Tuukka Taponen extends his championship lead by claiming his third win of the season in the penultimate round of the Formula Regional Middle East Championship, earning him the 2024 Rookie Cup.

Taponen, racing for R-ace GP team, went unchallenged throughout the race. Starting on pole and maintaining a gap of over 1.5 seconds to P2, the Ferrari Academy Driver now has a 42-point lead to PHM AIX’s Taylor Barnard in the championship.

Mumbai Falcons’ James Wharton, who started in P2, attempted a move on Taponen into the first corner of the opening lap, but Taponen was able to cover the inside line to defend his lead. Wharton fell into his own rhythm, maintaining P2 from start to finish and crossing the line with a 4.353-second gap behind him to third.

PHM AIX’s Taylor Barnard had a tricky start, losing P4 to Mumbai Falcons’ Ugo Ugochukwu. Pinnacle Motorsport’s Mari Boya also made a move on Barnard at T5, moving up to P5 and pushing Barnard down to P6 on the opening lap. Boya continued to chase for positions, making a move on Ugochukwu to move up to P4.

Sainteloc Racing’s Enzo Yeh suffered from continuous technical issues, starting the race from the pitlane before pulling off in the run-off section of T9 to retire his car, bringing out the safety car.

Ugochukwu got caught up in the chaos of the restart when he ran wide and lost his front wing; shortly after he collided with Pinnacle Motorsport’s Giovanni Maschio, sending both drivers out of the race.

MP Motorsport’s Bruno Del Pino won the three-way battle between him, his teammate Nikhil Bohra, and Sainteloc Racing’s Theophile Nael, securing the final points position in P10. Nael and Bohra made contact on the final lap, with Nael spinning and rejoining the field.

The final podium saw Taponen at the top, with Wharton in P2 and R-ace GP’s Zachary David in P3.

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