Ralph Boschung and Theo Pourchaire, two names and two domains. They are the great protagonists of the first weekend of the Formula 2 season in Bahrain, both authors of races in which their supremacy over their adversaries proved to be overwhelming and without appeal. The Swiss took victory in Saturday’s Sprint Race, while the Frenchman won by a large margin in Sunday’s Feature Race, with the classic script focused on tire management.
For Boschung it was a weekend to remember, not only because he achieved his first victory in the cadet category, but also because of the podium conquered the following day, right behind the talent of the Sauber Academy. Also noteworthy was the good weekend of Zane Maloney, third in the sprint race after a comeback from eighteenth position.
Sprint race: Boschung gets the first triumph
After almost one hundred races and six years of alternating phases in the category, the Swiss driver finally managed to take his first triumph in a weekend that proved to be extremely special. Boschung dominated from the first to the last lap, maintaining the first position obtained thanks to the inversion of the grid after qualifying where he had finished on the edge of the top ten.
“My first win after 96 starts and like I said better late than never! I am delighted, the car was on the tracks. Thanks to the team, they really deserve it. I am very satisfied with today,” explained the winner.
A race managed with almost a certain serenity, so much so that he reached the finish line about ten seconds ahead of Dennis Hauger, a driver from whom much is expected this year after a 2022 made more of shadows than lights. The MP Motorsport standard bearer ruled Victor Martins right in the closing stages of the race, giving himself a second place which allowed him to finish ahead of the reigning Formula 3 champion.
Ralph Boschung, Campos Racing
Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd
In the final stages, the Frenchman paid for excessive tire wear, which on a track like Sakhir’s, very testing for tyres, didn’t allow him to contain the Norwegian’s attacks. Nonetheless, for the young talent of the Alpine Academy, making his absolute debut in the category, it was a good debut, where he hopes to amaze despite quality rivals.
Fourth place for an aggressive Ayumu Isawa who, after maintaining second position in the early stages of the race, although unable to maintain the excellent pace set by Boschung, had to give way to the two riders who conquered the podium, however managing to contain Theo Pourchaire, fifth on the finish line.
Behind him concluded Jeah Daruvala, who repeatedly attempted an attack maneuver to be able to get into the top-five, but without finding the right attitude to complete the overtaking. An oversteer mid-corner on the last lap by Pourchaire had almost allowed the Indian to get the upper hand, but the latter was unable to take advantage of it.
Theo Pourchaire, ART Grand Prix and Ayumu Iwasa, DAMS and Dennis Hauger, MP Motorsport
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Closing the points, considerably further behind, Kush Maini and Enzo Fittipaldi in his first race with the colors of the Red Bull Academy, while Zane Maloney and Juan Manuel Correa had to settle for ninth and tenth position respectively. Unlucky first appointment, however, for Arthur Leclerc, forced to slip out of the top due to a ten-second stop & go remedied for an infringement during the starting procedure. Same fate also for Isack Hadjar, who had to serve the same penalty for an identical infraction by the mechanics in the pre-race.
Feature race: a solo by Pourchaire
If Saturday’s race seemed like a Swiss monologue, Sunday’s race turned into a French solo, with a crushing victory by Theo Pourchiare, the result of excellent tire management and an unattainable pace for his opponents. In the inaugural weekend of the championship, the transalpine has already put his cards on the table, wanting to make his third year in the category one in which he will finally be able to win the title that eluded him in the previous two seasons.
After starting from the pole position conquered during qualifying, Pourchaire quickly made a vacuum, finishing at the finish line with an advantage of almost twenty seconds, about double what Boschung had managed to do the previous day. Not even a neutralization for the Safety Car which entered in the first laps due to a contact involving Roman Stanek, Victor Martins and Frederik Vesti changed the history of the race, with the talent of the Sauber Academy able to widen the gap to hit the first win of the season.
Race winner Theo Pourchaire, ART Grand Prix Second place Ralph Boschung, Campos Racing Third place Zane Maloney, Carlin
Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd
Throughout the race, the Frenchman showed no sign of slowing down, bringing the car to the finish line ahead of Ralph Boschung, on the second podium of the weekend after his success on Saturday. Thanks to the victory in the Feature Race, Pourchaire also ended the first weekend of the season at the top of the standings, taking first place just ahead of the Swiss rider, who was four lengths behind.
Last step of the podium for one of the great protagonists of the day, Zane Maloney, third after a formidable comeback that had seen him start even from the ninth row. The young talent, also from the Red Bull Academy, played well on a strategic level, completing overtakes in sequence: ten passes from the end he was in eighth position, but was then able to move up the standings quickly.
It turned out to be an extremely prolific day for Campos, not only thanks to the podium obtained by Boschung, but also thanks to the fourth place conquered by Maini, who remained seven seconds behind Maloney. Maini was able to keep the fourth position taking advantage of the duel that took place behind him, especially after the collapse of Bearman, who then fell to the final 14th place.
Richard Verschoor won the fifth position, good at recovering by showing off a good comeback following the initial contact with Vesti which had sent him into a spin. Behind him concluded Arthur Leclerc, sixth with the Dams in a very excited final, ahead of Hadjar with the Hitech, Iwasa, Fittipaldi and Correa to conclude once again the top ten, thus winning the last point made available in the race of Sunday.
Leave a Reply