Pepe Marti won the reversed-grid Formula Regional Middle East race at Yas Marina Circuit, while Andrea Kimi Antonelli was crowned champion with a race to go despite a penalty.
Antonelli and rival Taylor Barnard started 15th and 13th respectively on the grid after making contact with each other in the previous race, but Antonelli finished lap one in 12th and Barnard was 21st after a slow start.
While Antonelli passed Martinius Stenshorne for 11th, Barnard recovered to 19th, then got up to 16th on lap three. Although Barnard was able to make further progress up the order, he had to win the race to keep the title battle going into the finale and even Antonelli getting a 10-second penalty for spinning Sebastian Montoya at the final chicane did little to help his prospects.
Barnard then avoided a penalty of his own for late contact with Levente Revesz, and a move at the finish on Nikita Bedrin earned him ninth place. But Antonelli, down in 14th after his penalty having been running 10th on-the-road, was the one celebrating at the end.
At the front of the race there had also been a high-stakes battle. Shin made a strong start from reversed-grid pole to escape any pressure from Kirill Smal, as Pepe Marti went from fifth to third on lap one and front row starter Nikola Tsolov dropped to fourth.
Marti was heaping pressure on Smal by lap four, and almost got a move done at the final chicane on lap five, then used the slipstream on the way to turn one to overtake Smal around the outside there.
The fight between the top three did not hot up again until lap 11, as Marti tried to pass Shin for the lead around the outside of the chicane. Once again it helped him set up a move at the opening corner, but stuck on the outside line he ended up flying over the kerbs and was lucky not to damage his car.
Shin had to defend turn one again next time by, but Marti got ahead later in the lap and then started weaving to try to break the tow to Shin and Smal.
That worked as Shin now became preoccupied with Smal behind, and had to hold him off at the Turn 5 hairpin when Smal locked up as he tried to go down the inside.
Marti met the chequered flag at the end of lap 16 with 1.9s in hand, with Shin and Smal completing the podium.
Lorenzo Fluxa briefly passed Dufek on the final lap but then flew over the kerbs at the opening corner and finished behind him in fifth.
Rafael Camara came home sixth on the road, but recieved a 10s penalty for spinning Sami Meguetounif at the final chicane so Tsolov took the position in his second FRegional race.
Race result (16 laps)
|1||Pepe Marti||Pinnacle VAR||30m04.581s|
|3||Kirill Smal||Mumbai Falcons||+2.580s|
|4||Joshua Dufek||PHM Racing||+4.226s|
|5||Lorenzo Fluxa||Mumbai Falcons||+4.880s|
|6||Nikola Tsolov||R&B Racing (GRS)||+7.076s|
|7||Nikhil Bohra||R-ace GP||+8.440s|
|8||Martinius Stenshorne||R-ace GP||+9.144s|
|9||Taylor Barnard||PHM Racing||+15.439s|
|10||Nikita Bedrin||PHM Racing||+15.574s|
|11||Mari Boya||Hyderabad Blackbirds||+16.024s|
|12||Rafael Camara||Mumbai Falcons||+16.265s|
|14||Andrea Kimi Antonelli||Mumbai Falcons||+19.739s|
|15||Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak||Pinnacle VAR||+20.206s|
|16||Brad Benavides||Hyderabad Blackbirds||+20.606s|
|17||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||+21.326s|
|18||Owen Tangavelou||Hyderabad Blackbirds||+24.062s|
|19||Cenyu Han||R&B Racing||+24.269s|
|20||Levente Revesz||R-ace GP||+29.535s|
|21||Niels Koolen||Pinnacle VAR||+30.107s|
|22||Daniel Mavlyutov||Hitech GP||+35.481s|
|23||Ruobin Tang||R&B Racing||+51.070s|
|24||Tim Tramnitz||R-ace GP||+3 laps|
|Ret||Sami Meguetounif||Hyderabad Blackbirds|
|Ret||Giovanni Maschio||R&B Racing|
|Fastest lap: Antonelli, 1m51.517s