Jehan Daruvala Leads Championship after Double Victories in Round 2

Jehan Daruvala Leads Championship after Double Victories in Round 2

06.02.2021: 2021 F3 ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP CERTIFIED BY FIA PROVISIONAL Yas Marina Circuit, UAE Round 2 (Races 4-6) February 4-5, 2021 Two wins and a podium earn Mumbai Falcons ace a single point advantage at top of leaderboard


2021 F3 ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP CERTIFIED BY FIA PROVISIONAL
Yas Marina Circuit, UAE    Round 2 (Races 4-6)
February 4-5, 2021



•    Two wins and a podium earn Mumbai Falcons ace a single point advantage at top of leaderboard


•    Race 6 win puts Pierre-Louis Chovet second in standings for Team Classification leaders Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema


•    Three podiums for 3Y Evans GP rookie Isack Hadjar put him top of the class




The F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA saw a sensational trio of races in Round 2 of the 2021 season as the competition intensifies. Jehan Daruvala of the Mumbai Falcons India Racing Ltd. jumps to the top of the Driver classification after two consecutive victories in Races 4 and 5, and a podium in the final race.



A flawless pole-to-flag win in Race 6 on the 4.73km corkscrew track configuration puts Pinnacle Motorsport’s Pierre-Louis Chovet second in the standings, just a single point behind Daruvala.



Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema’s Guanyu Zhou finished second behind Daruvala in Race 4, and ahead of 16-year-old Frenchman Hadjar who took the Rookie Cup win. Race 5 saw Daruvala fend off a determined Hadjar to claim his second successive victory, while rookie Dino Beganovic of Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema claimed his third podium of the season. A dramatic Race 6 saw Chovet take a dominant win from Daruvala, with Hadjar third overall and notching up his third consecutive Rookie Cup win.



Daruvala tops the Driver classification on 95 points after six of 15 races, one point head of Chovet. After a jaw dropping comeback in Race 6 to finish well into the points after stalling on the grid in P2, Zhou lies third in the standings just five points behind Daruvala.



Fourth is Rookie Cup leader Hadjar ahead of fellow rookie, Dino Beganovic of Team Classification leaders Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema, with the Hitech GP duo of Roy Nissany and Ayumu Iwasa sixth and seventh. 3Y Evans GP driver Patrik Pasma and BlackArts Racing’s Cem Bolukbasi are tied on 23 points in eighth place, with two more Hitech GP drivers, Reece Ushijima and Roman Stanek rounding out the top 10.



The 2021 season of the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA continues on February 5 and 6, with Round 3.




Race 4


Jehan Daruvala lined up on pole for the first of six races at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina circuit, with 16-year-old F3 rookie Isack Hadjar alongside. As the lights went out, Daruvala got a strong start but Hadjar made a spirited dive on the inside into Turn 1. Daruvala had it covered though, and it was points-leader Guanyu Zhou who came roaring past the young Frenchman into Turn 2 and up to second.



Pierre-Louis Chovet didn’t get away well off the start, and had dropped from P4 to sixth by the end of lap 1, behind team mate Patrik Pasma and F3 rookie Dino Beganovic.



While Zhou was initially able to keep Daruvala within range, the Mumbai Falcons driver was able to pull a gap of more than a second by the mid-way point, before the Chinese ace once again reeled in his rival. All the while, Hadjar was putting in a strong drive in third, keeping the leading pair within range and staying clear of fellow rookie Beganovic behind.



The closing laps revealed Daruvala’s smarts when it came to tire management, with Zhou dropping back and into the clutches of Hadjar, who forced him to defend hard. That enabled Beganovic to close in on the battling pair, but he was denied a shot at a podium when, just one lap from the flag, he came to a halt on track with an engine problem.



Daruvala, meanwhile, added to his thunderous pole-to-flag victory by setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap, thereby securing pole for Race 5. He crossed the line 3.185 seconds clear of Zhou, who increased his Driver championship lead over Chovet to nine points, with Hadjar taking his second overall podium and maiden Rookie Cup victory to go top of the class.



