ABU DHABI: Team Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al-Mansoori is ready for the biggest challenge of his powerboat racing career as he bids to clinch the 2022 UIM F2 World Championship in Portugal at the weekend.
The Emirati driver heads into the final round of the season in Vila Velha de Rodao on Sunday holding a slender three-point championship lead over Sharjah Team’s Sami Selio, with Germany’s Stefan Hagin just one more point away in third place.
It all adds up to a thrilling climax to the title race, and a big test of nerve and skill for the top three as they battle it out on the Tagus River circuit.
Al-Mansoori said: “This is why we race, for the chance to take the title in the final event of the season, with only a few points between us.
“It couldn’t be much closer, or more exciting, and I’m looking forward to it because I have a great team behind me, and we’re ready for everything on the day.”
The UAE racer has already enjoyed one major title success since joining Team Abu Dhabi last year, sharing in the 2021 world endurance championship triumph with his team-mate in Portugal, Rashed Al-Qemzi.
Engine problems in Ribadouro last Sunday ended the three-times F2 world champion’s bid for a podium finish this season, but Al-Qemzi is still relishing the chance to repeat his win in Vila Velha de Rodao 12 months ago.
While Al-Mansoori, Selio, and Hagin battle it out for the title, they will also have to contend with the growing threat from Monaco’s Giacomo Sacchi, who took pole position followed by an impressive Grand Prix victory last weekend to move to fourth place in the standings.
If Al-Mansoori comes through the test to secure the F2 crown, it will be the 15th world title delivered by Guido Cappellini since taking charge as Team Abu Dhabi manager in February 2015.
The boats take to the water for free practice at 11.15 a.m. local time on Saturday, with the three-stage qualifying session getting underway at 3 p.m. The Grand Prix of Vila Velha de Rodao starts at 3.45 p.m. on Sunday.
UIM F2 World Championship leading positions
Mansoor Al-Mansoori (UAE) 40 points
Sami Selio (FINLAND) 37
Stefan Hagin (GERMANY) 36
Giacomo Sacchi (MONACO) 29
Edgaras Riabko (LITHUANIA) 23
Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NORWAY) 21
Rashed Al-Qemzi (UAE) 9
Sam Whittle (GREAT BRITAIN) 7