After his maiden F4 race win at the Dubai Autodrome on debut, Mücke Motorsport's Joshüa Durkesn was invited to his home country's government palace to meet with Mr. President of the Republic, Mario Abdo Benítez, who expressed his gratitude for the victory achieved in the UAE. Joshua visited with his management team, father Ronald Duerksen, and Dr Hugo Mersán Galli, President of the Touring and Car Club of Paraguya.
Both Joshua and Dr. Mersán, gave interviews to the media.
🎙 Joshua Duerksen: http://bit.ly/jduerksen
🎙 Dr. Hugo Mersán: http://bit.ly/hmersan
FOUR DIFFERENT RACE WINNERS STEAL SHOW AT F4UAE OPENER IN DUBAI
Dubai, UAE, January 13, 2019 - The 2019 F4UAE Championship powered by Abarth began its third season in anger this past weekend, with four different race winners – all first-time F4 victors – topping the podium at the opening round held at the Dubai Autodrome (January 9-11, 2019).
Supporting the famed Hankook 24H Dubai endurance event, Round 1 of F4UAE welcomed a solid grid of 10 young drivers from Europe and the Middle East as they attacked the four 25-minute races around the 5.39km grand prix circuit layout.
Making his open-wheeler debut, Matteo Nannini from Italy (#15) topped the first qualifying session of the season, and converted that into a race–one win for Xcel Motorsport on Friday morning (formerly known as Energy Dubai). Dragon Racing’s Lucas Roy (#8) – who finished fifth outright in the 2017-18 F4UAE Championship – won Friday’s reverse-grid race two, followed by Omani driver Shihab Al Habsi (#34) and Paraguay’s Joshua Dürksen (#27) who won a race each on Saturday.
“Congratulations to all of our winners who drove exceptionally well this weekend and we are very pleased to see so many young enthusiastic drivers on the podium," said Mohamed Ben Sulayem, President of ATCUAE and Emirates Motor Sport Federation, and FIA Vice President for Sport. "To have the future champions of the sport come to the UAE and get their first race victories here is a very proud moment not just of their career but of the history of F4UAE, and we look forward to seeing more of their success again at Round 2 in a few weeks."
Six and a half hours of sanctioned testing and official practice was held during the lead-up to the event, giving the newcomers ample track time to become acquainted with the internationally recognised circuit. Four rookies made their official transition from karting (or limited F4 testing) to the Abarth-powered Tatuus F4UAE racecars including Nannini, Dürksen and his Mücke Motorsport teammate Nico Göhler (#22) plus Dragon Racing’s Rashed Ghanem (#9).
First pole position of the 2019 season went to Nannini, giving Xcel Motorsport the first P1 race start at an opening round of F4UAE, with a time of 2m01.835s and the only driver in the 2m01s bracket.
Race 1 was dominated by Nannini who lead from start to finish, battling race-long with Roy in second place who moved up two places from a fourth-place start. Despite initially falling back, Dürksen recovered to third place at the chequered flag to claim his first open-wheeler podium finish.
Race 2’s reverse grid saw Rui Andrade (#88) start off pole position, only to be overtaken by frontrunners Roy and Nannini on the opening lap. The three held their positions for the entire 13-lap race, while Al Habsi and Italian rookie Nicola Marinangeli (#14) came together in a racing incident mid-race.
For Saturday’s Race 3, where starting positions were determined by a driver’s second-fastest lap in qualifying, the front row saw Nannini and Al Habsi battle neck-and-neck off the line respectively. Dürksen also pressured during the race but the 15-year-old Omani driver held his own and took the chequered flag, making his victory the first of any Middle East driver to win in three years of F4UAE.
Mücke Motorsport’s Nico Göhler started Race 4 in prime position, before being challenged by Roy and Dürksen who took the lead on lap two and held place until race’s end. Andrade moved from fifth to second by lap three, and Göhler continued to battle lap-after-lap with Al Habsi. Finishing third, Göhler made it a double-podium result for Mücke Motorsport.
Round 2 of the 2019 F4UAE Championship will be held at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi from January 31 to February 2. Championship standings will be made available on www.f4uae.com in the coming days once signed off by category management.
NEW RACING ROOKIES ARRIVE IN DUBAI FOR THIRD SEASON OF F4UAE
Following two successful seasons to date, the FIA Formula 4 UAE Championship powered by Abarth is kicking off its 2019 season as a support to the famed Hankook Dubai 24 Hour event in Dubai this week (January 9-11, 2019).
Ten drivers from eight countries will take part in the opening round at the Dubai Autodrome, the first of the five-round season which runs until early March 2019. Being added to Creventic’s Dubai 24 Hour endurance race for the first time, the program sees a new spotlight being put on the Middle East’s premier open-wheeler development category.
“Being part of the Dubai 24 Hour weekend is a huge positive for F4UAE, with our young stars of the future being able to race in front of so many respected international teams and drivers,” said promoter Carl Rolaston.
“Each year we welcome new and talented young drivers, including one from the GCC region this year, and even though it will be a busy season it will also be a fantastic learning experience as they prepare for very competitive and demanding championships in Europe later this year. I wish everyone the very best of luck.”
The 2019 season sees the return of the reigning drivers and teams champions, Dragon Racing, with Lucas Alecco Roy continuing on from his 2017/18 season campaign, plus newcomers Rashed Ghanem from Lebanon and Rui Andrade from Portugal.
Xcel Motorsport (formerly Energy Dubai Racing Team) welcomes four drivers including Nicola Marinangeli and Matteo Nannini from Italy, Rafa Villanueva from Spain, and 15-year-old Shihab Alhabsi from Oman.
Germany’s Mücke Motorsport returns with Nico Göhler from Germany and Joshua Durksen from Paraguay, while Filip Kaminiarz from Poland will compete for CRAM Motorsport
Both Dubai Autodrome and Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi will host rounds of F4UAE, with the final three events running back-to-back, finishing on March 2, 2019.
Governed by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and promoted by AUH Motorsports, F4UAE is an important part of the UAE’s local motorsport calendar and was the first of its kind in the MENA region for developing young driver talent when launched in 2016.
Open to drivers aged 15 years and above, F4 was created by the world’s governing body of motorsport, the FIA, to help young drivers bridge the gap between existing regional racing series and karting, to European competition and potentially Formula 1®.
Utilising the Tatuus chassis from Italy with the Abarth Turbo engine, the open-wheeler category allows new drivers extra seat time to become familiar with the unique purpose-built race cars, while teams are given the opportunity to test and refine their engineering and operations at international-standard circuits.
Sanctioned testing for Round 1 of F4UAE commences tomorrow, followed by a full program of practice, qualifying and four races will be run across Thursday January 10 and Friday January 11.
2019 F4UAE CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
Round 1: January 9-11, 2019at Dubai Autodrome
Round 2: January 31-Feburary 2, 2019 at Yas Marina Circuit
Round 3: February 14-16, 2019 at Dubai Autodrome
Round 4: February 21-23, 2019 at Yas Marina Circuit
Round 5: February 28-March 2 at Dubai Autodrome
For more information on F4UAE head to www.f4uae.com
2019 ENTRY LIST
#3 Shihab Alhabsi (Oman)
#14 Nicola Marinangeli (Italy)
#15 Matteo Nannini (Italy)
#26 Rafa Villanueva (Spain)
#8 Lucas Roy (Monaco)
#9 Rashed Ghanem (Lebanon)
#88 Rui Andrade (Portugal)
#22 Nico Gohler (Germany)
#27 Joshua Durksen (Paraguay)
#55 Filip Kaminiarz (Poland)