Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Qemzi finishes sixth as Palfreyman wins opening UIM F2 race in Brindisi

Mansoor Al Mansoori sidelined after eight laps of Italian season opener


Brindisi, Italy, 30 June, 2024: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi started the defence of his UIM F2 World Championship with a sixth position at the Grand Prix of Italy in Brindisi on Sunday evening.

The opening round of the series was interrupted by three yellow flag stoppages and the disjointed nature of the racing did nothing for Al Qemzi’s chances of climbing through the field after a disappointing qualifying session. Al Qemzi’s Emirati team-mate Mansoor Al Mansoori was forced to retire with technical issues after eight laps.

Victory fell to Briton Matt Palfreyman, who made a spectacular return to the sport following several years away from the driving seat. Italian Tullio Abbate and Lithuanian Edgaras Riabko rounded off the podium places.

Al Qemzi and Al Mansoori lined up in ninth and 10th positions on the pontoon for the start of the 38-lap race with Abbate holding pole from his nephew Giacomo Sacchi and Palfreyman.

Al Qemzi moved up to eighth on the run out to the first turn buoy but Al Mansoori slipped to 12th as Palfreyman moved into an early lead from Sacchi and Abbate. The leading group then held station through several laps as Palfreyman began to edge away from his closest two Italian pursuers. Al Mansoori slipped behind Peter Žak and into 13th before withdrawing from the race after eight laps with technical issues.

Al Qemzi was entrenched in eighth behind David Del Pin and was not able to pass on the narrow course where waves rebounding off the harbour walls made conditions even more difficult. The race was yellow-flagged on lap 12 after an accident and resumed seven laps later with Al Qemzi retaining eighth position.

Palfreyman retained his slender advantage over Sacchi and Abbate at the front of the field until the race was yellow-flagged for a second time three laps later. The top three held station at the restart in increasingly choppy conditions but Al Qemzi slipped a place to ninth, only for racing to be halted for a third time when Sacchi flipped his boat out of second place, Abbate and Duarte Benavente climbed into the podium positions and Al Qemzi regained eighth.

Only four laps remained after a third restart and Palfreyman held on to snatch the win from Abbate and Riabko with Al Qemzi starting his F2 campaign with points for sixth after moving up a place on the last couple of laps.

Seventeen of the 18 drivers took part in the morning’s warm-up session with Al Qemzi and Al Mansoori running for 19 and 12 laps, respectively. Edgaras Riabko topped the timed with a lap of 42.585sec.


Action in the UIM F2 World Championship resumes with the Grand Prix of Norway in Tønsberg on August 2nd-4th.