Victory Team’s Alex Carella threw himself in the mix for a chance to contest for the crown with a fourth spot finish in F2 qualifying at the Grand Prix of Portugal, on Saturday night.
Held on the scenic River Ribadouro, it was Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Qamzi who topped the qualifying charts with a best lap of 43.68seconds, leaving home driver Duarte Benavente to start alongside in second following a lap of 44.34 seconds. Edgaras Riabko, runner-up of the opening Grand Prix of Lithuania in Kaunas earlier this season, completed the top-3 finishes even as Victory Team’s F1 world champion Carella made a valiant bid with a quickest lap of 44.59 seconds.
The Grand Prix of Portugal is the penultimate round on the 2018 UIM F2 World Championship and is being held on the Douro River in Ribadouro, Portugal.
After two of the three races held so far, Victory Team drivers Mansoor Al Mansoori and Carella remain without any points. Starting as the lone driver at the season-opening Grand Prix of Lithuania in Kaunas, Al Mansoori retired with mechanical problems and followed this up with a second blank at the Grand Prix of Norway – the third round of the championship held in Tonsberg last month. Adverse weather conditions had forced the cancellation of the Grand Prix of Denmark – Round Two of the championship in Aalborg in mid-June.
Struggling to get positive results and points, Victory Team put Carella in the second new boat at last month’s third round in Norway and this strategy nearly paid off as the Italian went on to win the Speed Run beating Ola Pettersson in the Match Racing final. However, Carella could not sustain the momentum during the actual race the following day.
“Everything is new for us at the moment. It will take some time for both of us to settle in and get a hang of the new boats and set-up. The signs have been good this weekend and I hope we can come in with a strong finish by the end of the grand prix,” Carella said.
The overall standings are being dominated by Italian driver Alberto Comparato as he stays on top with two wins – in Lithuania and Norway – for a maximum 40 points. Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas is in second with 22 points, while Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko (15 points) and American Brent Dillard (14) are in third and fourth places.
Racing will take place on a five-pin, 1.765km race course at 3.45 pm (6.45 pm UAE time) on Sunday. After Portugal the drivers and boats will head for the final round of the UIM F2 World Championship to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in November.