James Wharton won the first ever single-seater race to be held in Kuwait, as part of the Formula 4 United Arab Emirates championship.
The Ferrari junior qualified third for the opening race of the weekend at Kuwait Motor Town, behind MP Motorsport’s Valerio Rinicella and Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu.
Rinicella led the field through half of the history-making first lap, with Mumbai Falcons driver Wharton passing him just before the safety car was called out.
The race was then red flagged, due to multiple midfield incidents that had taken place in different parts of the track and involved several cars losing wheels.
The field sat in the pits for 12 minutes before the race restarted, with a new slightly shorter length and a safety car restart.
Rinicella tried regaining the lead once racing action resumed, getting alongside Wharton on the long run to turn two – the first proper braking zone of the lap – but being unable to go for a pass on the leader from the outside line.
Federico Rifai dropped out of the fight for points with a broken front wing, and Arvid Lindblad rose up to fifth to begin a battle with Tuukka Taponen.
Gradually he shook off Taponen, while Wharton up front also gapped himself from Rinicella who eventually fell into the clutches of the faster Ugochukwu in third.
On several laps towards the end of the race they ran side-by-side on the run to turn two, with the lengthy high-speed run from the last corner of the lap and the second providing a strong slipstream effect, but Ugochukwu could not get by.
Rinicella defended hard on the penultimate lap, and Ugochukwu even had a lock-up as he got just as aggressive, and their battle meant Wharton was able to win with a gap of a second.
Theophile Nael was a lonely fourth, Lindblad was fifth and Taponen got sucked into battle with Kanato Le for some laps but eventually finished ahead of him to secure sixth. Noah Stromsted finished just on their tail, while Valentin Kluss and Noah Lisle were the final pointscorers.
Muhammad Ibrahim and Keanu Al Azhari were fighting for points early in the race, but got shuffled down the order to their eventual positions of 11th and 12th.
Race results (11 laps)
|Keanu Al Azhari
|Jesse Carrasquedo Jr
|Emely de Heus
|Hamda Al Qubaisi
|Fastest lap: Ugchukwu, 1m54.387s