Andrea Kimi Antonelli Formula Middle East Regional Champion
The61 series reached its climax with Italian talent, Kimi Antonelli, winning the all-around title after a tense finish in Abu Dhabi.
British rider, Taylor Barnard, stood proudly as the runner-up.
Mumbai Falcons clinched the first team title
Italian Andrea Kimi Antonelli was crowned champion of the Formula Middle East Regional Championship (FRMEC) 2019 2023 sponsored by Giti Tire after the last round at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Antonelli and his main rival, Taylor Barnard, battled for the lead in the first race and spectators watched Antonelli take the ribbed flag. However, due to a penalty in a collision with main rival Taylor Barnard as they battled for the lead, the 16 year-old Italian driver was winless in Sunday’s race. 19 February 2023. Despite this setback, Antonelli still maintained his points lead to emerge as the overall series champion.
This was the first time post-Covid-17 that I had Yas Marina Circuit packed a huge crowd of fans who were excited to watch the cars go around and the fans cheering on their favorite teams. Fans also had the opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite drivers and cars on the track before the start of the final race.
British rider Barnard’s struggle off the starting line in Race Two effectively decided the championship in Antonelli’s favour. In the final, Antonelli put sustained pressure on Barnard’s BHM Racing teammate Nikita Badrin before finishing second. For 17 year old Badrin it was a great way to end the season and resulted in his second FRMEC win of the season.
Marie Buea elevated to win for Haidar The Blackbirds were annihilated by MB Motorsport in the first race after Antonelli’s penalty. The year-old Spaniard had just passed his team-mate Sami Migotonev for third place when Antonelli made contact with Bernard and spun the Briton towards the tail of the track. That was enough for Pouya to take the win from the Frenchman, Migotonev, and the youngster of the Ferrari Driver Academy Mumbai Falcons, Rafael Camara, who won the Rookie’s Cup.
Another Spaniard, Pepe Marti, took victory in race two after a stellar drive From fifth place on the network. The 17 year old Pinnacle Far rider had to close in on and overtake longtime leader Michael Sheen in the closing stages of the race. While that was disappointing for Shin of South Korea, second place was by far the best FRMEC result for the Prema Racing man, and he also scored the Rookie Cup titles. Third place went to Mumbai Falcons rider, Kirill Small.
In the final race, Kamara secured the third place behind Badrin and Antonelli on the podium. Brazilian teammate Lorenzo Fluxa and the Mumbai Falcons both arrived in Abu Dhabi with the least sporting chance of a title, but were both eliminated from contention after the first race. However, two podium finishes meant Kamara edged Spain’s Floxa into third place in the final standings by nine points.
At the top of the table, Antonelli finished the season ahead of Barnard by 40 dot and camara with 61. Antonelli also claimed the Rookie’s Cup title in Race Two, with Barnard finishing second in the classification and Nikhil Bohra grabbing third from Kamara on a tie-break. In doing so, the Mumbai Falcons clinched the teams’ title.
At the conclusion of the Middle East Regional Formula Championship 2023, Giti added another victory to its track record in racing around the world. When asked about the highlight of Giti’s presence in these famous races, Chris Bloor, Executive Director of International Sales and Marketing for Giti Tires, replied: “In addition to our focus on environmentally friendly tires for electric vehicles, the focus is really gathered around results and performance on the track.