Team Abu Dhabi manager Guido Cappellini expects Rashed Al Qemzi to round off a brilliant season with victory on home waters this weekend.

Already installed as the 2019 UIM F2 world champion, Al Qemzi has the chance to claim another place in the record books by winning on the series’ first visit to the UAE capital, and team manager Cappellini expects the Emirati driver to do just that.

“If the championship was still wide open, the pressure on the team and the driver would be incredible,” said the Italian ten-times former F1H20 world champion ahead of Saturday’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.

“But Rashed is already champion so there is no pressure. He just wants to do a good job. He’s thinking only to win this race, and we believe he will.”

As Al Qemzi and the rest of the 20-strong F2 line-up assembled at Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club for this afternoon’s free practice, Cappellini paid tribute to the 27-year old Emirati driver who was Nations Cup and F4-S world champion before his first F2 triumph in 2017.

“I have known Rashed for five years and in this time I’ve seen a big difference in him,” he said. “He is more disciplined, he works harder, and this is the combination that brings results. I’m not surprised by what he has done this season. I saw his potential a long time ago. He is a real talent.

“Since he stepped up a grade he has won the F2 world title twice in three years. That’s not easy, as this is one of the most difficult race categories in the world.”

Reflecting his team manager’s confidence, Al Qemzi said before free practice: “I feel very good, and I’m happy to race in my country. It will mean a lot to me to win here in Abu Dhabi, but I’m relaxed for this race.”

Al Qemzi expects “a big fight” to ensue in Saturday afternoon’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi between Portugal’s Duarte Benavente, Sweden’s Ola Pettersson, Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen and Germany’s Stefan Hagin, the four drivers battling for second place in the championship.

The starting grid for the race will be decided in the three-stage qualifying session getting under way at 3.30pm on Friday over the 1.825m Grand Prix circuit providing ideal viewing for spectators between the Corniche and the Breakwater. Caption:  Team Abu Dhabi manager Guido Cappellini with Rashed Al Qemzi.

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