After setting the fastest time in qualifying practise at 1:23.126, 16 year old Danish driver 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 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 excluded from the race results by the officials for causing a collision and failing to serve a drive through penalty.
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. On lap 11 Quka had a spin as he tried to pass Bintouq from third place going into the Club Link which left Bintouq in second with Gazzaz working very had now to ensure he finished ahead of his rival Peroni for the Vice Championship position. Leguizamon finished fourth ahead of Peroni.
As a result of his Championship win, Cato Poulsen has been invited by Campos Racing to test a Dallara Formula 3 car in Valencia and be trained on their GP2 simulator, and Omar Gazzaz has been invited to be a VIP guest of Gulf Oil International at the 2016 24 Heures Du Mans in June. GulfSport Racing’s renowned competition driving school and single seater championship has now coached 47 professional drivers from 21 countries in the UAE, and plans to expand its racing operations into the UK this summer.
2015/16 Formula Gulf – Final Points Standings: