The 16 year old Australian won Race 1 and came second in the second race, in which team-mate Taponen was third.
The very technical 5.609 kilometre-long Kuwait Motor Town circuit provided a stern test for the drivers, all experiencing it for the first time. James Wharton had all the answers, winning the first of three races over the weekend, after a good start from third on the grid saw him take the lead going into turn 2. He then managed the restart after a Safety Car period, maintaining a one second lead over the second placed driver all the way to the chequered flag.
Going for the win. “It was the first time single-seaters had raced at this track and so we didn’t really know what to expect,” commented James. “I tried not to take too many risks, but when I came into the braking zone for turn 2, I saw I could brake late and managed to take the lead. It wasn’t straightforward managing the restart after the Safety Car period, but I did it well, really wanting this win with all my heart.” Wharton started Race 2 from third place, moving up to second on lap 5. He then got very close to the leader, Ugochukwu, but never managed to attack him for the lead. A few hours later, they lined up alongside one another for the third and final race, but a collision at turn 2 spoilt both their races.
Highs and lows. Tuukka Taponen’s weekend was less straightforward. The 16 year old Finn finished sixth in Race 1 and then made the most of starting from the front row in Race 2. He kept that position in the early stages but then had to give best to Wharton and came home third. Race 3 did not last long as he retired at turn 2 on the opening lap after colliding with another car. “It was a very intense weekend,” commented Tuukka. “I had to deal with a very technical track where experience was important. I think this weekend has proved useful and will be a great basis from which to go racing again in just a few days.”
Standings. After the first of two rounds at the Kuwait Motor Town track, Wharton is third in the standings on 70 points, with Taponen fourth on 61. Tuukka also picked up points in the rookie category and is in second place, four points off the leader. The third round gets underway right from tomorrow with qualifying and the first race.