The adrenaline-packed F2 Water Formula World Championship Qualifying Race started today at the Klaipėda Cruise Ship Terminal in the harbour shipping channel. Nineteen professional watercraft pilots from all over the world, including two Lithuanian representatives - Edgaras Riabko and Egidijus Dagilis - took to the start line.
Thousands of spectators came to watch the World Championships live, and hundreds more gathered in a special VIP area. Ugnė Siparė, who has returned to LRT for this championship, interviewed the pilots of the water-cutting cars immediately after the show.
The qualification swims took place here today at 17:00. The first 20-minute qualifying session saw 18 heats sailed by pilots from 12 countries. The 15 pilots with the best times qualified for the second qualifying heat, which lasted 15 minutes, with all previously recorded times cancelled. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, Egidijus Dagilis of Lithuania was not allowed to start and did not continue the race.
Riabko, who has shown excellent results at previous World Championships, started the first round in 15th place, but improved his result in the last seconds and finished the first qualifying round in 14th position, thus advancing to the second round, where he unfortunately finished in 12th place. As a result, Riabko is out of the third qualifying round and hopes to make up for it tomorrow.
"I'm not very happy with my result. The engine seems to be working well, but I'm not happy with the performance, I'm still cautious. But the race is not over, it's just started, there is tomorrow and everything will be clear then. I think I didn't train enough this morning, and of course there is fatigue, although I am trying to show that I am fresh, but the organisational stuff is getting in the way a bit. All the time I was swimming I was hearing that it was very close, I was trying to push, but it is what it is. The plan for tomorrow is to take a big risk, to put the lightest propeller, which is the best on the start, but then it won't be easy to sail with that, but you can't help it, you have to defend. I feel everyone's support and I will give it my all tomorrow," said Riabko, who will tentatively start tomorrow from the twelfth position, after the qualification.
Only the fastest 6 of the 19 drivers - Rashed Al Qemzi, Tobias Munthe-Kaas, Stephan Arand, Colin Jelf, Mansoor Al Mansoori and Giacomo Sacchi - made it through to the third round of qualifying, where they will battle it out for the best starting position for tomorrow's final. Giancomo Sacchi from Latvia finished the round with the best result, followed by Stefan Arand, 21, from Estonia in second place.
The final of the F2 Water Formula World Championship will take place tomorrow, Sunday at 17:00. You can watch it live at the Klaipėda Cruise Ship Terminal or live on LRT.