In the concluding round of Formula 2’s 2023 season at the Yas Marina Circuit, an impressive performance by Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan saw him clinch the pole position, overshadowing the struggles of the title contenders.
Doohan, affiliated with the Alpine junior team, not only secured the fastest lap early on but further enhanced his lead, outpacing Victor Martins from ART Grand Prix by a notable margin.
The battle for the championship saw a twist as Théo Pourchaire, leading in points, could only secure a 14th place start, pending any additional penalties. His rival in the title race, Frederik Vesti, encountered challenges as well, ending up in ninth place, while Ayumu Iwasa’s hopes for the title were dashed as he missed out on the crucial extra points awarded for pole position.
Initially, it was Martins who set the pace, with Campos Racing’s duo Ralph Boschung and Kush Maini following closely. Iwasa briefly improved his position before being overtaken by Maini and Richard Verschoor from Van Amersfoort Racing. As the session progressed, Martins extended his lead significantly, leaving Pourchaire trailing far behind.
The final phase of the qualifying saw Iwasa momentarily take the lead, only to be surpassed by Martins. Pourchaire, caught in traffic, narrowly avoided a collision and struggled to improve his position. Meanwhile, Zane Maloney from Rodin Carlin demonstrated remarkable speed in certain sectors, momentarily breaking into the top three.
The defining moment came from Doohan, who not only set an impressive lap time but went on to further improve it, solidifying his pole position. Maini and Martins, too, showed improvements, but it was Doohan who ultimately stole the show.
While Maloney managed a commendable fourth place, behind him the grid saw significant competition with Iwasa and MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger vying for positions. Verschoor and Hitech GP’s Hadjar also contended fiercely, finishing in the top ten. Vesti, grappling with a challenging session, managed to secure a ninth-place finish, positioning him advantageously for the sprint race. His teammate, Ollie Bearman, faced a tougher time, concluding in a distant 17th.
Enzo Fittipaldi from Rodin Carlin achieved a strategic tenth place, setting him up for a reversed-grid pole in the sprint race. The session also saw the debut of Franco Colapinto and Paul Aron, who finished further down the order, just ahead of Josh Mason from PHM Racing, highlighting the intense competition and unexpected outcomes that characterised this final qualifying round of the Formula 2 season.
Image: Formula Motorsport Limited