Home Featured Antonelli takes FRegional Middle East title despite penalty

Antonelli takes FRegional Middle East title despite penalty

by Ida Wood

Photo: FRMEC

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)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Pepe Marti Pinnacle VAR 30m04.581s
2 Michael Shin Prema +1.900s
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
13 Aiden Neate Prema +17.856s
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

Championship standings
1 Antonelli 185   2 Barnard 142   3 Fluxa 122   4 Camara 116   5 Boya 104   6 Dufek 93   7 Marti 78   8 Bohra 75   9 Meguetounif 65   10 Dino Beganovic 62