead in this year’s UIM F2 World Championship.
Al Qemzi, the 2017 F2 world champion and winner of this season’s opening round in Lithuania, set the fastest time in the Group A official practice session with a lap of 39.53 secs in front of thousands of spectators in Tønsberg.
It was a clear reminder of how Team Abu Dhabi have taken the initiative in this year’s championship following Rashed Al Tayer’s victory in last night’s Speed Run.
Al Tayer won the traditional opening event when he set the fastest time of 186 KPH, with Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko 1 KPH slower in second place and Norway’s Frode Sundsdal third quickest on 183 KPH.
The Emirati produced another strong performance in today’s Group B practice session with a lap of 39.09 to9 finish second behind Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas on 38.69.
Al Qemzi, aiming to recapture the UIM F2 World Championship crown which he won in 2017, was in a confident mood as he prepared for the three-stage evening qualifying session to follow to decide pole position for tomorrow afternoon’s Grand Prix of Norway.
All-Emirati crew claim commanding race win while Torrente, Al Qemzi,Al Tayer, Abbate secure title on Necko Lake
Team Abu Dhabi wrapped up their first major powerboat racing title of the season today as Shaun Torrente, Rashed Al Qemzi, Rashed Al Tayer and Italian Tullio Abbate clinched the World Endurance Championships in Augustów, Poland.
This time the honours on the day went to the all-Emirati crew of Majed Al Mansoori, Mohamed Al Mehairbi, Rashed Al Remeithi and Faleh Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 36 who recorded a commanding victory in the second of two back-to-back six-hour races to finish runners up in the series.
But sixth place was enough to ensure American Torrente, Emiratis Al Qemzi and Al Tayer and Italian Tullio in Abu Dhabi 35 secured the world endurance crown following their win 24 hours earlier and success two months ago in the 24 Hours of Rouen in France.
They had looked set to complete the series with a 100% winning record after leading comfortably for more than four hours today before being briefly forced out of the race to make technical modifications.
Having shadowed their team-mates in second place virtually from the start, Abu Dhabi 36 suddenly found themselves with a commanding lead and ultimately cruised to victory by 19 laps from the Navikart Soliodaires French crew of Sebastien Lemoine, Olivier Betin and Stephane Lemoine
Russians Konstantin Ustinov and Dimitry Vandyshev and Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko in Nollet 2 were third another five laps behind.
While these are still early days in the season, the result in Poland underlines the prospect of four world powerboat racing titles ending up at Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
Ten-times former F1H20 world champion Guido Cappellini, who recently signed a new long-term contract to guide the fortunes of Team Abu Dhabi until 2025, certainly believes the quadruple is possible.
He has already seen reigning world champion Torrente set the pace in this year’s F1H20 series while Rashed Al Qemzi has taken an immediate lead in the UIM F2 championship.
From Poland Cappellini quickly switches focus to the UIM XCAT World Championship in which Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori begin their title defence in Stresa, Italy next weekend.
24 Hours of Rouen winners dominate first six-hour race on Necko Lake
Team Abu Dhabi took a big step towards their first world powerboat racing title of the season today by dominating the opening leg of the Necko Endurance race in Augustów, Poland.
The combination of Shaun Torrente, Emiratis Rashed Al Qemzi and Rashed Al Tayer and Italian Tullio Abbate in Abu Dhabi 35 strengthened their grip on the World Endurance Championships with victory in the first of the weekend’s two back-to-back races.
The result puts them in a commanding position to secure the world endurance crown if they can avoid any mechanical failures or major mistakes in the second six-hour race getting under way at 11am local time tomorrow.
Meanwhile, a fourth place finish on the Necko Lake today means the all-Emirati crew of Majed Al Mansoori, Mohamed Al Mehairbi, Rashed Al Remeithi and Faleh Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 36 can take third overall in the championship with a similar performance tomorrow.
With reigning F1H2O world champion Torrente first in action, Abu Dhabi 35 took an immediate lead when the first race got under way as they looked to build on their impressive victory in the 24 Hours of Rouen in France two months ago.
Only briefly did they lose the advantage towards the half way point, firstly to the Navikart Soliodaires French crew of Sebastien Lemoine, Olivier Betin and Stephane Lemoine and then to
Russians Konstantin Ustinov and Dimitry Vandyshev and Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko in Nollet 2.
At this point there was often as little as two seconds separating the leaders, but over the last two hours Abu Dhabi 35 gradually eased away to complete 294 laps by the finish, three more than Nollet 2 in second place and third-placed Navikart Soliodaires. Abu Dhabi 36 finished 276 laps in fourth position.
If Torrente, Al Qemzi Al Tayer and Abbate avoid problems tomorrow they will deliver the first of four world powerboat racing titles being targeted this season by Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
Torrente, who leads this season’s UIM F1H2O World Championship, heads straight from Poland to Stresa, Italy to begin his defence of the UIM XCAT World Championship with Faleh Al Mansoori. Meanwhile Rashed Al Qemzi tops the current F2 standings.
F1 world champion says title favourites must reproduce form which took them to 24 Hours of Rouen victory
Shaun Torrente says patience will be a key factor as Team Abu Dhabi aim to secure the first of four world powerboat racing titles this season in Poland this weekend.
The reigning F1 world champion along with Emiratis Rashed Al Qemzi and Rashed Al Tayer and Italian Tullio Abbate in Abu Dhabi 35 are firm favourites heading into the decisive round of the World Endurance Championships getting under way in Augustów tomorrow.
But before starting today’s official practice session on the Necko Lake, Torrente made it clear that the crew will need to reproduce the level of performance which gave them an emphatic win in the 24 Hours of Rouen in France two months ago.
With the first of two six-hour races to follow tomorrow, Torrente said: “The key is to be patient, and not push too hard, especially in the first race. Just as it was in Rouen, we can’t afford to do anything to damage the boat.
“We need to avoid any mistakes, stay calm, and collect points over both days. The mood is very good and we bring a lot of confidence into this event after the win in Rouen. We’re all excited about the weekend and the chance to clinch the world championship.”
Also among the top contenders in Poland are the all-Emirati crew of Faleh Al Mansoori, Rashed Al Remeithi, Majed Al Mansoori and Mohamed Al Mehairbi who took Abu Dhabi 36 to third place in France.
The first six-hour race on the Necko Lake gets under way at 9am local time tomorrow with the second starting at 11am on Sunday.
Both Team Abu Dhabi crews were together in Evian last weekend where second place in the Grand Prix of France saw Torrente maintain his lead in this season’s UIM F1H2O World Championship.
Meanwhile, Rashed Al Qemzi leads the F2 title race after his dramatic victory in Lithuania. From Poland Torrente heads straight for Stresa, Italy to begin his defence of the UIM XCAT World Championship in partnership with Faleh Al Mansoori next weekend.
“It’s a busy schedule but I’m really up for the challenge,” said the Miami-based driver. “We have a great team atmosphere and fantastic technical and all round support. We all know what we need to do and we’re all focused on getting everything right on the day.”