Ayumu Iwasa fended off well from Victor Martins and Jehan Daruvala to win a thrilling sprint F2 race in Saudi Arabia.
Reverse grid F1 pole-sitter Jak Crawford made a good start in Saudi Arabia in his Hitech GP car as DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa jumped to second from Campos pair of Ralph Boschung and Kush Maini, where the Indian kept ahead of MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala.
A wide moment from Virtuosi’s Jack Doohan allowed Prema’s Oliver Bearman and ART’s Victor Martins to sixth and seventh, with the Australian dropping to final point place in eighth from ART’s Theo Pourchaire and Prema’s Frederik Vesti in the Top 10.
With pace advantage, Iwasa took sprint F2 lead from Crawford at Turn 1 as safety car was deployed after a spin for Carlin’s Zane Maloney at the exit of Turn 1. The re-start worked well for Iwasa, but Crawford lost second to Boschung at Turn 1.
Daruvala cleared Maini as well who was pushed a bit towards the wall which cost him a place to Bearman too. Later in the lap, the Indian driver dropped behind Martins as Pourchaire got him on the next lap to be eighth from Doohan and Vesti.
As Boschung hurried Iwasa for the race lead, Daruvala cleared Crawford as Pourchaire rammed onto Bearman at Turn 1. He came through and jumped Martins even to collide with the Prema car which resulted in a safety car period.
He apologised straight on as Iwasa led Boschung, Daruvala, Crawford, Martins, Maini, Doohan and Vesti in the points position. The re-start was good at the front with Top 3 being steady but Crawford lost couple of places to Martins and Maini.
He came back on Maini on the final corner but the Indian came back to retake fifth. All of these cars joined the fight at the front where Daruvala and Martins cleared Boschung to push ahead for Iwasa and the sprint F2 race win.
Daruvala had a multiple go at Iwasa. It involved a wide moment at Turn 1 and had to give back the place while defending from Martins. But it wasn’t for long as another go from the Indian at Turn 1 allowed the Frenchman to sneak past him for second.
Iwasa had a moment on the run-off and as Daruvala tried to take advantage of it, he left the door open for Martins to take second. Despite the pace, the Frenchman couldn’t push enough to hurry Iwasa as the Japanese held on to win sprint F2 race in Saudi Arabia.
He had some reserve pace to register the win from Martins and Daruvala, while Campos pair of Boschung and Maini rounded the Top 5. Vesti had late push to clear both Doohan and Crawford in sixth as Doohan jumped the American too.
Crawford lost the final point to MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger to be ninth as PHM Charouz’s Roy Nissany rounded the Top 10 places.
#F2 #SaudiArabiaGP Provisional results of the Sprint Race. #MsportXtra @SaudiArabianGP @F2Inside pic.twitter.com/wVIr1Wt7f7
— #MsportXtra © (@MsportXtra) March 18, 2023
UPDATE: Pourchaire was handed 5-place grid drop for the feature F2 race in Saudi Arabia after he was found to be guilty in collision with Bearman. The Frenchman was also handed two penalty points on his superlicense.
“The Stewards examined video evidence. They summoned and heard the drivers and team representatives (documents 34 & 35). Having considered the matter extensively, the Stewards determined that the Driver of Car 5 missed the braking point for Turn 1, locked his rear tyres and collided with Car 8 at the apex. The Stewards find the Driver of Car 5 to be wholly responsible for the collision,” said the stewards.