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Leclerc beats Pinnacle pair in Dubai to extend FRAC points lead

by Craig Woollard

Photo: FRAC

Mumbai Falcons completed a hat-trick in round three of the Formula Regional Asian Championship at Dubai Autodrome after Arthur Leclerc battled through to win for the second time this season.

Pinnacle Motorsport pair Pepe Marti and Dilano van’t Hoff battled off the front row at the start of the 30-minute race, with Marti getting into the lead ahead of van’t Hoff, Leclerc and Hitech GP’s Isack Hadjar – who made an excellent start.

Leclerc eventually was able to sneak his way into second as the Pinnacle duo started battling, before taking the lead briefly, only for Marti to return to the lead shortly after.

The trio were pulling away from the rest of the pack, with Marti a second ahead, before the safety car was called out for Hadjar coming to a stop. At the same time, Paul Aron pitted and Dino Beganovic dropped well down the order.

At the restart with 12 minutes to go, Marti made a crucial mistake into the corner at the end of the back straight, allowing Leclerc through into a lead he wouldn’t look back from.

The gap stayed at around the 1.2-second mark for much of the rest of the race as it calmed right down towards the end. Leclerc extends his championship lead to new second-placed driver Marti to 35 points. Mumbai Falcons swept the weekend, winning a race with each of its three drivers.

Marti and van’t Hoff rounded out the podium ahead of Sebastian Montoya, who took the fastest lap in his final appearance of the season.

Patrik Pasma was fifth ahead of Michael Belov, who was warned for track limits violations, Pierre Louis Chovet, Lorenzo Fluxa, Leonardo Fornaroli and Joshua Dufek.

Nicola Marinangeli and Jak Crawford were just outside of the points, while Beganovic could only recover to finish 15th.

In addition to Hadjar retiring, Aron failed to return to the circuit and Levente Revesz also dropped out early on.

Amna Al Qubaisi failed to start the race after pulling into the pits at the end of the formation lap. Father Khaled picked up a five-second time penalty for a false start, with the Masters’ category he contests won by Salih Yoluc who was 21st overall.

Race results (15 laps)
Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Arthur Leclerc Mumbai Falcons 31m04.418s
2 Pepe Marti Pinnacle Motorsport +1.160s
3 Dilano van’t Hoff Pinnacle Motorsport +2.009s
4 Sebastian Montoya Mumbai Falcons +2.936s
5 Patrik Pasma Evans GP +5.033s
6 Michael Belov Evans GP +6.384s
7 Pierre-Louis Chovet BlackArts Racing +8.224s
8 Lorenzo Fluxa 3Y by R-ace GP +9.822s
9 Leonardo Fornaroli Hitech GP +12.609s
10 Joshua Dufek Hitech GP +13.393s
11 Nicola Marinangeli Evans GP +13.550s
12 Jak Crawford Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +14.766s
13 Oliver Goethe 3Y by R-ace GP +15.501s
14 Francesco Braschi 3Y by R-ace GP +15.953s
15 Dino Beganovic Mumbai Falcons +16.651s
16 Hamda Al Qubaisi Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +17.048s
17 Ayato Iwasaki Pinnacle Motorsport +17.504s
18 Frederick Lubin Evans GP +18.991s
19 David Morales Evans GP Academy +22.080s
20 Owen Tangavelou Hitech GP +24.288s
21 Salih Yoluc Pinnacle Motorsport +26.246s
22 Thomas Luedi BlackArts Racing +29.247s
23 Khaled Al Qubaisi Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +31.980s
Ret Isack Hadjar Hitech GP
Ret Paul Aron Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema
Ret Levente Revesz Evans GP Academy
Ret Amna Al Qubaisi Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema
Fastest lap: Montoya, 1m56.793s

Championship standings
 Leclerc 131   2 Marti 96   Montoya 92   4 Beganovic 88   5 Hadjar 71   6 Hadrien David 64   7 Fluxa 56   8 Gabriele Mini 55   9 Crawford 52   10 Gabriel Bortoleto 46