Joshua Dufek put together a string of top five finishes at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit to bring his first Formula Regional Middle East Championship to a close in fighting fashion.
Each result was the product of the PHM Racing driver gaining places over his original grid slot and confirmed him sixth place in the overall championship standings ahead of this season's Formula Regional European campaign, which kicks off at Imola on the third weekend of April.
With the previous four rounds of the FRMEC having been staged in Dubai and Kuwait, moving to the F1 circuit in Abu Dhabi presented a new challenge to most of the field, but Josh took eighth place in each of the weekend's two qualifying session as track limits penalties shuffled the order throughout and would line up on the outside of row four as race one took place under the lights that usually accompany Yas Marina's annual grand prix.
Keeping himself out of trouble paid dividends for the 18-year-old Swiss resident as yet another FRMEC race finished under the safety car, the #13 PHM machine rising to fifth on the road before racing was neutralised. The result ensured that Josh would start from sixth spot when the top ten was reversed to form the grid for race two the following morning, and a similar performance again netted a couple of places by the chequered flag.
The third race of the weekend — and last of the compact FRMEC season — was by far the most dramatic, with a multi-car accident in the opening laps requiring a red flag to allow for barrier repairs. Further contact after the restart, in which Josh was fortunate to escape damage, hinted at an end-of-term atmosphere within the field, but the PHM driver kept his nerve to claim another top five finish from eighth on the grid.
"Our Formula Regional Middle East Championship wrapped up with another weekend of consistency here at Yas Marina," Josh confirmed. "Overall, I'm happy with what we managed to achieve this weekend, with top five finishes in each race confirming just how far PHM and myself have come, against some tough competition, in the past few weeks. Despite facing our fair share of setbacks throughout the season, which is reflected in our final points tally, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made as a driver — and I'm hungrier than ever to keep fighting for victories as we head back to Europe."
Josh's plans for the 2023 season will be revealed in due course, ahead of pre-season testing and the opening round of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine at Imola, in Italy, over the weekend of 21-23 April.