Team Abu Dhabi driver Mansoori ready for tense climax to world title race

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Mansoor Al Mansoori says Team Abu Dhabi manager Guido Cappellini has taught him how to handle pressure.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al Mansoori says he is ready to handle the pressure as he bids to secure the 2022 UIM F2 World Championship in a tense finale to the season over the next two weekends in Portugal.

His first F2 Grand Prix victory in Lithuania last month has given the Emirati driver a three-point championship lead over Germany’ Stefan Hagin to take into Sunday’s penultimate round in Ribadouro.

With the final Grand Prix of the campaign to follow a week later and 270km away in Vila Velha de Rodao, Mansoori is determined to follow team-mate and three-times world champion Rashed Al Qemzi to the F2 crown.

“I’m not surprised to be leading because, from the start of the season, I was aiming to put myself in a good position,” he said.

“Competing alongside Rashed has given me a lot of extra confidence, and this helped me to take the lead in the championship with my first win in Lithuania.”

Mansoori paid tribute to Italian powerboat racing legend, Guido Cappellini, who has delivered 14 world titles to the UAE capital since taking over as Team Abu Dhabi manager in February 2015.

“We all owe so much to Guido for the success the team has enjoyed since he took charge,” he said. “He has built a great team spirit, and used his experience to take us to the top.

“The most important thing I’ve learnt from him is to focus, and always keep calm. Before the last round, his advice about how to deal with the pressure from the boats behind was so important.”

“It wasn’t easy to hold my lead for 45 laps. But that was a great experience, and now I want another strong finish on Sunday to take me into the last round.”

Back to back victories at the same two Portuguese venues 12 months ago secured a third F2 world championship for Rashed, who could yet land an overall F2 podium place.

“I want to have a strong finish to the season,” he said. “There are still 40 points to be won, and I can still finish in a good position in the championship.

“I like the conditions and the atmosphere and always enjoy racing in Portugal, so I have a good feeling going back there and I want to win again. But I also want to help my team-mates as much as I can.”

Added Rashed: “I’m so happy that he’s leading the championship. Before the last round in

Lithuania I told him not to think about any other drivers, just focus on himself, and he did a fantastic job.”

While his two closest title challengers are Hagin and Sharjah Team’s Sami Selio, they all face new competition in Portugal from the two-boat team of Australian brothers Brock and Damon Cohen.

The boats take to the water in Ribadouro for free practice at 11.15am local time on Saturday before the three-stage qualifying battle for pole position gets under way at 3pm. The Grand Prix of Baiao roars to life at 3.45pm on Sunday.

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