Pierre-Louis Chovet Leads Championship after F3 ASIA Yas Marina Double Header

Pierre-Louis Chovet Leads Championship after F3 ASIA Yas Marina Double Header

07.02.2021: • Race 7 and 8 wins put Pinnacle Motorsport Frenchman top of leaderboard at season reaches half way point • Mumbai Falcons India Racing Ltd.’s Jehan Daruvala revives title hopes with Race 9 victory • Three Round 3 podiums for China’s Guanyu Zhou

•    Race 7 and 8 wins put Pinnacle Motorsport Frenchman top of leaderboard at season reaches half way point


•    Mumbai Falcons India Racing Ltd.’s Jehan Daruvala revives title hopes with Race 9 victory


•    Three Round 3 podiums for China’s Guanyu Zhou keep Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema driver up in title contention



2021 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA
Yas Marina Circuit Abu Dhabi
races 7,8 and 9 - round 3





As the title fight for the 2021 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA titles continues, Pinnacle Motorsport’s Pierre-Louis Chovet swept to the top of the Driver Classification leaderboard with two commanding victories in Races 7 and 8 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. However former points leader Jehan Daruvala of the Mumbai Falcons India Racing Ltd. fought back with an untroubled run from pole-to-flag in Race 9.



Chovet grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Daruvala at the start of Race 7, and didn’t look back, the Indian Red Bull Junior Team driver having to settle for second, with Zhou taking the first of his three Round 3 podiums. Race 8 saw Chovet take his fourth series win from pole, followed over the line by Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema team mates Zhou and Dino Beganovic, the Ferrari Driver Academy youngster taking his fifth Rookie Cup win in the process.




 The final race for the championship on the 4.74km corkscrew configuration saw Daruvala win from pole, with Zhou once again second and 16-year-old 3Y Evans GP rookie Isack Hadjar of France claiming the final podium place as well as the Rookie Cup win.



With six races remaining of the 2021 season, after four race wins and a tally of 156 points, Chovet has a ten-point advantage at the top of the leaderboard over Daruvala, while Zhou has a 14 deficit from the top spot on 141. Hadjar lies fourth ahead of Beganovic, with the Hitech GP pair of Roy Nissany and Ayumu Iwasa in sixth and seventh.




BlackArts Racing’s Cem Bolukbasi lies eighth ahead of 3Y Evans GP’s Patrik Pasma and the Czech Roman Stanek of Hitech GP. Hadjar tops the Rookie Cup standings, 13 points ahead of Beganovic with Iwasa third.



In the Team Classification, Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema tops the leaderboard on 229 points, with the Mumbai Falcons India Racing Ltd. second on 160 ahead of Pinnacle Motorsport, Evans GP and Hitech GP.



Non-starters in Round 3 were the two 3Y Evans GP Team Oloi drivers Irina Sidorkova and Casper Stevenson after the pair bowed out from the series.



The F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA returns to the Dubai Autodrome for the penultimate round of the 2021 season, with Races 10-12 from February 12-14.







Race 7





After overnight desert winds blew sand onto the circuit, the drivers faced vastly different track conditions as they returned to the stunning Yas Marina facility, but that didn’t stop championship leader Jehan Daruvala locking in pole position for Race 7.



However, as the lights went out it was Pierre-Louis Chovet who stole the march on the Mumbai Falcons driver from P2, snatching the race lead into Turn 1 after a phenomenal start and setting off towards his third series victory.



Guanyu Zhou made a solid start but behind him Patrik Pasma was on the move from P6, sweeping past both Roy Nissany and Dino Beganovic to go fourth in the order. Nissany won out after a two abreast battle with Beganovic, dropping the Swedish rookie down to sixth from his P4 grid position and into the clutches of Red Bull Junior driver Ayumu Iwasa.



An opening lap incident between BlackArts Racing’s Lorenzo Fluxa and Rafael Villagomez brought out the safety car, with the Mexican retiring from the race out on track, and the Spaniard making it back to pit lane.



Chovet led the way at the restart, immediately pulling away from Daruvala and Zhou. An optimistic lunge by Nissany caught Pasma by surprise, the pair making contact and the Finn driving off the track and into retirement. Beganovic was quick to take advantage, diving past Nissany and up to fourth, regaining the places he had lost at the start.



Further down the order, Isack Hadjar had got by Roman Stanek and was desperately looking for a way past F3 rookie Cem Bolukbasi, but the Turk defended well. Not only did the rapidly-improving Bolukbasi keep the Frenchman at bay, but also passed Daruvala’s team mate Kush Maini before the flag to cross the line in seventh.



The BlackArts Racing team, meanwhile, had got Fluxa back on track with a fresh set of tires, and the Spaniard came out flying, setting the fastest lap to take provisional pole for Race 8, before retiring into the pits. While his scorcher of a lap was eventually bettered, Fluxa nevertheless secured his place on the second row.