Pasma finished fourth ahead of Chovet, with the Hitech GP pair of Roman Stanek and Roy Nissany in sixth and seventh, Cem Bolukbasi eighth for reigning Team champions BlackArts Racing ahead of two more Hitech GP drivers, Ayumu Iwasa and Reece Ushijima.





Race 5



Jehan Daruvala took his place on pole position for the start of Race 5 and, once again, it was rookie youngster Isack Hadjar who lined up alongside, the battle between experience and untested talent mirrored on row two with team mates Guanyu Zhou and Dino Beganovic.



Daruvala made another blinding getaway but, behind him, Hadjar had to defend from the hard charging Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema pair who were also jostling for position between themselves, Beganovic diving past Zhou and up to third.



With Daruvala, Hadjar and Beganovic all initially evenly matched, the Indian driver controlled the pace as he had done in Race 4, but Hadjar could smell victory, pushing hard and closing up to the race leader. Beganovic too entered the fray and at the third distance mark, Hadjar moved to the outside of Daruvala, Beganovic on the inside, the trio three abreast in what Daruvala described as a ‘game of chicken’. Brave on the brakes into the chicane, Daruvala held both his nerve and his race lead, shaking off the young pretenders.



It wasn’t long though before Hadjar once again filled Daruvala’s mirrors, the youngster doggedly pursuing his maiden series victory. With ten minutes remaining on the clock, the Frenchman once again made a move, but Daruvala’s arsenal of experience still had the ammunition to fend off the assault.



Increasingly frustrated and with better race pace, Hadjar took every chance he could to snatch the win, his final all-out attack coming on the final lap. But Daruvala – despite having virtually no grip left – held his ground to take his second consecutive win and move to within three points of Zhou in the championship.



Beganovic took a well-earned third series podium ahead of team mate Zhou, with Pinnacle Motorsport’s Pierre-Louis Chovet fifth ahead of 3Y Evans GP’s Patrik Pasma. BlackArts Racing’s Cem Bolukbasi crossed the line in seventh, ahead of a Hitech Grand Prix trio of Roy Nissany, Roman Stanek and Red Bull Junior driver Ayumu Iwasa.





Race 6



Pierre-Louis Chovet blasted off the grid from pole at the start of the final race of Round 2, and was not to be headed on his thunderous run to the flag, the cool-headed Frenchman unfazed by an early safety car intervention.



In what was a dramatic race start behind Chovet, Zhou stalled on the grid in P2, eventually getting the car going but joining the rear of the field. The Chinese ace then staged an epic comeback, tearing up through the pack to eventually cross the line fifth and well in the points.



Others weren’t so fortunate, however, an opening-lap battle for position seeing Patrik Pasma drop right down the order from his P2 grid position after a coming together with Dino Beganovic, and Pinnacle Motorsport’s Alessio Deledda and the Evans GP pair of Irina Sidorkova and Casper Stevenson all involved in an incident which brought out the safety car and saw all three retire.



Gainers from the opening lap chaos were Jehan Daruvala, promoted to second after Zhou’s start line stall, Isack Hadjar, Hitech GP Red Bull Junior driver Ayumu Iwasa who made a blinding start from P9, and his team mate Reece Ushijima.



When the safety car pulled off, Chovet controlled the restart superbly, slamming his foot down and once again pulling clear of the pack. Daruvala, meanwhile, was immediately under attack from Hadjar, who himself was under pressure from an on-fire Iwasa.



While Hadjar once again stayed right on the back of Daruvala, he wasn’t able to mount as fierce a threat as he had in Race 5, and the Indian driver kept his head down to cross the line second and claim the top sport in the Driver Classification.



Iwasa finished fourth behind Hadjar, with Zhou claiming fifth after a sensational last-lap move on rookie Ushijima in sixth. Hitech GP drivers Roy Nissany and Roman Stanek were seventh and eighth, ahead of rookies Roberto Faria of Motorscape and BlackArts Racing’s Cem Bolukbasi.




- Nikki Kemp, photos F3 Asia


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06.02.2021 / MaP

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