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Ferrari junior Wharton wins in Kuwait’s first ever single-seater race

by Ida Wood

Photo: F4 UAE

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)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 James Wharton Mumbai Falcons 25m26.091s
2 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport +1.098s
3 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +1.665s
4 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing +3.023s
5 Arvid Lindblad Hitech GP +6.484s
6 Tuukka Taponen Mumbai Falcons +8.826s
7 Kanato Le Hitech GP +11.339s
8 Noah Stromsted PHM Racing +11.944s
9 Valentin Kluss PHM Racing +12.439s
10 Noah Lisle Xcel Motorsport +13.577s
11 Muhammad Ibrahim Mumbai Falcons +14.934s
12 Keanu Al Azhari Yas Heat +15.591s
13 William Macintyre Hitech GP +15.961s
14 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr R-ace GP +17.736s
15 James Piszcyk Hitech GP +18.136s
16 Jack Beeton Pinnacle VAR +25.201s
17 Hiyu Yamakoshi Pinnacle VAR +25.432s
18 Niko Lacorte Prema +25.648s
19 Theodor Jensen Sainteloc Racing +25.831s
20 Bianca Bustamante Prema +26.559s
21 Sebastian Murray Cram-Hitech GP +27.793s
22 Flavio Olivieri Cram-Hitech GP +28.489s
23 Jakob Bergmeister PHM Racing +28.692s
24 Matteo Quintarelli Yas Heat +33.707s
25 Emely de Heus MP Motorsport +35.715s
26 Kai Daryanani Pinnacle VAR +36.233s
27 Luciano Morano Sainteloc Racing +37.590s
28 Victoria Blokhina R2Race +37.740s
29 Raphael Narac R-ace GP +42.231s
30 Akshay Bohra PHM Racing +51.171s
31 Hamda Al Qubaisi Yas Heat +55.351s
32 Federico Rifai Xcel Motorsport +1m16.507s
Ret Zachary David R-ace GP
Ret Alexander Bolduev Xcel Motorsport
Ret Dion Gowda Carlin
Ret Lena Buhler R2Race
Ret Alexander Abkhazava R-ace GP
Ret George Zhuravskiy Xcel Motorsport
Fastest lap: Ugchukwu, 1m54.387s

Championship standings
1 Ugochukwu 82   2 Lindblad 55   3 Wharton 52   4 Taponen 47   5 Rinicella 44   6 Brando adoer 28   7 Nael 24   8 Kirill Smal 22   9 Kluss 16   10 Stromsted 14