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Leclerc crowned Formula Regional Asian champion

In the Master Cup category, Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema Emirati driver Khaled Al Qubaisi clinched the title after taking an impressive eight wins in his first full season in the championship



There was double celebration in the Mumbai Falcons pit as the Indian outfit clinched the team title after a phenomenal season in the championship. — Supplied photo
There was double celebration in the Mumbai Falcons pit as the Indian outfit clinched the team title after a phenomenal season in the championship. — Supplied photo

By Team KT

Published: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 10:44 PM

Giti Tire-sponsored Formula Regional Asian Championship successfully concluded with stunning victory for 21-year-old Ferrari Driver Academy talent Arthur Leclerc, who was crowned 2022 Formula Regional Asian Champion at the Yas Marina Circuit, after a dominant victory in the opening race of the final round, taking the first title of his career with two races to spare.

There was double celebration in the Mumbai Falcons pit as the Indian outfit clinched the team title after a phenomenal season in the championship.

Yet again with the Covid-19 travel and logistics difficulties of gathering all drivers and teams, safely completing the series and a smooth result required great effort from all involved. Fortunately, the result turned out to be a very successful bringing one of the most exciting seasons in the six years of Formula Regional Asian Championship.

Among an entry filled to the brim with fledgling talent, one of the brightest lights of the season has been 16-year-old Spaniard Pepe Marti, his eye-catching racecraft and consistency seeing him challenge Arthur Leclerc for the overall title all the way to the final round, eventually finishing runner-up and earning 14 Super Licence points.

The battle for third in the championship raged all the way to the final race where winner, Red Bull Junior and Hitech GP driver Isack Hadjar, emerged from the four-driver shootout to claim the 12 Super Licence points.

Fourth was Hitech GP’s Gabriele Minì, equal on points with the Mumbai Falcon’s Dino Beganovic but ahead by virtue of number of wins.

Marti had wrapped up the Rookie Cup title with a round to spare, with team mate Dilano van’t Hoff, who joined the series from Round 2, ending the season second ahead of the Mumbai Falcons’ Sebastian Montoya, who dazzled in the opening three rounds he contested by taking a pair of overall race victories.

Second in the team classification was Hitech GP followed by Pinnacle Motorsport, Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema, 3Y Technology by R-ace GP, Evans GP, BlackArts Racing and Evans GP Academy.

In the Master Cup category, Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema Emirati driver Khaled Al Qubaisi clinched the title after taking an impressive eight wins in his first full season with the championship. Second was Pinnacle Motorsport series newcomer and accomplished GT competitor Salih Yoluç of Turkey, with BlackArts Racing long-time championship supporter Thomas Luedi third, the pair heading into the final race of the season separated by just a single point.

Despite winning the Rookie Cup title there was disappointment for Leclerc’s rival Marti, who heroically fought back from the rear of the field to 12th after failing to launch off the start in the title-deciding Race 1. Leclerc’s win earned him an unassailable points lead, successfully wrapping up the title and ending what had been a thrilling, season-long battle between the pair.

Second across the line behind Leclerc in Race 1 was Mumbai Falcons teammate Dino Beganovic ahead of American Red Bull Junior Jak Crawford of Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema. Mumbai Falcons Briton Ollie Bearman scored his second Rookie Cup win in just four races, while Khaled Al Qubaisi took a popular home win in the Master Cup category.

The final race of 2022 belonged to Hadjar, a wheel-perfect performance which saw him storm to victory from pole ahead of Minì and Paul Aron to secure third in the Driver Classification. Marti took his tenth Rookie win in 15 races from Hoff and Round 5 newcomer Sami Meguetounif of Evans GP Academy. Yoluç claimed the final Master Cup win of the season from Luedi.


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