India's Jehan Daruvala races to double podium in Saudi Arabia

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India’s Jehan Daruvala swept to a double podium finish in the Saudi Arabian round of the Formula 2 championship this weekend. The 24-year-old, who races for Dutch team MP Motorsport, had gone from fifth to third after engaging in a hard-fought battle for the win in Saturday’s Sprint Race.

He followed that up with another drive to the final podium spot after a perfectly-executed, measured display in Sunday’s longer Feature event, making him the only driver to finish in the top three in both races this weekend.

Jehan said, “This was a really strong weekend for us and some much-needed results after the disappointment of Bahrain. We were quick and consistent all throughout and we executed everything perfectly which allowed us to capitalise on our potential. We can take a lot of confidence away from the Saudi round and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming races.”

This is the second successive year that Jehan has finished in the top three in Jeddah, having gone from 14th to third in the Feature Race at the track last year. Jehan made a lightning start off the line in Saturday’s Sprint Race but was boxed in by the Campos cars of Ralph Boschung and compatriot Kush Maini.

A second-lap safety car that bunched the field up gave him a shot at passing Maini and Jehan duly seized the opportunity to muscle his way past his fellow Indian and set off in pursuit of Red Bull-backed racer Jak Crawford. 

Jehan despatched Crawford on Lap 7 just seconds before a collision between Theo Pourchaire and Oliver Bearman triggered a second safety car period. Jehan was hot on second-placed Boschung’s heels as the race got underway. The Swiss racer was powerless to resist the MP Motorsport racer’s charge as he swept around the outside of Turn 1 to take second.

He then battled Iwasa, while also keeping the rapid Martins behind him at bay, before ultimately having to concede after his turn 1 gamble for a fifth F2 win failed to pay off. On Sunday, starting fourth after moving up a spot thanks to a penalty for Theo Pourchaire, he was among the drivers to make an early stop before then managing his pace and tyre wear to perfection.

He crossed the behind winner Frederik Vesti and second-placed Jack Doohan. The Formula 2 championship now heads to Australia for its March 31-April 2 fixture where the series will race around Melbourne’s Albert Park for the first time.

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