Mansoor Al Mansoori competes during the qualifying session of the Lithuania Grand Prix.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Team Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al Mansoori underlined his challenge for the 2022 UIM F2 World Championship on Saturday by grabbing pole position for the Grand Prix of Lithuania.
Motivated by his second place in last month’s first round of the 2022 series in Poland, the Emirati driver produced a stunning performance to win a three-stage qualifying session hampered by gusting winds.
Mansoori edged out Sharjah Team’s Sami Selio in a thrilling shoot-out to ensure he will start an F2 race from the front for the first time tomorrow.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow,” said Mansoori. “I’ll be aiming to have a good start, and after I turn the first buoy I can keep my position.”
Team-mate and three-times F2 world champion Rashed Al Qemzi will start Sunday’s second Grand Prix of the season from seventh spot after narrowly missing a place in the shoot-out on a demanding circuit.
“The course was too crowded and it was very difficult to set a good time, but I’ll push hard tomorrow and everything is possible,” said Rashed.
The defending world champion is eager to bounce back with a big performance in Lithuania following his setback in Poland, where a race error from a backmarker put him out while he led the opening round.
Rashed Qemzi had quickly found his pace in Kupiskis, setting the fastest time in Saturday’s free practice session.
American Brent Dillard, who cracked a rib playing basketball last week, was forced to retire in pain and hand over the drive to Frenchman Peter Morin.
Sweden’s Bimba Sjoholm made a dramatic exit from the practice session when her boat barrel-rolled, and although she was able to start the first qualifying session, she soon went out with mechanical issues.
Flying Finn Selio was fastest in that session, with Mansoori in fifth and Rashed in sixth going through comfortably.
After Mansoori took an early lead in the shoot-out, Selio powered his way ahead, but the Emirati driver quickly responded to secure pole position. Germany’s Stefan Hagin, the first round winner in Poland, qualified in fifth place.