THE support race programme at the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 wrapped up yesterday at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), with Theo Pourchaire, Gabriel Bortoleto and Harry King all emerging triumphant in their respective championships.
Pourchaire won the season-opening Formula 2 Feature Race and Bortoleto was victorious in the Formula 3 Feature. King, meanwhile, clinched first place in the weekend’s second race of the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East.
Starting from pole, Pourchaire held on to his lead masterfully, giving up first place only for his mandatory pit stop but regaining the advantage just two laps after heading back out onto the track.
From there, the ART Grand Prix ace ran his own race and built a massive gap of nearly 20 seconds from the rest of the field en route to taking the chequered flag after 32 laps in one hour one minute 10.926 seconds. He was a clear 19.666 seconds ahead of runner-up and F2 Sprint Race winner Ralph Boschung of Campos Racing.
Zane Maloney of Rodin Carlin completed the podium placers 31.587s behind.
Kush Maini of Campos Racing was fourth, Richard Verschoor of Van Amersfoort Racing fifth, and Arthur Leclerc of DAMS sixth.
The top 10 was rounded out by Isack Hadjar of Hitech Pulse-Eight, Ayumu Iwasa of DAMS, Enzo Fittipaldi of Rodin Carlin and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Juan Manuel Correa – all of whom claimed all-important points.
The F2 field will be back on track later this month for the season’s second round in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Bortoleto led teammate Oliver Goethe to a Trident one-two in F3’s season-opening Feature Race.
Bortoleto won in a time of 44:33.107 after 22 laps, taking the chequered flag 0.869s ahead of Goethe. Dino Beganovic of PREMA Racing joined them on the podium in third after finishing 1.109s adrift.
Bortoleto grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Gabriele Mini of Hitech Pulse-Eight as the field headed into turn one right after the start.
The pair were engaged in a close fight midway through, but Bortoleto eventually powered to the win while Mini was handed a five-second time penalty, dropping him in the final classification to eighth.
Gregoire Saucy of ART finished fourth, Luke Browning came fifth for Hitech, Sprint Race winner Josep Maria Marti of Campos was sixth, and Kaylen Frederick in the other ART was seventh ahead of Mini.
Hitech’s Sebastian Montoya and MP Motorsport’s Franco Colapinto completed the top 10 and the Feature Race’s points-scorers.
F3 will be back in action from May 31 to April 2 for the season’s second of 10 rounds.
King, meanwhile, completed his perfect weekend by winning the second race in round five of the 2022/2023 Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East.
After earlier setting the pace in the meeting’s two practices, claiming a double pole in qualifying and then winning race one, King raced to another comfortable win yesterday after taking the race two chequered flag in 22:49.845s after 11 laps.
King enjoyed an 8.884s gap from runner-up Vincent Andronaco of Germany, while Ariel Levi of Israel came third 12.081s behind.
All three top-placers were competing in the series’ Pro class.
Winning the ProAm category was Bashar Mardini of Canada, while Georgi Donchev of Bulgaria came second. Bahrain’s Shaikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa joined them on the podium.
Robert Sulma from the Netherlands finished first amongst the Am class contenders.
The stage is now set for the Porsche Sprint Challenge’s season-finale, taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from March 17 to 19.