Home News Petrovic back in Saudi Arabian F4 lead as series finally races at home

Petrovic back in Saudi Arabian F4 lead as series finally races at home

by Ida Wood

Photo: Saudi Arabian F4

Saudi Arabian Formula 4 made its first venture into Saudi Arabia this week with a triple-header in Jeddah.

Qualifying ran on Thursday evening, and Andrej Petrovic set a 2m07.434s to take pole by 0.267 seconds over Kirill Kutskov. Oscar Wurz was third fastest, 0.304s behind, and Hamda Al Qubaisi qualified fourth. Four other drivers were within a second of pole.

Race one began at 10pm, and Federico Al Rifai jumped the start from fifth on the grid. He was immediately into second, and Petrovic sweeping to the inside to cover off Kutskov meant Al Rifai led on the outside entering turn one.

Wurz demoted Kutskov to fourth before the corner, and near-contact between the top two at turn two meant Wurz took second place from Petrovic as they accelerated through turn three.

Petrovic took the position back braking for turn four, then almost squeezed Wurz into the wall as they reached the pit straight again. At the end of lap two he dived down the inside of Al Rifai, and Wurz made it three-wide down the straight.

Petrovic led into turn one and swamped Al Rifai at the exit of turn two, with Wurz getting alongside for a bit but soon defending from Kutskov, who on lap five took the outside line for turn one and squeezed Wurz off at turn two. That enabled Al Qubaisi to pass him too.

Wurz reclaimed fourth at turn two on lap nine, and the race ended a lap later. Kutskov won, a five-second penalty dropped Al Rifai to third behind Kutskov, and Saqer Al-Maosherji lost fifth to Al Qubaisi after he got a 5s penalty for a double pass by cutting turn one on lap nine. Suleiman Zanfari did the same, and his penalty dropped him from sixth to eighth.

Points leader Al Rifai, Wurz and Abdulaziz Abuzenadah did not start the reversed-grid race two just before midnight, leaving a grid of 11, and Jabor Al-Thani fell from pole to last on lap one following an awful launch. Saud Al Saud went from third to first straight away ahead of front row starter Laura Villars, and Omar Aldereyaane got into third.

Kutskov went down the inside of Faisal Al-Kabbani for fourth at turn one on lap two, but it led to both going deep and Petrovic jumping ahead having been in seventh. Kutskov then cut turn two and was back ahead of Al-Kabbani and Petrovic, but Al-Kabbani was back in fourth by turn two.

Al-Kabbani was soon third, and began lap three by going to the outside of Al Saud as Aldereyaane went to the inside of him. Aldereyaane claimed the lead, and on the next lap the safety car appeared after Kutskov spun Al Saud at turn two.

On the lap six restart Petrovic lost his front wing driving into Al-Kabbani, and Al-Maosherji lost his too before spinning Zanfari into a wall. Kutskov took third from Petrovic at the end of the lap as the hobbled cars continued. Zanfari got a three-place grid penalty for driving his broken car.

Al-Kabbani took the lead starting lap seven of 13, and Aldereyaane cut turn two to reclaim it. A few corners later Al-Kabbani was back ahead and stayed there until the end. Kutskov resisted Amna Al Qubaisi for third.

Drivers’ third-best qualifying times set the grid for race three a few hours later, with Petrovic and Al-Maosherji on the front row as drivers started on used tyres. Petrovic won by 7.399s to become points leader.

Kutkov passed Wurz for fourth on lap three, but was penalised 5s for cutting turn two, then swept past Hamda Al Qubaisi on lap five. The penalty dropped Kutskov to sixth.

Results round-up
Race 1 (10 laps)
1 Andrej Petrovic 23m36.702s
2 Kirill Kutskov +5.787s
3 Federico Al Rifai +6.084s
4 Oscar Wurz +8.964s
5 Hamda Al Qubaisi +14.080s
6 Saqer Al-Maosherji +15.915s
7 Omar Aldereyaane +16.336s
8 Suleiman Zanfari +18.230s
9 Laura Villars +29.999s
10 Abdulaziz Abuzenadah +42.711s
Pole: Petrovic, 2m07.434s
Fastest lap: Petrovic, 2m08.148s

Race 2 (13 laps)
1 Faisal Al-Kabbani 31m45.691s
2 Aldereyaane +1.999s
3 Kutskov +5.459s
4 Amna Al Qubaisi +6.340s
5 Villars +13.216s
6 Jabor Al-Thani +40.719s
7 Petrovic +42.257s
8 H Al Qubaisi +45.013s
Ret Al-Maosherji
Ret Zanfari
FL: Al-Kabbani, 2m09.463s

Race 3 (10 laps)
1 Petrovic 22m07.935s
2 Al-Maosherji +7.399s
3 H Al Qubaisi +11.647s
4 Wurz +12.181s
5 Al Rifai +13.094s
6 Kutskov +13.426s
7 Zanfari +14.401s
8 Aldereyaane +22.396s
9 A Al Qubaisi +23.946s
10 Villars +39.416s
P: Petrovic, 2m07.630s
FL: Petrovic, 2m07.764s

Championship standings
1 Petrovic 173.5   2 Al Rifai 168   3 Zanfari 120.5   4 Al-Maosherji 114.5   5 H Al Qubaisi 112.5   6 Kutskov 112.5   7 Wurz 102.5   8 Aldereyaane 98   9 Al-Kabbani 58   10 A Al Qubaisi 30