F2: Pourchaire crowned 2023 champion as Doohan dominates Abu Dhabi Feature Race
Jack Doohan put in a dominant performance around the Yas Marina Circuit to end 2023 with a win, but the day belonged to Theo Pourchaire as he was crowned Formula 2 Drivers’ Champion.
ART Grand Prix team mate Victor Martins finished on the podium in second, meaning the French team secured a title double in the process.
Pourchaire finished fifth in the end, more than good enough to keep title rival Frederik Vesti behind, despite the PREMA Racing driver’s spirited comeback attempt. The Mercedes Junior Team driver ultimately finished third, falling 11 points short of the championship.
Doohan held the lead from pole position at lights out while Vesti tried to make early progress having started on the medium tyres. He had to wait for those ahead on softs to pit before he could make use of clear air, while further back, Pourchaire had gone with the softs. He was in on Lap 7 for his mandatory stop and switch to mediums.
Doohan gave up the lead on Lap 10 for his own pit stop to fit the same tyres, while Vesti, who’d moved up to second courtesy of pit stops by those ahead, set about chasing down new leader Martins, who was running the same alternative strategy.
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The PREMA Racing driver was in for his switch to softs on Lap 23, rejoining just behind title rival Pourchaire in ninth, while Martins waited an extra lap to rejoin ahead in third.
Going wheel-to-wheel, Pourchaire was able to delay Vesti’s charge for several laps, before the PREMA man was able to use DRS to claim the place at Turn 9.
The Dane used his soft tyres to make up more positions, reaching Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney in third on the final lap. Going side-by-side through Turn 9, Vesti made his move around the outside, but the pair touched wheels on the corner exit, pitching Maloney into a spin while Vesti bounced his way into third.
Doohan was untroubled throughout though as he scored Feature Race win number three of the season. P2 for Martins was enough to take rookie of the year honours, while Vesti bowed out of the title fight in a hard fought third position.
Ayumu Iwasa signed off his final F2 race with fourth place for DAMS, with Pourchaire taking P5 and the title with it.