Action from the inaugural round of the Formula Middle East Championship held at the Dubai Autodrome. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The inaugural round of the new Giti Tire-powered Formula Regional Middle East Championship Certified by FIA (FRMEC) took place at the Dubai Autodrome last weekend with three races and 27 international drivers competing. A trio of young talents celebrated victories – despite none of them being in leading positions in the championship.

Nikhil Bohra took advantage of the reversed-grid pole position of race two. R-ace GP’s 17-year-old Singaporean did not miss a beat in holding his lead all the way from the beginning, ahead of fellow Formula Regional rookie Aiden Neate (Prema Racing). Another rising star, Taylor Barnard was once again on the move, rising from behind the pack in eighth position to claim third by the end of the race.

Final race

After placing in 12th and 13th positions in the opening two races, Spanish talent Mari Boya claimed all the glory in the finale. The 18-year-old driver of the Hyderabad Blackbirds by MP Motorsport qualified his team’s car in second place, and got ahead of poleman, Andrea Kimi Antonelli on the opening lap of the final race. Boya left the Mumbai Falcons Rookie Cup winner, Antonelli, behind for the rest of the race to take a clear victory, with Pinnacle VAR’s Thai racer, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, taking home third.

With fourth and sixth positions from earlier races to add to his second in the finale, Italian Antonelli has moved into an early championship lead. Antonelli, who is supported by the Mercedes Formula 1 team, is six points ahead of his Mumbai Falcons teammate and Ferrari’s Brazilian protégé, Rafael Câmara, with Taylor Barnard a further two points behind. Clearly this intense battle is taking shape before the second round at the Kuwait Motor Town for round 2 on January 27 to 28, 2023 and round 3 on January 31 to February 1, 2023.