Home News Taponen wins, Wharton takes F4 UAE points lead in Dubai race one

Taponen wins, Wharton takes F4 UAE points lead in Dubai race one

by Ida Wood

Photo: F4 UAE

Tuukka Taponen won the first Formula 4 United Arab Emirates race of the weekend at Dubai Autodrome, as Mumbai Falcons team-mate James Wharton moved into the points lead.

The two Ferrari juniors started on the front row and played it carefully going into the first corner of the race. While they got through cleanly, it was not long before the safety car was brought out on lap one as Sainteloc Racing’s Theodor Jensen and Mumbai Falcons’ Rishon Rajeev collided.

Racing eventually resumed on lap five, after several drivers had pitted for new tyres in an attempt to set fastest lap and PHM Racing’s Noah Stromsted had joined the field a lap down after failing to make the start.

It did not take long for drama to occur again once green flag action resumed, as the fight between Arvid Lindblad and Keanu Al Azhari for third place resulted in Lindblad spinning and both then pitting.

Brando Badoer moved into third following a great move on Hitech GP’s William Macintyre, but after defending that position it then allowed the top two to break away before the safety car was summoned again.

This time it was caused by Cram Motorsport driver Flavio Olivieri stopping at one of the hairpins, and before the safety car appeared there had been drama further up the order.

Ugo Ugochukwu had been put down to 12th on the grid after qualifying ninth, and he got up to 10th at the start before the first safety car period. He had then got up to seventh and a double move at turn one on lap eight of 10 almost worked but he then ran off exiting the corner and dropped him all the way back down the top 10.

With the second safety car period then extending to the end of the race, it meant Ugochukwu was restricted to ninth place.

It also prevented Wharton from having an opportunity to attack Taponen, but missing out on victory did not matter too much as Wharton moved ahead of Ugochukwu by five points to take the championship lead.

Badoer finished third on his series return, ahead of Hitech pair Macintyre and James Piszcyk.

The top debutant was Brazilian F4 champion Pedro Clerot (MP Motorsport) in 12th, with fellow newcomers Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi (PHM Racing) and Ismail Akhmed (MP) in 22nd and 24th. Fernando Barrichello (Carlin), another of the returnees, retired in the pits.

Race results (10 laps)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Tuukka Taponen Mumbai Falcons 27m54.290s
2 James Wharton Mumbai Falcons +0.155s
3 Brando Badoer Pinnacle VAR +0.456s
4 William Macintyre Hitech GP +0.701s
5 James Piszcyk Hitech GP +0.922s
6 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport +1.348s
7 Kanato Le Hitech GP +1.704s
8 Zachary David R-ace GP +2.016s
9 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +2.439s
10 Niko Lacorte Prema +2.761s
11 Dion Gowda Carlin +3.622s
12 Pedro Clerot MP Motorsport +4.510s
13 Federico Rifai Xcel Motorsport +5.040s
14 Hamda Al Qubaisi Yas Heat +5.230s
15 Noah Lisle Xcel Motorsport +6.157s
16 Lena Buhler R2Race +6.440s
17 Bianca Bustamante Prema +7.004s
18 Jack Beeton Pinnacle VAR +7.240s
19 Matteo Quintarelli Yas Heat +7.792s
20 Kai Daryanani Pinnacle VAR +7.989s
21 Sebastian Murray Cram Motorsport +8.715s
22 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing +9.236s
23 Luciano Morano R-ace GP +10.927s
24 Ismail Akhmed MP Motorsport +11.572s
25 Victoria Blokhina R2Race +14.949s
26 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing +16.295s
27 Alexander Abkhazava R-ace GP +17.381s
28 George Zhuravskiy Xcel Motorsport +18.695s
29 Alexander Bolduev Xcel Motorsport +19.514s
30 Akshay Bohra PHM Racing +19.908s
31 Raphael Narac R-ace GP +1 lap
32 Fernando Barrichello Carlin +1 lap
NC Jesse Carrasquedo Jr R-ace GP +2 laps
NC Noah Stromsted PHM Racing +2 laps
NC Arvid Lindblad Hitech GP +2 laps
Ret Flavio Olivieri Cram Motorsport
Ret Valentin Kluss PHM Racing
Ret Keanu Al Azhari Yas Heat
Ret Theodor Jensen Sainteloc Racing
Ret Rishon Rajeev Mumbai Falcons
Fastest lap: Ugochukwu, 1m54.497s

Championship standings
1 Wharton 149   2 Ugochukwu 144   3 Rinicella 127   4 Taponen 126   5 Lindblad 70   6 David 59   7 Kluss 50   8 Badoer 43   9 Nael 31   10 Stromsted 28