Formula 4 South East Asia driver Muhammad Ibrahim won the first round of the May Isolation Dallara F3 Esports series at Watkins Glen.
The Indian was the fastest throughout the event, starting with pole over April rival Ramez Azzam by 0.04 seconds. Less than 0.2s covered the top eight, which was completed by Formula 1 driver Lando Norris.
Due to the size of the entry list, the field was split into two heat races and Ibrahim was put up against Red Bull junior Liam Lawson and Nico Varrone in his five-lap heat.
Lawson could rival Ibrahim on race pace but made a mid-race error that lost him several places, and left BRDC British Formula 3 graduates Varrone and Johnathan Hoggard rounding out the podium. USF2000 Winterfest race-winner Michael Epps and former FIA Formula Two driver Ramon Pineiro were fourth and fifth.
Karter Ollie Bearman ended his race early after bumpdrafting a rival, joining several drivers having to enter the consolation race to make it through to the points-scoring feature encounter.
Azzam started heat two on pole, and also had a lights-to-flag win. Macau Grand Prix winner Richard Verschoor did briefly get past at the chicane on the first lap, but carried too much speed and immediately fell down the order after claiming the lead.
Norris looked to be Azzam’s closest rival until slowing mid-race, and Indy Pro 2000 racer Phillippe Denes claimed the runner-up spot ahead of Formula Renault Eurocup racer Victor Martins, Formula E star Oliver Rowland, Ginetta racer Josh Malin, Verschoor, Euroformula champion Felipe Drugovich, ex-British F3 racers Cameron Das and James Pull, and the unfortunate Norris.
Incidents wiped out most of the Consolation Race field, which ended with 10 finishers. The top five of those, led by Bart Horsten, made it through to the feature race.
Like in the heat, it was a case of domination for Ibrahim again in the longer feature race. His lead never grew very large, but he routinely set fastest laps and was never close enough for Varrone (complaining of early understeer) and Azzam in second and third to attempt an overtake.
Epps and Rowland rose up to finish fourth and fifth after Denes was speared into the barriers on the opening lap, with Drugovich right on their tail at the end of the race.
Hoggard started ahead, but struggled with his car and following a tap from Lawson he had his race ruined when he was collected at speed by Malin.
Lawson, Martins and IMSA star Tristan Nunez continued a thrilling scrap behind Drugovich, until Martins became one of many to be caught out by the Outer Loop right-hander after the chicane, and then Nunez too span to leave Lawson a lonely seventh.
A defensive drive earned Pineiro eighth over junior karter Kasper Sztuka, Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final runner-up Sandy Mitchell and IMSA’s Harry Tincknell.
Bearman rose all the way up to 12th from the back of the grid, while Norris’s race ended on lap two.