Gabriele Mini beat Dino Beganovic by just a tenth of a second to win a chaotic penultimate Formula Regional Asian Championship race at Yas Marina Circuit.
Pierre-Louis Chovet started the 30-minute race from pole and performed an excellent start to lead initially but Mini launched over the kerbs as he held it around the outside.
There was three-wide and even four-wide racing throughout the field, before Mumbai Falcons’ Beganovic scrapping with Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema’s Jak Crawford over eighth went wrong and Crawford ended up stopped in an awkward position.
The safety car came out for just a lap, and Chovet’s small lead over a rapidly closing in Mini was cut. He waited until the last moment to bolt on the restart, and Mini once more ran wide and held it around the outside, and this time overtook Chovet.
Just behind the pair, Paul Aron collided with Ollie Bearman while squabbling over third. Both were eliminated and the safety car returned.
Mini was told by future F1 and current FRAC race director Eduardo Freitas to cede the position, which he duly did behind the safety car.
The restart came with just over a third of the race to go and Isack Hadjar rear-ended Patrik Pasma as they came back up to speed. That didn’t deter the Red Bull junior from lunging Chovet into the fast turn one, forcing the long-time leader off the racing line and well down the order.
This allowed Beganovic to lead new champion Arthur Leclerc as they pursued Mini.
Mini weaved down the back straight on the final lap, and Beganovic got a good switchback as the pair came onto the curved pit straight. A second win of the season went to Mini, just.
Leclerc was third, ahead of top rookie Pepe Marti who is close to securing the title runner-up spot.
Dilano van’t Hoff, who started on the front row but didn’t get a great start, was only able to recover to fifth just ahead of Michael Belov.
Sami Meguetounif survived contact with Francesco Braschi late-on to take seventh ahead of long-time leader Chovet, while Lorenzo Fluxa and Oliver Goethe rounded out the points positions.
Braschi dropped down to 16th after his brash move, while Hadjar and Pasma both finished well down the order, with the latter pitting late on with what seemed like damage from the incident with Hadjar on the second restart.
In the Masters’ classification, a spin for Thomas Luedi cost him victory Khaled Al Qubaisi, who seals the title there.
Race result (14 laps)
|1||Gabriele Mini||Hitech GP|
|2||Dino Beganovic||Mumbai Falcons||+0.104s|
|3||Arthur Leclerc||Mumbai Falcons||+0.813s|
|4||Pepe Marti||Pinnacle Motorsport||+1.991s|
|5||Dilano van’t Hoff||Pinnacle Motorsport||+2.900s|
|6||Michael Belov||Evans GP||+4.818s|
|7||Sami Meguetounif||Evans GP||+8.344s|
|8||Pierre-Louis Chovet||BlackArts Racing||+8.907s|
|9||Lorenzo Fluxa||3Y by R-ace GP||+10.334s|
|10||Oliver Goethe||3Y by R-ace GP||+12.065s|
|11||Ido Cohen||BlackArts Racing||+12.641s|
|12||Lena Buhler||3Y by R-ace GP||+14.815s|
|13||Nicola Marinangeli||Evans GP||+14.859s|
|14||Levente Revesz||Evans GP Academy||+15.708s|
|15||Vlad Lomko||Hitech GP||+16.554s|
|16||Francesco Braschi||3Y by R-ace GP||+18.518s|
|17||Ayato Iwasaki||Pinnacle Motorsport||+21.808s|
|18||Hamda Al Qubaisi||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||+22.728s|
|19||Amna Al Qubaisi||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||+23.993s|
|20||David Morales||Evans GP Academy||+26.585s|
|21||Owen Tangavelou||Hitech GP||+26.895s|
|22||Salih Yoluc||Pinnacle Motorsport||+27.633s|
|23||Khaled Al Qubaisi||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||+27.954s|
|24||Thomas Luedi||BlackArts Racing||+40.787s|
|25||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||+56.964s|
|Ret||Patrik Pasma||Evans GP|
|Ret||Ollie Bearman||Mumbai Falcons|
|Ret||Paul Aron||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema|
|Ret||Jak Crawford||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema|
|Fastest lap: Hadjar, 1m50.698s