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Leclerc crowned FRAC champion with victory at Yas Marina

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: FRAC

In an uneventful opening race of the weekend, Arthur Leclerc took a dominant win from pole position to wrap up the Formula Regional Asian Championship title with two races remaining.

The Mumbai Falcons driver was untroubled throughout, taking the chequered flag three seconds ahead of team-mate Dino Beganovic.

Pepe Marti, the only driver with a chance of overhauling Leclerc in the standings coming into the race, made a disastrous start and had dropped back to 23rd by the end of lap one. Despite executing most of the race’s overtaking moves in a charge back through the field, Pinnacle Motorsport’s rookie could only recover to 12th.

Red Bull juniors Jak Crawford and Isack Hadjar finished third and fourth, albeit over 8.5s behind Leclerc.

The two ran in close company throughout, but apart from one move by Hadjar around the outside of turn nine at the halfway point of the 17-lap race, the Hitech GP driver was unable to challenge and Crawford was able to hold on to take the final podium position.

The top 10 rapidly spread out with very little racing action. Paul Aron took a distant fifth for Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema, 6.4s behind Hadjar, ahead of Ollie Bearman and Patrik Pasma.

Gabriele Mini was running in fifth when he was hit with a penalty for exceeding track limits. At the end of the final lap let three cars by so he would finish eighth, and actually recieved no further penalisation meaning he scored four points.

Dilano van’t Hoff took ninth, with his second lap pass on Pierre-Louis Chovet being the only on-track change of position in the top 10 after the first lap.

Race result (17 laps)
Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Arthur Leclerc Mumbai Falcons
2 Dino Beganovic Mumbai Falcons +2.999s
3 Jak Crawford Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +8.553s
4 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP +9.454s
5 Paul Aron Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +15.844s
6 Ollie Bearman Mumbai Falcons +18.912s
7 Patrik Pasma Evans GP +19.272s
8 Gabriele Mini Hitech GP +21.099s
9 Dilano van’t Hoff Pinnacle Motorsport +23.497s
10 Pierre-Louis Chovet BlackArts Racing +23.719s
11 Francesco Braschi 3Y by R-ace GP +25.992s
12 Pepe Marti Pinnacle Motorsport +29.925s
13 Sami Meguetounif Evans GP +34.459s
14 Michael Belov Evans GP +34.822s
15 Lena Buhler 3Y by R-ace GP +36.060s
16 Lorenzo Fluxa 3Y by R-ace GP +38.438s
17 Oliver Goethe 3Y by R-ace GP +39.617s
18 Hamda Al Qubaisi Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +47.016s
19 Ayato Iwasaki Pinnacle Motorsport +49.578s
20 Levente Revesz Evans GP Academy +50.805s
21 Vlad Lomko Hitech GP +56.751s
22 David Morales Evans GP Academy +58.392s
23 Owen Tangavelou Hitech GP +59.208s
24 Khaled Al Qubaisi Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +1m10.126s
25 Salih Yoluc Pinnacle Motorsport +1m10.425s
26 Thomas Luedi BlackArts Racing +1m17.905s
27 Ido Cohen BlackArts Racing +1m28.314s
28 Nicola Marinangeli Evans GP
Ret Amna Al Qubaisi Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema
Fastest lap: Leclerc, 1m50.896s

Championship standings
1 Leclerc 203   2 Marti 138   3 Hadjar 109   4 Beganovic 106   5 Crawford 101   6 Mini 87   7 Sebastian Montoya 92   8 Hadrien David 64   9 Aron 65   10 Fluxa 58