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    F.4  Wharton is Champion, with Taponen best rookie

    Maranello 20 febbraio 2023

    Thanks to two wins at the Yas Marina circuit, James Wharton has taken the Formula 4 UAE title. Tuukka Taponen is second overall to claim the rookie crown.

    The fifth and final round of the Formula 4 UAE championship was a thriller. James Wharton came to Abu Dhabi leading the championship and immediately staked his claim to the title, taking two pole positions before going on to win two races. When he and Taponen collided and both retired in the third and final race, that sealed the scores, with Wharton champion on 232 points, 20 more than Tuukka.

    A great experience. Wharton’s run to the crown included four wins, five second places and two thirds, finishing on the podium in all five rounds. “It was a great experience, I made a lot of progress compared to last year, so I’m happy with that and will continue to work to improve,” commented the Australian. “The championship did not start the way I would have wanted, but by the second round I was already fighting for the wins. I want to thank the Prema team and the Mumbai Falcons, as well as everyone at the FDA for all their support. Now it’s time to head back to Italy!”

    Best rookie. Tuukka Taponen chased Wharton for the title all the way to the last of the 15 races. At Yas Marina, the 16 year old Finn was second in Races 1 and 2, while he had to retire in the third after the collision with James. This was Taponen’s first single-seater season and he immediately proved to be competitive at the highest level. On his way to second in the Formula 4 UAE standings, he took four wins, four second places and two thirds, while he was way ahead of the rest in the rookie driver category. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy to win the championship, especially as there wasn’t much time to learn the track,” said Taponen. “I got good starts in all the race and tried to put James under pressure, but there weren’t many opportunities to overtake, mainly because of the long Safety Car periods. I was in the running until the last race which unfortunately ended with a collision with my team-mate. But in the end, I’m very proud of what I achieved in my first time in single-seaters. Thanks also to the FDA and Prema for all their support and, as from tomorrow, we start to prepare for the Italian championship, where the standard looks like being very high.”