Bernstorff wins Formula Middle East at Formula 1 in Bahrain


Bernstorff wins Formula Middle East at Formula 1 in Bahrain

It was a battle filled Formula Middle East race held as part of the 2013 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix today, where Emil Bernstorff took the win.

The Briton completed 10 laps in 23 minutes 24.372 seconds finishing the race ahead of Alban Varutti and Michela Cerruti in second and third respectively.

Gavin Halls was the first casualty of the day when his throttle stuck open causing his race to end before the start of the second lap, he was at that time running in fourth. “My throttle was flat out. It was a ‘fun’ ride” he said with a relieved laugh after the race.

Bernstorff made a clean start, keeping his competitors at bay as the lights went out. Behind him, Varutti managed to stay close and had a good look on the inside at turn one but was not able to find a way past.

Behind the race leaders, Cerruti had a bad start, dropping down the order to eighth before managing to make her way up the grid. By the end of the opening lap, the Italian was able to move up to fifth and had a heated five-way battle with Mohammed Mattar, Saed Al Mehairi, Paul Stanley and Abdulla Al Thawadi.

Thawadi, who started in ninth, had a good start and kept up with the pace. The fast five changed positions numerous times over six laps, even driving three abreast into the turns and by the end of lap six, Cerruti was ahead of Al Mehairi, Stanley, Thawadi and Mehairi.

Meanwhile, Fauzi Dib Saad and Ali Al Khalifa had a two-way battle for eighth, whilst behind them, Adeeb Kuzbar and Christophe Mariot fought for tenth. Towards the end of lap two, Kuzbar made a mistake and spun. He rejoined at the tail end of the pack.

On lap seven, Ali Al Khalifa, who was in ninth made a mistake and spun at the turn before the back straight, stalling his car in a dangerous position and causing the Safety Car to be called out.

This allowed the various gaps to be closed with one lap to go. At the restart, Cerruti immediately tried a manoeuvre on Varutti but decided to play safe and maintain her third position.

Bernstorff kept his lead from pole to claim the win. “It was great to be on the F1 podium with all the people here and tomorrow we will have a bigger crowd since we are racing just before the F1” he said with a big smile.

“I made sure I got a good start and I saw Alban was coming from the inside. I just made sure that he didn’t get past and I held my own and just took it from there.

After hauling ‘the biggest trophy he’s ever won’ Bernstorff was satisfied with the outcome and is looking forward to the next race. “I had a good restart after the Safety Car and won the race. I am happy”.

Despite still getting used to the car, second placed man Varutti impressed his sponsors Batelco with his pace. They celebrated with him at the podium. “I love the podium. Emil has a lot of experience while this is my first experience in a single seater. I will do better tomorrow. I have to learn a bit more, especially the braking points.

Speaking of his chances for another podium tomorrow, he said “Second place for sure but first place, why not?”

Cerruti, the first woman to climb on the podium for the Series, made up for her bad start with a great podium finish. She said after the race, “Big satisfaction. I had bad start, the worst start and it was my fault. Found myself battling with five guys who were in front of me fighting each other and I got in the mix. It was a real big fight to get back to my position.

“On the last lap, after the Safety Car, I tried to fight Varutti but I thought, it was the last lap and I was tired” she said with a laugh.

“Being on the podium during the Formula 1 is fantastic and it may probably never happen again but I will try again tomorrow. I was happy with the race and I had a lot of fun” she ended.

After a heated battle throughout the race Stanley finished in fourth, head of Al Thawadi, Al Mehairi and Mattar. Abdulla said after the race, “It was a good race, I didn’t expect to finish fifth. There were a lot of incidents up ahead and I just kept it clean and made sure to avoid any accidents. I got mixed up in a few back to back fights and I just waited for my time to overtake.

“Starting from 9th and I got a chance to finish 5th, it was a real good race” ended Al Thawadi.

Kuzbar who spun on the second lap managed to rejoin the race at the back finishing in eighth, “Ali saved me, because he spun, I managed to catch back up to the guys and finished not too far behind. It was a great race”.

Fauzi Dib Saad and Christophe Mariot completed the finishers for the day.

Formula Middle East will continue with Race 2 on Sunday, 21 April at 12.15pm.

Formula Middle East is an initiative led by the BIC in partnership with Series Promoter Motorsport Asia along with the unrivalled expertise of Eurointernational, the most successful Team in the history of Formula BMW and JKRAS, who will prepare the grid of identical Mygale-built FB02 single-seat racing cars for potential Formula 1™ stars of the future.

Emil Bernstorff car#1-800

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