Enzo Fittipaldi Makes Stunning Pass For Maiden F2 Feature Victory

Enzo Fittipaldi Makes Stunning Pass For Maiden F2 Feature Victory
Enzo Fittipaldi Makes Stunning Pass For Maiden F2 Feature Victory

Enzo Fittipaldi took his first Feature Race victory for Van Amersfoort Racing in a thrilling Jeddah spectacle. The Brazilian pulled off an audacious three-wide pass for the win, while the fight for the final podium places ended in a drag race across the line.

Kush Maini bounced back from his Sakhir disappointment with P2 for Invicta Racing, while Dennis Hauger rounded out the podium by less than a tenth of a second for MP Motorsport.

AS IT HAPPENED

Maini got the perfect launch to keep the lead into Turn 1 while Andrea Kimi Antonelli was up to fourth for PREMA Racing. Out of the opening chicane, Josep María Martí was a first-lap retirement after a spin left the Spaniard with damage while Trident’s Roman Stanek couldn’t avoid the Campos Racing car.

The stranded cars required a Safety Car before the drivers made it round for Lap 2.

Back to green flag conditions, Maini retained the lead comfortably as he opened up the gap on his supersofts to Jak Crawford behind.

Entering Lap 6, Hauger moved clear of Victor Martins for fifth but lost out to both the ART Grand Prix driver and Campos’ Isack Hadjar on the main straight without a tow.

Having fallen out of DRS, Crawford became the first to pit for mediums at the end of the lap and he was followed in by Hauger, Richard Verschoor and Paul Aron.

Hadjar was on the move again, getting the better of his compatriot Martins into Turn 1 to take fourth on the road.

A fast-starting Juan Manuel Correa moved himself up to fifth with an ambitious dive on Martins at Turn 27 to round out a torrid lap for the Alpine Academy driver. He pitted on Lap 8, following Maini, Fittipaldi, Antonelli and Hadjar in for their mandatory stops.

Crawford lost out with his earlier stop as the DAMS Lucas Oil driver fell behind Antonelli. The American battled through with his tyres up to temperature though, clearing the Italian as they approached Turn 22 on the PREMA driver’s outlap.

Maini kept the lead from lights out but was gradually overhauled by Fittipaldi

A snap out of the final corner though re-opened the door for the Mercedes Junior Team member, and he reclaimed sixth into Turn 1. However, he ran deep under braking and Crawford took the place back, while Fittipaldi ahead had escaped DRS range.

Lap 10 and Hadjar dived down the inside at Turn 27 again to demote Antonelli, but a nice switchback for the PREMA driver allowed him to retake the place into Turn 1.

One lap on and the Campos returned the favour, using DRS to pass Antonelli again, taking seventh on the road at the first corner. Just behind them, Zane Maloney moved himself into the points with a straightforward pass on Martins under braking.

While Maini had retained the net race lead, Fittipaldi had tracked the Invicta driver down and on Lap 13, dived to the inside of the Indian driver to take fourth position.

Martins’ struggles continued as Franco Colapinto demoted the Frenchman to 12th on Lap 14, using DRS into the first corner. The MP Motorsport driver’s joy was short-lived though as on the following tour, he spun into retirement at Turn 1 after tagging the barriers out of Turn 27 the previous lap. His spin brought out the Safety Car once again.

Correa, Amaury Cordeel and Taylor Barnard had yet to pit on the mediums, but only the latter two used the chance to pit for supersofts.

The Safety Car was withdrawn entering Lap 19, and Fittipaldi was on the attack immediately. He passed Barnard to take third position while Maini made a move on Crawford to take fifth position out of Turn 2. An issue for Hadjar dropped him out of the points and later forced the Frenchman to retire.

Cordeel got himself to within DRS range of Correa entering Lap 21 and the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver took the lead of the race into Turn 1. Maini was again down the inside of a rival at the first corner, this time taking fourth from Barnard.

Hauger took the final podium spot by less than a tenth of a second to make it back-to-back podiums

Correa stuck with the new leader though, as Fittipaldi homed in on the pair of them. He swept around the outside of them both to take the lead at Turn 1 going three-wide in the process in a daring pass.

Cordeel was on the defensive with Correa passing him into the first corner but as the pair squabbled on corner exit, Maini was able to clear the Belgian to improve to third on the road.

A Virtual Safety Car was deployed after a spin for Zak O’Sullivan at Turn 2. His ART car was cleared, and racing got back underway again as the leader started Lap 25.

Correa finally made his stop on Lap 26 to leave Maini, Cordeel, Crawford, Antonelli and Hauger to scrap for the podium places.

The MP driver forced Antonelli to defend at the last corner and going into Lap 27, the Norwegian claimed P5 with DRS into Turn 1.

Onto the final lap and Maini led a DRS train down to fifth but up front, Fittipaldi went untroubled after his incredible move to take his first F2 Feature Race win and second in the Championship.

Maini kept P2 for Invicta but a three-wide drag race for the final podium position went the way of Hauger, who finished just 0.031s ahead of Crawford in fourth and Cordeel, who dropped to fifth by 0.127s.

Antonelli came across the line in sixth ahead of Maloney in P7, Verschoor in P8. Rafael Villagómez capped off a great day for Van Amersfoort in ninth and Martins took his first point of the year with P10 in the end.

Enzo Fittipaldi, Van Amersfoort Racing

“It was a really good race. Everyone from Van Amersfoort gave me an amazing car. We were absolutely flying out there. Even after the Virtual and normal Safety Car, we still won by almost eight seconds, so we were flying. I’m just so happy to get the win in just the second round and to be in the fight for the Championship.”

THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Maloney leads the way in the Drivers’ Championship, moving onto 47 points at the top. Fittipaldi’s Feature Race win and fastest lap moves him up to second on 32 points, with Hauger third one point further back. Aron is fourth on 28 points with Maini rounding out the top five just behind him on 27.

In the Teams’ Standings, Rodin Motorsport remain in front on 49, seven points clear of Invicta Racing in P2. MP Motorsport move onto 39 points in third, one point ahead of Hitech Pulse-Eight. Van Amersfoort Racing lift themselves up to P5 on 34 after their double score on Saturday.

UP NEXT – MELBOURNE

Formula 2 heads down under for Round 3 and a visit to Melbourne for the second time in the Championship’s history. Who will become the next winner in a thrilling 2024 season? Tune in from 22-24 March.

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