They might have started the day on equal points but tonight Sweden’s Pierre Lundin is the toast of the Maconnais – Beaujolais wine region after not only winning the UIM F2 Grand Prix of France but also securing enough points to reclaim his World Championship title in the process after his title rival Erik Edin crashed out just eleven laps into the fifty five lap race.
As the start the light went out Edin once again made the perfect start and quickly opened up a gap over Lundin who had started back in fifth place. Around the short course on the River Saone the action was fast and frenetic as the eighteen drivers battled their way through the choppy condition. Amongst the early retirements was Mette B. Bjerknæs, who had started from third place on the grid. Just seven laps in her Moore hull hit a wash and flew through the air. “I saw the wash but it was too late” said the Norwegian driver. “As the boat landed I knew something had broken because I lost my power-steering, it was impossible to continue so I had to pull off the course. Yes, I’m a little bit disappointed but qualifying shows that I’m beginning to master this hull.”
After the disappointment of losing a certain victory at the last round of the 2016 UIM F2 World Championship Sweden’s Erik Edin bounced back to success when he produced a stunning lap time to take pole position at Grand Prix of France in Macon.
The joint championship leader had struggled all morning during ‘free practice’, so the team decided to swap engines over during the lunch break. “With the team I have around me I know that we can make those decisions and they will just get the job done” said Edin, “so then it was just down to me to finish the job off.” Making steady progress through Q1 and Q2 Edin knew that he had the pace he needed and would eventually qualify three tenth’s of a second quicker than Tobias Munthe-Kaas. “That’s works out to be an advantage of just over fifty metres around this course” said Edin, “but the biggest advantage tomorrow will be getting ahead of those other seventeen boats, because I think this course will get rough very quickly and I want to be out in front when that happens.”
This weekend World Championship powerboat racing returns to the River Saône in France after a fifteen years absence and without doubt the most successful international driver ever to race in this Burgundy region is really looking forward to bringing his new team to city of Macon.
Between 1993 and 2000 Guido Cappellini, the now Abu Dhabi Race Team Principal, was never off the podium when the UIM F1 World Championship visited the commune of Chalon-sur-Saône just forty minutes drive from Macon, in fact he took a unprecedented five French Grand Prix victories during those seven years.
The first ever UIM F2 World Championship Grand Prix to take place in Lithuania kept everyone guessing right up to the final lap as to who would eventually take the top prize.
Just moments into the race Pierre Lundin crashed out at the top of course. “I was so late away from the start pontoon that as we reached the demarcation buoy I was down in fourth place” said Lundin. “So I knew I had to take a chance to make up some lost ground.” The Swede went tight into the following turn but hit the rooster spray from his title rival Erik Edin and over he went. “I thought I would take a chance but it didn’t work this time.”
“Just another pole position, no I love it, I’m really satisfied” said a delighted Erik Edin after he secured that all important number one spot on the start pontoon for Sunday’s Lithuanian F2 Grand Prix.
The qualifying session was due to take place at 13:45 but due to strong gusts of wind the race officials decided on the grounds of safety to postpone it till 18:00 when they knew that the conditions would be more favourable.
The 2015 F2 UIM European Championship will probably be best remembered by those images taken of the crash between Johan Osterberg and Rupp Temper, like this one by Johan Frisk. At the time Temper was on course to win the title but the impact saw his chance slip away and also led to Osterberg sitting out for the remainder of the weekend in Zarasai.