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)
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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