Sebastian Montoya and Dilano van’t Hoff claimed the poles as Formula Regional Asian Championship took to Dubai Autodrome’s longer Grand Prix layout for this weekend’s races.
The switch to a different circuit configuration meant the tyres were worked harder, and with the ambient temperatures higher than the previous weekend it also contributed to a more difficult job to set multiple flying laps.
That meant it took a while for drivers to set a banker lap in Q1, with BlackArts Racing’s Masters classification entrant Thomas Luedi actually briefly sitting at the top of the times.
Mumbai Falcons’ Montoya eventually set a 1m55.869s to go fastest, just as team-mate Dino Beganovic posted a 1m56.232s, and a few moments later practice pacesetter Jak Crawford got himself on the front row with a 1m56.036s.
Fellow Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar then usurped Montoya at the top of the times, but the Hitech GP driver was shuffled back a place when Montoya set a 1m55.467s with six minutes remaining of Q1.
Few drivers were able to improve after that due to rising temperatures, and the order settled at the front with Crawford and Hitech’s Leonardo Fornaroli qualifying third and fourth.
The only change was a late flyer from Pinnacle Motorsport’s Pepe Marti that brought him into the top 10 in seventh.
Q2 started similarly to Q1, and Luedi’s Masters rival Khaled Al Qubaisi was the early pacesetter this time.
As the first on track, Mumbai Falcons’ drivers were also first to reach representative laptimes and Montoya set a 1m56.124s benchmark.
Pinnacle’s van’t Hoff and Marti then became the pair to beat, with van’t Hoff jumping to a 1m55.297s that Marti then bettered by 0.041s.
Van’t Hoff improved again to claim pole with a 1m55.110s, and again the final five minutes passed with little change in the top 10.
Mumbai Falcons’ Arthur Leclerc had a lap deleted but beat Montoya to third, with Hadjar fifth and Hitech’s Joshua Dufek qualifying sixth with an early lap.
Evans GP’s Cem Bolukbasi, stepping up to Formula 2 this year, was absent after a round one crash left his car too damaged to compete last weekend and has now led to him leaving FRAC.
“Stopping FRAC campaign to prepare mentally and physically in the best way possible for the F2 championship,” he said. “After having bad luck in the first weekend and missing round two, it was impossible to get the desired superlicence points.”
Race 1 grid
1 Sebastian Montoya Mumbai Falcons 1m55.467s
2 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP +0.340s
3 Jak Crawford Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +0.370s
4 Leonardo Fornaroli Hitech GP +0.407s
5 Paul Aron Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +0.455s
6 Dino Beganovic Mumbai Falcons +0.488s
7 Pepe Marti Pinnacle Motorsport +0.514s
8 Arthur Leclerc Mumbai Flacons +0.559s
9 Dilano van’t Hoff Pinnacle Motorsport +0.574s
10 Lorenzo Fluxa 3Y by R-ace GP +0.605s
Race 3 grid
1 van’t Hoff 1m55.110s
2 Marti +0.146s
3 Leclerc +0.757s
4 Montoya +0.841s
5 Hadjar +0.846s
6 Joshua Dufek Hitech GP +0.877s
7 Pierre-Louis Chovet BlackArts Racing +0.899s
8 Patrik Pasma Evans GP +0.952s
9 Fornaroli +0.983s
10 Fluxa +1.028s