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  • Simon Paice

John Bennett Ends Middle East Campaign With Brilliant Top Ten


John Bennett has enjoyed a great end to his debut season in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship with a hard-fought breakthrough top ten finish in the final race in Dubai this past weekend (16-18 February).


Bennett headed into the final round of his maiden Middle East campaign determined to bounce back from a tough couple of events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi; having salvaged a best finish of 13th as he battled a number of serious car issues across the championship


The Salisbury-based rising star had highlighted his talent earlier in the season by breaking the championship record for the most positions ever gained in a single race, having risen a staggering 16 places after having to start 29th due to mechanical problems in the previous race.


Therefore he was keen to get back on form around the 3.35-mile Dubai Autodrome circuit with the Evans Grand Prix squad. Crucially he was back in his original car after having to use a quickly hired replacement last time out whilst handling issues were resolved in his.


Bennett built up his speed across testing on Friday and went on to produce one of his best qualifying results of the season as he secured 14th on the grid for the final race, an impressive display against a 29 car entry composed of the finest young drivers from across the globe.


The 20-year-old talent got off to a great start in race one as he moved up three places to 19th. In the thick of some close pack racing, he gained a position on lap nine and chipped away at the gap to the car ahead in the closing stages, but had to settle for 18th at the chequered flag.


After an immediate safety car period in race two, Bennett benefitted from a multi-car incident ahead to shoot up to 14th place. Unfortunately, some robust moves from other drivers forced him off track a couple of times, however he fought back superbly from 21st to eventually finish up in 15th place.


Bennett saved the best for last in the final race from 14th on the grid. Quickly gaining two places before a safety car period, he then rose another place at the restart. A couple of brilliant, opportunistic overtaking moves followed to get him into the top ten, and he went on to battle wheel-to-wheel with two of this season’s title contenders en-route to 10th at the finish.


John Bennett: “I’m really pleased that after being in the mix a few times through the season, that I finally got that top ten result in the final race. It’s great to end what’s been a challenging campaign on a high note with a points finish.


“We’ve had a lot of things go against us across the five events and results could have been very different for us, but I’ve learnt a lot from this opportunity and have some crucial experience to take into our main race programme this season. Thank you to the Evans Grand Prix team for all their hard work and support.”


Bennett, who races with the support of J5C Management Limited, StreetSharp Ltd, The Accounting Centre Ltd, Khan Thornton Ltd, Lonetree Limited, Lewco Holdings Limited and Project Divebomb, now returns home to continue preparations for his main 2024 campaign – full details of which will be announced soon.


Image from Dutch Photo Agency.

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