Abu Dhabi: Arthur Leclerc, 21, was crowned 2022 Formula Regional Asian champion at the Giti Tire-sponsored Formula Regional Asian Championship, which concluded at the Yas Marina Circuit with him 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.
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.
Hitech GP’s Gabriele Minì was fourth, 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 teammate 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 Driver Championship 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.