Mansoori leads world title race after Lithuania Grand Prix victory

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Mansoor Al Mansoori competes during the Lithuania Grand Prix.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al Mansoori is the new leader in the 2022 UIM F2 World Championship following a brilliant victory at the Grand Prix of Lithuania.

After securing his first F2 pole position in impressive style in Kupiskis, Mansoori produced a commanding performance 24 hours later to secure his maiden Grand Prix success by 2.416 secs from Sharjah Team’s Sami Selio.

It was a mature and impressive display from the Emirati driver who has steadily grown in confidence since joining Team Abu Dhabi last season, and now has the look of a genuine world title contender.

The result more than compensated Mansoori for his disappointment in Lithuania last year when he was forced out of the race after being rammed from behind while chasing a podium finish.

“I’m very happy, and I want to thank my team for all the hard work they put in to make this happen,” he said.

After problems in qualifying led to him starting the second round of the 2022 season in seventh place, team-mate and reigning world champion, Rashed Al Qemzi, reached the finish in sixth position.

However, the later disqualification of Monaco’s Giacomo Sacchi for technical reasons, and Portugal’s Duarte Benavente for a race infringement, promoted the three-times world champion to fourth.

It might have been even better for Rashed but for an incident which brought the race to a temporary halt on the first lap after he had started superbly.

Mansoori, who admitted to feeling pre-race nerves, showed no signs of that as he made a perfect start to reach the first turn in the lead.

Qemzi also got off to a flyer, and was quickly up to fourth before losing the three places he had gained when a collision between Swedes Johan Osterberg and Bimba Sjoholm brought out a yellow flag.

With Osterberg flipping and going out immediately, and Sjoholm exiting after the restart, Mansoori continued to lead comfortably from Selio.

He drove flawlessly through the 45 laps as he recorded a victory which gave him a three-point world championship lead from first round winner, Germany’s Stefan Hagin, who finished third on the day after also gaining two places as a result of the disqualifications.

While this was Mansoori’s first F2 Grand Prix win, he had already shown his big race temperament a year ago when he helped Team Abu Dhabi secure the World Endurance Championship in Poland.

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