Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema’s Guanyu Zhou dominated the opening race of the 2021 Asian Formula 3 season as the three Formula 2 drivers locked out the podium positions.
Alpine Formula 1 tester Zhou led every lap from pole position to secure victory at Dubai Autodrome by 6.997 seconds from his fellow F1 tester and F2 regular Roy Nissany.
Williams F1 junior Nissany, who will drive for DAMS in F2 this year, passed Frenchman Pierre-Louis Chovet on the opening lap to move into a second position that he’d remain in until the chequered flag.
Hitech GP’s Nissany fended off fellow F2 driver Jehan Daruvala (Mumbai Falcons) as well as Chovet all race long. The trio ran in a tight formation with Daruvala and Chovet but they were unable to find a way through.
Ferrari junior Dino Beganovic closed onto the back of the trio in the closing laps of the race, having passed Esports ace Cem Bolukbasi earlier in the race. Beganovic was unable to pass Chovet and instead rounded out the top five for Prema on his competitive debut in F3 machinery.
Fellow Formula 4 graduate Ayumu Iwasa finished in sixth place for Hitech, which is the team the newly-signed Red Bull junior will race for in FIA F3 in 2021.
BlackArts Racing’s Bolukbasi, who ran fifth in the opening stages, finished in seventh in his first single-seater race since his Formula Renault Eurocup cameo in 2019.
French F4 graduate Isack Hadjar took eighth place in the first race for the new Evans GP team, ahead of team-mate Patrik Pasma. Reece Ushijima rounded out the top 10 for Hitech.
The biggest causality of the race was Daruvala’s Mumbai Falcons’ team-mate Kush Maini, who was forced to pit for repairs after colliding with Rafael Villagomez (BlackArts) on the opening lap. Maini finished down in 21st while Villagomez retired.
Zhou set the fastest lap of the race, so he’ll start race two from pole, ahead of Maini and Beganovic.
Race results (19 laps)
|1||Guanyu Zhou||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||19 laps|
|2||Roy Nissany||Hitech GP||+6.997s|
|3||Jehan Daruvala||Mumbai Falcons||+7.553s|
|4||Pierre-Louis Chovet||Pinnacle Motorsport||+7.854s|
|5||Dino Beganovic||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||+8.509s|
|6||Ayumu Iwasa||Hitech GP||+10.861s|
|7||Cem Bolukbasi||BlackArts Racing||+19.520s|
|8||Isack Hadjar||3Y Evans GP||+19.891s|
|9||Patrik Pasma||3Y Evans GP||+20.716s|
|10||Reece Ushijima||Hitech GP||+23.717s|
|12||Roman Stanek||Hitech GP||+25.373s|
|13||Alessio Deledda||Pinnacle Motorsport||+26.977s|
|14||Lorenzo Fluxa||BlackArts Racing||+31.142s|
|16||Amna Al Qubaisi||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||+38.539s|
|17||Casper Stevenson||3Y Evans GP||+42.061s|
|18||Alexandre Bardinon||Pinnacle Motorsport||+49.861s|
|19||Irina Sidorkova||3Y Evans GP||+1m00.869s|
|20||Matthias Luethen||Pinnacle Motorsport||+1m08.102s|
|21||Kush Maini||Mumbai Falcons||+1 lap|
|Ret||Rafael Villagomez||BlackArts Racing|
|DNS||Zdenek Chovanec||BlackArts Racing|
Fastest Lap: Zhou 1m35.992s
1 Zhou 25 2 Nissany 18 3 Daruvala 15 4 Chovet 12 5 Beganovic 10 6 Iwasa 8 7 Bolukbasi 6 8 Hadjar 4 9 Pasma 2 10 Ushijima 1