Home Formula RegionalFRegional Middle East Taponen ends FRegional Middle East season with another win

Taponen ends FRegional Middle East season with another win

by Ida Wood

Photo: FRMEC

Tuukka Taponen ended his title-winning Formula Regional Middle East season at Dubai Autodrome with a fifth win in the series.

The R-ace GP driver started on pole but lost the lead down the pit straight to PHM Racing’s Brando Badoer, who had the inside line. However when Sainteloc Racing’s Theophile Nael tried squeezing to the inside of Badoer, the leader’s attention switched to defending against him and that enabled Taponen to reclaim first place by the time he entered turn one.

After a safety car period than ran through laps three and four, caused by MP Motorsport’s Nikhil Bohra crashing at turn one on lap two by driving over his own front wing, Taponen pulled away to win the 15-lap encounter by three seconds.

Badoer and Nael provisionally finished second and third, pending an investigation, and Taponen’s team-mate Zachary David rose from sixth to fourth on lap one then held the position.

Mumbai Falcons’ Ugo Ugochukwu led MP’s Bruno del Pino, PHM’s Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and his own team-mate James Wharton in the battle for fifth on lap two, but after the lap five restart there was a lot of change. Rafael Camara passed Evans GP’s Costa Toparis then cleared Wharton and Inthraphuvasak on lap six, with the latter then ending his race in the pits.

Wharton was 14th by the end of the lap, with Pinnacle Motorsport’s Mari Boya now in fifth ahead of Ugochukwu, del Pino and Camara. Completing the top 10 was Evans GP’s John Bennett and PHM’s championship runner-up Taylor Barnard who had made such a slow launch that he dropped from fifth to 19th at the start but was up to 14th on the restart lap and was in the points by lap seven.

Boya managed to distance himself from Ugochukwu, who had del Pino and Camara chasing but never close enough to attack. Barnard passed Bennett on lap eighth, and challenged Camara towards the end of the race but could progress no further.

In addition to Bohra, there were three other drivers who retired in the first two laps. Pinnacle Motorsport’s Finley Green picked up front-left wheel damage, Xcel Motorsport’s Yaroslav Veselaho spun at turn one and Isaac Barashi had a collision that ended his race on the spot.

Wharton recovered to 11th by passing Toparis late on, but dropped from fourth to sixth in the championship standings behind David and Boya.

Race result (15 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 31m45.966s
2 Brando Badoer PHM Racing +3.004s
3 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing +3.683s
4 Zachary David R-ace GP +6.796s
5 Mari Boya Pinnacle Motorsport +8.701s
6 Ugo Ugochuckwu Mumbai Falcons +13.107s
7 Bruno del Pino MP Motorsport +14.480s
8 Rafael Camara Mumbai Falcons +15.199s
9 Taylor Barnard PHM Racing +15.825s
10 John Bennett Evans GP +17.751s
11 James Wharton Mumbai Falcons +19.263s
12 Costa Toparis Evans GP +20.260s
13 Kanato Le R-ace GP +22.048s
14 Noah Lisle Xcel Motorsport +22.649s
15 Jesse Carrasquedo R-ace GP +25.872s
16 Alexander Abkhazava Pinnacle Motorsport +28.063s
17 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing +28.446s
18 Jose Garfias Sainteloc Racing +29.937s
19 Emmo Fittipaldi MP Motorsport +31.279s
20 Giovanni Machio Pinnacle Motorsport +36.575s
21 Edgar Pierre Evans GP +37.716s
22 Zhongwei Wang R&B Racing +41.127s
23 Yujia Gao R&B Racing +43.023s
24 Ruiqi Liu PHM Racing +43.410s
Ret Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak PHM Racing
Ret Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport
Ret Finley Green Pinnacle Motorsport
Ret Yaroslav Veselaho Xcel Motorsport
Ret Isaac Barashi MP Motorsport
Fastest lap: Taponen, 1m56.982s

Championship standings
1 Taponen 255   2 Barnard 176   3 Camara 128   4 David 112   5 Boya 112   6 Wharton 111   7 Ugochukwu 105   8 Martinius Stenshorne 100   9 Inthraphuvasak 86   10 Badoer 76