Round 4 at the Dubai Autodrome marks the penultimate round of the Formula Regional Asian Championship before the drivers move back to Abu Dhabi for the finale. Let’s see who gets the spotlight from that weekend.
Paul Aron Bounces Back.
Aron finished 3rd last year in the Formula Regional Europe and was a long way ahead of his Prema teammates. He is expected to be a championship contender, given his experience in the Tatuus T-318. However, he had three difficult opening rounds, with only four-point finishes to his name. The Estonian finally showed his talent in round 4 with two stunning poles in both qualifying sessions.
His engineer said they finally found the optimum set-up for his rear suspension geometry, which proved pivotal in his performance last weekend. Unfortunately, he failed to convert both of his poles to race wins. He moved up to tenth place in the driver’s standings, with two podiums and a points finish in Round four.
Ollie Bearman is one of the fastest junior prospects in 2021. He came from his impressive double F4 titles and earned a Prema F3 seat shortly after. These short two rounds gave him a taste of F3 machinery and F3 racing before his debut in the main championship one month later.
He had a reasonable debut, racing for the flying Mumbai Falcons outfit. Bearman finished sixth in both qualifying sessions, just around a tenth behind his two teammates. In race one, while juggling for positions, he touched Dino Beganovic’s car, which caused instant damage for the Swede. He finished seventh, even though he had a great start.
In race two, another strong start saw him in P2 for most of the race, having started 4th. In the last few laps, Crawford reeled in and was much faster than him. Oliver produced some fantastic defensive moves, only for the American to snatch second place at the flag.
Hadjar Breakthrough Victory.
Isack Hadjar recently joined the Red Bull Driver Academy and earned himself a Hitech F3 seat for this season. Being in the Red Bull Academy means the pressure is there for him and Hadjar finally delivered. He came off from a poor round three with two great qualifying sessions. He qualified P2 and P4 respectively.
The French driver got a slightly better start than polesitter Aron. He produced a stunning move on the outside of turn one, which saw him take the lead. Hadjar never let it go and crossed the chequered flag with a comfortable gap to Aron. Unfortunately, Race two saw him with a broken clutch. Hadjar also struggled with tire degradation in Race 3 and languished down in P10.
Race 1 classification here.
Finnish driver Patrik Pasma returned to the series in round three for Evans GP, a struggling team compared to last season. He was impressive in 2021 and this year as well. Pasma made up nine positions in Race one, having started P18. He started alongside polesitter Braschi and out dragged him into turn one.
He took the lead and was never troubled by Bearman. Even with a Safety Car, he won the race by a whopping nine seconds. The Finn scored points in all three races and gave Evans GP great cause for celebration as they achieved their maiden win in 2022.
Race two classification here.
Impressive Marti Keeps it Alive.
Rookie Pepe Marti has had an impressive season as he put up the fight against F3 veteran Arthur Leclerc. He never fell out of the top four in all three races and kept the title fight alive. In Race one, he nearly snatched P2 at the flag from Aron but fell short by 0.050 seconds. Races two and three saw him calmly make his way through the field and expertly manage his tires. Marti ended up scoring five points less than Arthur, who also had an impressive weekend.
Race three classification here.
The pair will be separated by 40 points when they come to Abu Dhabi this weekend for the finale. With the total points allowance of 75, the championship is still up for grabs. Just a year ago, Guanyu Zhou overcame an even larger point gap to Chovet to take the 2021 title.
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