Wednesday, September 6: Rashed Al-Qemzi is a man in form and the young Emirati racer could well be the tonic that Team Abu Dhabi needs when he lines up in the team’s second boat alongside cousin Thani at this month’s Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy, the penultimate round of the 2023 UIM F1H2O World Championship.
The Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club (ADMSC) has confirmed that Al-Qemzi will replace the suspended defending World Champion Shaun Torrente in Sardinia in boat number five and will make his second appearance of the season in the F1H2O series after replacing Thani Al-Qamzi to snatch seventh place on the Yellow River at Zhengzhou in China.
Rashed previously competed as a stand-in driver for Team Abu Dhabi between 2016 and 2018. A decision on the driver line-up for the final round in Sharjah on the revised dates of December 8-10 will be taken after the Olbia-based race at the end of September, but it means that two Emirati drivers will represent Abu Dhabi in Italy.
Rashed has been focusing on winning the UIM F2 World Championship for the fourth time this season – to add to wins in 2017, 2019 and 2021 - and the 31-year-old followed up his victory at the Grand Prix of Lithuania with pole position and victory at last weekend’s second round, the Grand Prix of Italy, on the River Po at San Nazzaro in Italy. He now leads the F2 series by 16 points from Monaco-based rival Giacomo Sacchi.
Team Abu Dhabi currently holds third place in the UIM F1H2O Teams’ Championship on 40 points, with Team Sweden leading the way on 45 and the Sharjah Team holding second on 42. Rashed and Thani will both need to step up to the plate and challenge for podium finishes if the team operating out of the UAE is to retain the Teams’ title.