Out in front though, Chovet remained untouchable, crossing the line with a 3.861 second margin over second placed Daruvala to record his third series win and taking the championship lead in the process. The 18-year-old Pinnacle Motorsport driver also set the fastest lap of the race in his final run to the flag to secure pole position for Race 8. Zhou claimed the final podium place ahead of Rookie Cup winner Beganovic, with Nissany in fifth ahead of Iwasa, Bolukbasi and Maini.



While Hadjar crossed the line in ninth ahead of Stanek, their positions were later reversed after the 3Y Evans GP rookie picked up a five second time penalty.






Race 8




It was another blinding start from pole by Pinnacle Motorsport’s Pierre-Louis Chovet at the start of Race 8, with Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema’s Guanyu Zhou falling in behind. Behind, Zhou’s team mate Dino Beganovic was away from P5 like a rocket, sweeping past both fellow rookies Lorenzo Fluxa and Isack Hadjar to go third, with Hadjar also getting by the Spaniard. Seconds later though, Beganovic and Hadjar were side by side into Turn 11, and the pair made contact, both swerving off track. Beganovic rejoined, retaining third, but it was the end of the race for the 3Y Evans GP driver.



Hadjar’s team mate Patrik Pasma fared better over what was an eventful opening lap. Having started from the back row of the grid, the Finn was up to 13th by the end of Lap 1.



Hadjar’s retirement meant Fluxa regained his P4 start position, but the BlackArts Racing driver now came under fire from team mate and fellow rookie Cem Bolukbasi. Behind the Turk, Jehan Daruvala led from Mumbai Falcons India Racing Ltd. team mate Kush Maini, who was manfully resisting the challenges of Hitech GP’s Roy Nissany. Homing in on the Israeli though was team mate Roman Stanek, the Czech getting by and replacing Nissany in Maini’s mirrors.



The first of two safety car interventions came after contact between Alexandre Bardinon and his Pinnacle Motorsport team mate German Matthias Luethen. At the restart, which came with 15 minutes remaining on the clock, Chovet again got away unchallenged, but this time Zhou wasn’t letting the Frenchman run away with the lead. But as soon as the action had resumed, the safety car was called out again, this time after contact between Nissany and Motorscape’s Nicola Marinangeli.



With a little over three minutes remaining, the safety car released the field and Chovet was leaving nothing to chance, masterfully controlling the restart and charging off towards his fourth victory, increasing his championship lead in the process.



The drama was not over though, and an incident further down the field saw contact between Pasma and Motorscape’s Roberto Faria result in the Finn’s retirement. The Brazilian continued, however, crossing the line in ninth.



Chovet took the flag from Zhou, with Beganovic third overall and taking his fifth Rookie Cup win. Fluxa took a well-deserved fourth place ahead of team mate Bolukbasi, with Daruvala and Maini sixth and seventh ahead of Stanek, Faria and Hitech GP Red Bull Junior Ayumu Iwasa rounding out the top 10.





Race 9




Jehan Daruvala made a perfect getaway from pole as the lights went out for the final time in Round 3, pursued into Turn 1 by Guanyu Zhou. But in an action-packed opening lap, Isack Hadjar got by Pierre-Louis Chovet in P3, dropping the Pinnacle Motorsport driver down to fourth. Patrick Pasma was the winner in a battle with Dino Beganovic, the Finn climbing to fifth before the Swede came together with Cem Bolukbasi resulting in both drivers’ retirements.




That incident brough out the safety car and, at the restart with 20 minutes remaining on the clock, Daruvala was quick on the gas to pull clear of Zhou.



An incident at Turn 14 between Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema’s Amna Al Qubaisi and Motorscape’s Roberto Faria ended the race for the Emirati rookie driver, with the Brazilian eventually rejoining at the back of the pack to eventually classify.



In the closing stages of the 15-lap race all eyes were on the battle between Daruvala’s team mate Kush Maini and Lorenzo Fluxa, the Spaniard desperate to find a way past the young Indian and the Mumbai Falcons India Racing Ltd. driver defending superbly from eighth. Maini refused to be rattled, holding his nerve all the way to the flag.



Daruvala crossed the line ahead of Zhou to take his third win of the season, followed by Hadjar – who set the fastest lap of the race - and Chovet in fourth. Pasma took fifth ahead of the Hitech GP pair of Roman Stanek and Red Bull Junior Driver Ayumu Iwasa, and their team mate Reece Ushijima holding off Pinnacle Motorsport’s Alexandre Bardinon, who later received a five second penalty demoting him to 13th, to take the final points in tenth.




- Nikki Kemp - photos F3 ASIA




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07.02.2021 / MaP

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