CHARLES WEERTS WINS F4UAE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE FOR 2018
Dubai, UAE, March 3, 2018 - Belgium racer Charles Weerts has taken his maiden open-wheeler title after winning the second season of the F4UAE Championship by dominating all races in Dubai this weekend (March 2-3).
Coming into the final round 13 points ahead of title rival David Schumacher (#27) from Rasgaira Motorsports/US Racing, the 17-year-old claimed victory in all four 30-minute races to not only seal the drivers championship but help his Dubai-based Dragon Motopark F4 team claim the teams championship as well.
Last season, Weerts contested three rounds of F4UAE with German outfit Team Motopark, claiming six top-five results and one podium finish. The teen continued on with the ADAC Formel 4 Championship in Germany last year where he came second in the rookie standings before returning to the UAE with the recently merged outfit Dragon Motopark F4.
Over the six rounds and 23 races contested in the 2017/18 F4UAE Championship, Weerts dominated from the first race, taking the initial win in December at Yas Marina Circuit. He went on to win a total of eight races, with 17 podium appearances and was fastest in qualifying twice out of six rounds.
"Congratulations to Charles and Dragon Motopark F4 after their strong success this weekend at the Dubai Autodrome," said Mohamed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE, Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sport Federation and FIA Vice President for Sport. "For Charles to start his open-wheeler career here in F4UAE, and then come back stronger and faster to win the title this time is a great achievement for him and the championship, which always aims to provide the best training platform to help these young drivers become racing stars of the future.
"Also, congratulations to everyone at Dragon Motopark F4, a team that has set a benchmark for motorsport in this country, and their investment and support of the championship is now being rewarded. We look forward to F4UAE growing even bigger next season."
David Schumacher - who joined the championship as a rookie at Round 2 - won a total of three races and scored 16 podium finishes out of 19 starts, eventually finishing 22 points behind Weerts in the drivers championship. Schumacher also took home the F4UAE Rookie Championship.
Schumacher's US Racing teammate Tom Beckhäuser (#95) finished a commendable third outright after contesting the full season, and also claimed the F4UAE Sportsmanship Award at the end-of-season-gala dinner, which was voted on by peers and category representatives.
In the teams championship, Dragon Motopark F4 finished in the lead by 19 points by season's end, able to beat fellow UAE-based outfit SILBERPFEIL Energy Dubai during the final four races of the seaosn.
Twenty-one different drivers from 12 countries competed in F4UAE this season, with nine of them winning races since the championship began back in December 2017 at Yas Marina Circuit.
TESTING & QUALIFYING SUMMARY
Eight drivers entered for the final round of F4UAE which was contested on the 5.39km Grand Prix Circuit of the Dubai Autodrome. Times during Thursday's two testing sessions saw the two title rivals just 0.003sec apart by day's end, with Schumacher fastest over Weerts. However the tables reversed in qualifying, with Weerts clocking both the fastest and second-fastest times in qualifying to score the two pole position starts across the weekend.
In Race 1, Weerts lead from the get-go and held off Schumacher and Beckhäuser while also extending his lead to 9.977secs by race's end. However the frontrunner was given a 5-second penalty for a false start post race which did not affect the final positions.
Race 2's reverse grid format saw the two SILBERPFEIL Energy Dubai teammates of newcomer Jake Dalton (#23) and Lucas Petersson on the front row of the grid. Dalton - a former BRDC F4 racer - lead the majority of the race until suffering a broken right steering arm, while Weerts was too fast for the competition, moving from sixth to first in the 30-minute race.
Race 3 had the two title rivals at the front of the grid again, however a lap one Safety Car intervention was called when Dragon Motopark F4's Lucas Alecco Roy (#8) barrel-rolled after contact with Petersson - who subsequently had a penalty added to his starting position for Race 4. On the same lap, driver error caused his teammate Amaury Cordeel (#888) to lose control of his Tatuus racer under yellow flags, crashing into the pitwall on the front straight.
Both drivers were declared fine by the medical team, however the race was red flagged and restarted with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. Weerts, Schumacher and Dalton lead at the front of the pack and so was the order in which they finished at the chequered flag, giving Weerts more than enough points to win the drivers championship title one race early.
In the final 30-minute race of the season, the front row was filled by Beckhäuser and Edoardo Morricone (#42) - who in the previous race finished his best in 4th position. With the drivers championship pressure off Weerts in 5th, it was the teams championship that was yet to be decided between the two UAE-based teams. Despite Dalton racing hard to second overall for SILBERPFEIL Energy Dubai, Weerts' win was enough for Dragon Motopark F4 to claim the title.
At the end-of-season Gala Awards dinner held on Saturday night, the following drivers were congratulated by their teams, peers, officials and category management.
F4UAE Drivers Champions: Charles Weerts, Dragon Motopark F4
F4UAE Runner-Up: David Schumacher, Rasgaira Motorsports/US Racing
F4UAE Rookie Champion: David Schumacher, Rasgaira Motorsports/US Racing
F4UAE Third Place: Tom Beckhäuser, Rasgaira Motorsports/US Racing
F4UAE Teams Champions: Dragon Motopark F4
F4UAE Sportsmanship Award Winner: Tom Beckhäuser, Rasgaira Motorsports/US Racing
For more information head to www.f4uae.com
Charles Weerts (BEL), Dragon Motopark F4 (#88): "Yeah I'm really happy about this, I've put quite a bit of effort into it and it's a boost in confidence for the season ahead in Germany. Like every rookie you make mistakes but with a lot of practice here in the UAE with practice starts, and a lot of races, I make good progress during the year."
Brad Fincham, team principal of Dragon Motopark F4: "Charles has been really focussed the last two weeks that he's been based here in the UAE, he's been doing a lot of simulator sessions, track walks, he put his head down and looked at lots of data, and he knew he wanted the championship so went after it and he deserves it for sure. It's been a big push for us to grow the team to what it is and to win the double, the drivers and teams titles, is very rewarding."
David Schumacher (GER), Rasgaira Motorsports/US Racing: "I’m really happy with my end results of the championship, with P2 overall and P1 in the rookie championship. I missed out the first of the six weekends so I think I can be really happy with how far I came. Big thanks to everyone a US Racing and my father for always supporting me and helping me to learn a lot in my first F4 championship."