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Home win for Benavente

Chris Davies on 8th October 2017

Duarte Benavente has won at his home Grand Prix, the UIM F2 the Grande Premio de Portugal.

In calm conditions, pole sitter Benavente led the way at the start from Sweden’s Pierre Lundin, Ferdinand Zandbergen and Nelson Morin, with Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi down in ninth and needing to push his way through the field to prevent Lundin snatching a third F2 title in the 45-lap race.

Al-Qemzi made a good start and was able to move up to sixth on the opening lap, as Benavente and Lundin held on to first and second places.

But the yellow flag was raised at the start of lap three after Tobias Munthe-Kaas stopped on the course.

Racing resumed on lap six and Benavente continued to hold the lead from Lundin and Zandbergen, as Al-Qemzi climbed to fifth after briefly slipping to seventh.

The Emirati remained on course for the world title and held his position through the next few laps behind Benavente, Lundin, Zandbergen and Comparato.

The top 10 held station through 19 laps and Tem Abu Dhabi began the agonizing countdown of the laps to the chequered flag.

If the positions remained like this, Lundin would earn 15 points Al-Qemzi’s seven and the Emirati would win the title by five points.

But the Emirati continued to press on and managed to snatch fourth place at the expense of Zandbergen heading into lap 27.

By two-thirds distance, after 30 laps, Benavente led Lundin by just 2.16 seconds and, despite constant pressure from Lundin, the veteran Portuguese racer held on to seal an historic win on home waters by just 1.75 seconds.

Comparato rounded off the podium and Al-Qemzi reached the finish in fourth to claim the world title.

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