After setting the fastest time in qualifying practise at 1:23.126, 16 year old Dane Cato Poulsen started Round 13 from pole position next to Campos Racing’s 17 year old Gulhuseyn (Quka) Abdullayev who is scheduled to have his first race in EuroFormula Open at Estoril next week.
The field got away well, but it was 15 year old Baltazer Leguizamon who had travelled all the way from his home country of Argentina who came barreling down the inside from the back row as the field braked for Turn One. Leaving his breaking impossibly late he veered left at high speed into Cato who was pushed into Quka leaving the two fastest drivers spinning out of the race. The lead was picked up by local star Saeed Bintouq who was kept honest by the close attention of young Italian racer Giulio Peroni. Baltazar, who had sustained no damage to his car despite his left tyre pushing Cato into the side pod of Quka, he still managed to get back on track and gave chase in 3rd place. But Saudi driver Omar Gazzaz was having none of it and gave chase and overtook the F4 Sudamerica Championship leader to finish the race on the podium. Baltazar was summoned to see the Stewards for causing a collision and failing to serve a drive through penalty and was excluded from the race.
After the race it was fascinating to watch a team of five GulfSport race mechanics descend onto Cato’s recovered race car where they stripped it, fitted a new nose, radiator, fluids, side pod, front right suspension and put the car onto a flat patch to ensure the setup and corner weights were correct after the rebuild all with the one hour allotted between the two races.
The final and perhaps most important race of the season got underway with the driver from Azerbaijan grabbing the lead closely followed by Bintouq, Gazzaz, Peroni, with Leguizamon and Poulsen starting from the back row. Cato’s rebuild had clearly been done well as he was able to move from the back of the grid to take the lead by lap seven, no doubt helped by a set of tyres that had not done 14 laps in race one . On lap 11 Quka had a spin trying to take second place from Bintouq, with Gazzaz working very had now to ensure he finished ahead of his rival Peroni for the Vice Championship position. The luckless Leguizamon managed to finish fourth ahead of Peroni.
So Poulsen will soon be testing one of Campos Racing’s Dallara Formula 3 cars in Valencia and spending time on their GP2 simulator, and Gazzaz will be a VIP guest of Gulf Oil at the 2016 24 Heures Du Mans in June.
GulfSport Racing’s Formula Gulf competition driving school and championship, which has coached and run 47 drivers from 21 countries, is to expand its operation into the UK this summer.