The Sharjah Team’s Sami Seliö will start the penultimate round of this year’s UIM F2 World Championship, the Grand Prix of Baião, from fourth place on the grid. Crucially though he qualified ten places ahead of the current championship points leader Mansoor Al Mansoori and eleven places ahead of Stefan Hagin who sits just ahead of Seliö in the standings.
“There are still a lot of points available, so I mustn’t take too much notice of the standings right now” said Seliö. “My goal is to win the race and get maximum points because you won’t know what will happen in the last round next weekend then look back to this one and say if only I had done that.”
His morning started with Free Practice where he tested just two propellers and quickly worked out which one he needed for the afternoon qualifying sessions.
“I know this track and found the feeling with the second prop we tested. I didn’t need to be out there very long, in fact I was surprised just how many drivers were out there for over forty laps, don’t they know there are no prizes in Free Practice.”
As the afternoon got closer to the start of the Qualifying sessions, the breezy weather conditions that are such a feature of this Douro River course returned adding a little spice to the proceedings. Seliö quickly posted a time of 47:83 seconds which he knew from experience would be quick enough to see him progress into Q2.
“F2 has become so challenging if you look at the times in Q1 just three seconds covered the entire entry.”
During the latter stages of Q2 Seliö began to realise that the acceleration problem that had plagued his race in Lithuania had returned. Fortunately, he had set a time which would see him through into Q3 but he knew that any chance of a pole position for the Grand Prix would be small.
“I’m happy with fourth place for tomorrows race but my mind know is occupied with how to fix the issue with this engine. This race is long and overtaking is hard as everyone is so evenly matched, you are almost waiting on the person in front of you to make a mistake to gain a place. This type of course is one where you need maximum speed, so naturally you would pick a long prop but then you compromise your start, although saying that the start for me has always been my biggest challenge.”
The UIM F2 Grand Prix of Baião gets under way with a forty-five-minute warm up session at 12:15 followed by the parade lap at 16:45 then the Grand Prix at 17:00 local Portuguese time.