Andrea Kimi Antonelli came from 10th on the reversed grid for his second Formula Regional Middle East win at Kuwait Motor Town.
His Mumbai Falcons team-mate Kirill Smal started on pole, and initially had Aiden Neate attacking him from second place before he was spun around on turn two on the opening lap. That led to several other drivers going off or getting hit, and the safety car was called out with Smal leading Taylor Barnard, Joshua Dufek, Rafael Villagomez, Mari Boya and Lorenzo Fluxa.
Racing resumed on lap four, and Barnard went for the lead on the inside of turn one. Both he and Smal were then passed on the inside by Dufek at turn two and he started to pull away.
A mistake on the next lap cost him though, with Barnard passing for the lead but then going off. Smal got by Dufek for second, but did not have the pace to match Barnard.
For several laps there was battles for second and also between Boya, Villagomez and Fluxa behind for fourth. These fights culminated on lap nine as Smal and Dufek went off and Fluxa got into third ahead of Dufek.
At the same time Antonelli jumped up to fifth, having previously been running in eighth, and he soon passed Dufek who – like many drivers – struggled for traction at a dusty final corner.
Smal started to create a gap in second place, and Antonelli came on top in a three-wide move to keep fourth before later battling past Fluxa for third at turn two.
With just over five laps to go, Barnard’s lead started to evaporate and the race turned on its head. He had something wrong with his car, and after being passed by Smal then fell all the way down the order.
Now Smal had a big lead over Antonelli, but that was not to last and the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior tracked him down and passed him on lap 14 of 16. In the final two laps he pulled away by 4.364 seconds, while Smal lost second to Villagomez on the final lap but fought back past to reclaim the position.
Dufek finished just behind in fourth, with Fluxa holding off Boya and a charging Nikhil Bohra for fifth.
The dusty last corner led to the lower positions often changing as drivers went off, and Sebastian Montoya emerged at the front of the next group of cars to finish eighth.
Post-race, Dufek was penalised five seconds and Smal was penalised 40s, dropping them to seventh and 20th respectively.
Race result (16 laps)
|1||Andrea Kimi Antonelli||Mumbai Falcons||31m24.611s|
|2||Rafael Villagomez||Pinnacle VAR||+4.502s|
|3||Lorenzo Fluxa||Mumbai Falcons||+6.078s|
|4||Mari Boya||Hyderabad Blackbirds||+6.672s|
|5||Nikhil Bohra||R-ace GP||+6.909s|
|6||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||+9.644s|
|7||Joshua Dufek||PHM Racing||+9.727s|
|9||Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak||Pinnacle VAR||+12.179s|
|10||Brad Benavides||Hyderabad Blackbirds||+13.101s|
|11||Martinius Stenshorne||R-ace GP||+13.418s|
|12||Sami Meguetounif||Hyderabad Blackbirds||+13.984s|
|13||Levente Revesz||R-ace GP||+14.176s|
|14||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||+16.270s|
|15||Joshua Duerksen||Hyderabad Blackbirds||+17.415s|
|17||Giovanni Maschio||R&B Racing||+22.952s|
|18||Ayato Iwasaki||Pinnacle VAR||+27.954s|
|19||Daniel Mavlyutov||Hitech GP||+30.356s|
|20||Kirill Smal||Mumbai Falcons||+4.364s|
|21||Niels Koolen||Pinnacle VAR||+36.628s|
|22||Zhongwei Wang||R&B Racing||+51.120s|
|23||Cenyu Han||R&B Racing||+1m01.480s|
|24||Taylor Barnard||PHM Racing||+3 laps|
|Ret||Matias Zagazeta||R-ace GP|
|Ret||Nikita Bedrin||PHM Racing|
|Ret||Rafael Camara||Mumbai Falcons|
|Fastest lap: Bohra, 1m50.043s