James Wharton became Formula 4 United Arab Emirates champion after an opening lap crash with his Mumbai Falcons team-mate and title rival Tuukka Taponen in the season finale.
Wharton and Taponen lined up first and third on the grid at Yas Marina Circuit, and Wharton immediately swept to the inside off the line to defend the lead while Arvid Lindblad dropped to the back from sixth on the grid.
Taponen tried going around the outside of Wharton at the opening corner, and that gave space for Prema’s front row starter Ugo Ugochukwu to briefly get his nose in on the inside of Wharton.
Despite running well wide exiting the corner, Taponen managed to take second and was able to attack Wharton again into Turn 12 (of the grand prix configuration, as F4 uses the support paddock pitlane and grid). However both ran off track and then collided as they rejoined the track for the direction change at Turn 13.
Wharton’s suspension broke and he was out of the race on the spot, while Taponen was able to creep back to the pits. The safety car was called out, and remained on track until the end of lap four as Kai Daryanani’s car needed to be recovered from the opening corner and Lindblad had stopped beside the track before even reaching that point.
As Taponen then did not reappear from the pitlane, it meant the title was Wharton’s but not in the style he would have wanted to secure it in.
Race-winning honours went to Ugochukwu, who had led the championship early in the season, as he inherited the lead once the pair ahead crashed.
When racing resumed on lap five he leapt away, while Noah Lisle spun down to 18th from third place.
Ugochukwu was unchallenged through the rest of the race, which ended under red flag conditions.
A crash between Bianca Bustamante and Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi at the opening corner, in which the pair went either side of Alexander Abkhazava before Bustamante got loose and careered into Bhirombhakdi then hit him again once they were off-track, led to a second safety car period and follwing that there were two laps of racing to go.
On the final lap Federico Rifai lost fifth to Brando Badoer, then spun at Turn 13 and was collected by Hamda Al Qubaisi. With their damaged cars stuck there, race control opted to end proceedings instantly.
Ugochukwu won ahead of Valerio Rinicella and Keanu Al Azhari, Pedro Clerot was fourth and Rifai was reinstated in fifth place until a 10-second penalty was issued post-race for the collion and he dropped to 20th.
Race results (10 laps)
|2||Valerio Rinicella||MP Motorsport||+0.800s|
|3||Keanu Al Azhari||Yas Heat||+1.432s|
|4||Pedro Clerot||MP Motorsport||+2.496s|
|5||Brando Badoer||Pinnacle VAR||+2.844s|
|6||Theophile Nael||Sainteloc Racing||+3.171s|
|7||Hamda Al Qubaisi||Yas Heat||+3.828s|
|9||Noah Stromsted||PHM Racing||+4.729s|
|10||James Piszcyk||Hitech GP||+6.453s|
|11||William Macintyre||Hitech GP||+6.547s|
|12||Akshay Bohra||PHM Racing||+7.069s|
|13||Valentin Kluss||PHM Racing||+7.377s|
|14||Noah Lisle||Xcel Motorsport||+9.240s|
|16||Muhammad Ibrahim||Mumbai Falcons||+9.707s|
|17||Raphael Narac||R-ace GP||+9.898s|
|18||Jesse Carrasquedo Jr||R-ace GP||+10.171s|
|19||Jack Beeton||Pinnacle VAR||+12.575s|
|20||Federico Rifai||Xcel Motorsport||+2.616s|
|21||Alexander Abkhazava||R-ace GP||+13.076s|
|22||Matteo Quintarelli||Yas Heat||+13.536s|
|23||Ismail Akhmed||MP Motorsport||+14.872s|
|24||Luciano Morano||Sainteloc Racing||+15.202s|
|25||Sebastian Murray||Cram Motorsport||+15.243s|
|27||Theodor Jensen||Sainteloc Racing||+16.366s|
|29||Kanato Le||Hitech GP||+17.326s|
|30||George Zhuravskiy||Xcel Motorsport||+17.732s|
|31||Flavio Olivieri||Cram Motorsport||+11.480s|
|32||Alexander Bolduev||Xcel Motorsport||+15.310s|
|Ret||Zachary David||R-ace GP|
|Ret||Nandhavud Bhrombhakdi||PHM Racing|
|Ret||Tuukka Taponen||Mumbai Falcons|
|Ret||James Wharton||Mumbai Falcons|
|Ret||Arvid Lindblad||Hitech GP|
|Ret||Kai Daryanani||Pinnacle VAR|
|Fastest lap: Ugochukwu, 1m57.633s