Abu Dhabi: Luca Ghiotto and Alex Connor signed off their seasonal campaigns with a flourish by winning the F2 and F4UAE races, respectively, in the undercard of the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Manaf Hijjawi of Dragon Racing denied Xcel Motorsport a one-two finish after Saturday’s Race One winner Amna Al Qubaisi had crashed out in an incident-marred Trophy Round of the FIA Formula 4UAE.
Ghiotto then paced himself superbly to gift himself a fourth win of the season to finish the season third overall.
In the F4UAE, leading the push for a strong Xcel Motorsport finish was Connor — pursued by Manaf Hijjawi less than two seconds off the pace while teammate Tijmen Van Der Helm challenged for a third place nearly five seconds away.
Moving out of contention midway through the race was pole sitter Amna as the 19-year-old Emirati got involved in an incident with Saturday’s second place finisher Nicola Marinangeli.
Amna initiated an overtaking move on the turn even as Marinangeli took a rear wheel off her car. Younger sister Hamda also succumbed and pulled out — ending the Abu Dhabi Racing cars’ challenge in the Trophy Round race this weekend.
In F2 competition, Ghiotto was left with mixed feelings at the end of another campaign. “I am happy with this finish to the season but now when I think, any of the three of us could have been there challenging Nyck [De Vries] for the world title,” Ghiotto said.
“I think I won by being clever on the first few laps today, and the race was won after the first two or three by managing the tyres. I had a few issues with the brakes on Saturday and we still managed a sixth place. So I knew the car was fast and the key would have been to have a good start,” he added.
Dutchman de Vries was already declared world champion in the 12-round 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship following his triumph at the penultimate round held in Sochi, Russia at the end of September. Settling the teams’ title in their favour was the DAMS pairing of Latifi and Camara with their podium places on Saturday.
A feeder championship, the F2 competition is meant to be a breeding ground for second tier of formula racing in the FIA global pathway.
F2 (Trophy Round): 1. Luca Ghiotto (UNI-Virtuosi — Italy); 2. Nicholas Latifi (DAMS — Canada); 3. Sergio Sette Camara (DAMS — Brazil).
F4 UAE (Final Championship Round): 1. Alex Connor (Xcel Motorsport — UK); 2. Manaf Hijjawi (Dragon Racing — Jordan); 3. Tijmen Van Der Helm (Xcel Motorsports — Netherlands).