The Australian took three wins in Round 2 in Dubai, to lead the standings. Camara on the podium on debut.
Three pole positions, three wins and the championship lead with 110 points. It was an unforgettable Dubai weekend for James Wharton, his second ever in single-seaters with a big points haul from the four races. The 15 year old performed brilliantly all weekend, to emerge as the undisputed leader and also displayed great maturity in managing the tricky moments, such as the restarts after the Safety Cars and when duelling with others.
Great start. This was Rafael Camara’s debut in the series, having missed the opening round through illness. The 16-year-old Brazilian seemed to have no nerves on his debut, even when up against more experienced drivers. He made progress all weekend, culminating in a third place in Race-4, which is a good sign for the future, starting with the third round which takes place, again at the Dubai circuit, next weekend.
Race-1. Wharton got a good start from pole position to lead into the first corner. His pace was strong enough that only Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak could stay with him and they duelled until ten minutes from the end of the race, when the Safety Car came out and bunched up the field. The race resumed with four minutes remaining and James did well to keep the lead. Wharton’s win was ratified a few corners later as the race was red flagged because of an accident, with two minutes still left on the clock. Camara also had reason to smile on his single-seater debut as he started eighth and finished sixth.
Race-2. Wharton started from pole again and Camara from eighth with both drivers maintaining position after the start, Wharton pulling away from his pursuers. James led after a Safety Car period and immediately pulled out a comfortable lead which he kept to the chequered flag. Camara had a more hectic time, fighting for much of the race with some more experienced drivers in a group where the positions changed all the time and at the flag, he was twelfth.
Race-3. Once again, Wharton displayed his skills getting off the line, immediately pulling out a lead which took him clear of the opening lap scraps. After that, he managed his race on the way to another win. Camara started eleventh and again had a busy time of it, fighting in the mid-field, making up two places to finish in the points.
Race-4. The final race of the Dubai weekend featured a reversed grid, which meant Wharton was down in 12th spot and Camara fourth. It was a very spectacular race with plenty of fights during the 30 minutes. Camara kept fourth place in the opening stages and at the restart, after a Safety Car period, pulled off a decisive passing move to take third, which is where he finished. Wharton was careful in the early stages and then fought back to sixth spot, as well as taking the fastest race lap.