Jehan Daruvala scores big win in F3 Asian Championship
FIA Formula 2 racer and India’s top hope for Formula 1 Jehan Daruvala created history in the Formula 3 Asian Championship, scoring a breakthrough victory for Mumbai Falcons, an all Indian-outfit, at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening. He started on pole and led every lap to comfortably win the first and second races in Round 2 at the continent’s premier championship.
In the first Qualifying session, earlier in the day, Jehan was the only racer on the grid to dip below the 1:52 minutes mark to grab the Pole position ahead of Isack Hadjar from France, who clocked 1:53.051 mintes. Chinese F2 racer Guanyu Zhou and championship leader was a close third, posting a lap time of 1:53.070 minutes.
The Mumbai Falcons racer had a good start from pole but Hadjar managed to pull alongside him before braking into Corner 1. Jehan, however, outbraked Hadjar and held his lead exiting the corner. He made no mistakes henceforth, with a series of consistent laps, preventing any overtaking attempts on him, and so was able to open up a lead of 1 second.
Right behind Jehan there was plenty of action. Zhou was on a charge and overtook Hadjar. Zhou then posted a couple of fast laps, reducing the gap to Jehan to under 0.7 seconds. Soon Jehan was under pressure and the two battled it out for a couple of laps. But Jehan then turned the tables, reeling out a series of quick laps and speeding away to consistently lap quicker than the cars behind, even opening a gap of over 3 seconds at one point before backing off, solely to conserve his tyres.
On the penultimate lap, Jehan once again gave it everything, posting the fastest lap time of the race (which also gives him pole position for race 2 on Friday). The Indian racer then comfortably crossed the finish line to win Mumbai Falcons their first International victory and the first for an Indian team in the Asian Formula 3 Championship.
Moving to the second race, and Jehan once again drove an excellent defensive race to keep French racer Hadjar and Sweden’s Dino Beganovic behind him. The three were side-by-side momentarily, with Hadjar and Beganovic slightly ahead, but Jehan showed his class to emerge ahead.
Jehan ultimately won his second consecutive race, with Hadjar less than three-tenths of a second behind, and Beganovic also less than a second behind Jehan. Championship leader Guanyu Zhou was fourth.
“Qualifying well was crucial. I am happy that I could control the pace from the start. It was important that I get the fastest lap because it puts me on pole for race 2. I want to thank the entire team at Mumbai Falcons for the effort put it” said an elated Jehan
“We are proud to be the first Indian Team to have won in the Asian F3 Championship. The sleepless nights have finally paid off. We hope to continue the strong showing and have both our cars on top soon” said Moid Tungekar, CEO, Mumbai Falcons.
Kush Maini meanwhile has endured a tough weekend. He qualified fifteenth but had a good start to quickly make up positions to eventually finish twelfth.
Race 2 and Race 3 will be conducted on Friday at the same corkscrew layout of the Yas Marina International Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The 4.73km version of the F1 circuit has produced more overtaking opportunities than the previous rounds. Indian fans can watch the races live on the Mumbai Falcons Racing Limited YouTube Channel.