TEAM ABU DHABI’S AL-QAMZI AND AL-MEHAIRBI CLAIM SUPERB

TEAM ABU DHABI’S AL-QAMZI AND AL-MEHAIRBI CLAIM SUPERB

Latvia’s Uvis Slakteris snatches last gasp victory in UIM F2 Lithuanian Grand Prix  Erik Edin claims

pole position as Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi qualify in ninth and 16th

ZARASAI (LITHUANIA): Sunday, August 28: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi continued their crucial summer of learning all about top level European power boating events by finishing in an impressive ninth and 10th overall in a pulsating UIM F2 Lithuanian Grand Prix on Lake Zaraso on Sunday.

Competing against some of the leading racers in the world to gain as much experience and boat time as possible, the pair settled in quickly to the rigours of the demanding weather and tricky water conditions to take another major step towards a first ever podium finish in the F2 racing discipline.

Scandinavian drivers dominated the delayed qualifying session on Saturday evening and pole sitter Erik Edin displayed his class with a dominant performance in the yellow-flag interrupted race on Sunday afternoon. The Swede led until the closing stages before ceding the lead near the end to the Latvian racer Uvis Slakteris. Austrian Rupert Temper finished second for the RSC - Regan team and England’s Owen Jelf rounded off the podium after Edin had slipped to fifth behind Russia’s Konstantin Ustinov in the unofficial results.

“This was an impressive display from both Rashed and Mohammed in a difficult race,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC). “Both of them finished inside the top 10 and the whole team can take many positives away from another successful European race.”

Team Abu Dhabi is sponsored by Etihad Airways and runs under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).

Lithuanian Grand Prix Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi lined up in ninth and 16th positions at the start of the UIM F2 Lithuanian Grand Prix in Team Abu Dhabi 35 and 36. An all-Scandinavian top three topped the qualifiers and pole-sitter Erik Edin made a good start to hold the advantage on the tricky 1.92km course.

Edin maintained his lead through the opening five laps, as Stefan Hagin and Uvis Slakteris climbed into second and third positions and Tobias Munthe-Kaas slipped to ninth. Neither of the Team Abu Dhabi boats started particularly well either and Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi were down in 12th and 14th positions after five laps. Johan Österberg had already retired.

Edin continued to control the race by 7.78 seconds from Hagin through lap 15, as Slakteris maintained a distant third from a pressing Owen Jelf. Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi retained 12th and 14th heading into lap 16. A yellow flag was raised several laps later, although Edin retained the lead from Hagin and Slakteris and Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi were classified in 10th and 14th. Nick Bisterfield fell out of contention and Matthew Palfreyman was also sidelined.

Racing resumed and, by lap 27, Edin led from Slakteris and Rupert Temper, after Hagin and Jelf had slipped back to eighth and ninth positions. Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi were running in 11th and 13th overall, but a second yellow flag brought racing to a stop soon afterwards and remained flying until lap 36.

Edin maintained his lead after the restart and began to edge away from Slakteris and Temper heading into the closing laps of the race. Al-Qamzi passed Bimba Sjöholm to claim ninth and Al-Mehairbi moved up to 10th at the expense of the Swede and Harri Lehti. Slakteris then snatched the lead late on and the Team Abu Dhabi duo reached the chequered flag in ninth and 10th places.

Saturday Edin was fastest in the first practice session on Saturday morning, the Swede guiding his Molgaard to the fastest lap of 46.91 seconds during a 32-lap stint on the Lake Zaraso course. Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi ran for 34 and 36 laps, respectively, and slotted into 15th and 16th positions in the impressive 18-boat field.

Qualifying was split into three sessions and was delayed by several hours because of gusting winds on Lake Zaraso. Bimba Sjöholm topped the timings in Q1, where Al-Qamzi registered the ninth fastest time and Al-Mehairbi fell just short of reaching Q2 and carded the 16th fastest time. Al-Qamzi safely survived the Q2 cut-off as well and reached Q3.

Pole position eventually fell to Edin with a lap of 44.91 seconds, but Al-Qamzi had achieved the team’s target of a Q3 placing and the Emirati found himself in ninth position with a lap of 47.78sec, with Pierre Lundin and Tobias Munthe-Kaas qualifying in second and third behind Edin.

The UIM F2 Championship now moves on to the Saône River and the French Grand Prix at Mâcon on September 10-11.

UIM F2 Lithuanian Grand Prix – result (unofficial @ 16.42hrs)

1. Uvis Slakteris (LAT) Riga Powerboat Team 45 laps

2. Rupert Temper (AUT) RSC – Regan @4.07sec

3. Owen Jelf (GBR) Owen Jelf Racing @7.72sec

4. Konstantin Ustinov (RUS) New Star @9.94sec

5. Erik Edin (SWE) Edin Racing Team @18.63sec

6. Roman Vandyshev (RUS) New Star @19.78sec

7. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Stromoy Racing F2 @21.63sec

8. Edgaras Riabko (LIT) F2 Lithuania L1

9. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi L1

10. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi L3