Fittipaldi clinches title, Chaves wins on debut
17 November 2017 – Pietro Fittipaldi clinched the Formula V8 3.5 title as he followed home impressive debutant Henrique Chaves in the first race of the season finale in Bahrain.
Six drivers approached this weekend's event with a shot at the title, though this was reduced to five when Egor Orudzhev got struck down by acute tonsillitis and pulled out.
There was further drama before the start of Friday's encounter as Matevos Isaakyan, Fittipaldi's nearest title challenger, failed to get away on the formation lap.
When the action started, without Isaakyan on the grid, net pole-sitter Chaves, moving across from Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, thus assumed the lead.
René Binder endured a sluggish getaway from third and dropped into the middle of the small 10-car field, reduced to nine with Isaakyan still in the pits, as Lotus team-mate Fittipaldi moved into second.
Fittipaldi hounded AVF's Chaves early on, but was unable to get close enough for a move, before a mistake through Turn 2 gave the newcomer some breathing space.
Chaves ultimately crossed the line 1.6 seconds clear of Fittipaldi, who still did enough to wrap up the championship, sparking wild celebrations in the pit lane.
Roy Nissany completed the podium, ahead of RP Motorsport team-mates Yu Kanamaru and Tatiana Calderón, the latter making her series debut.
Kanamaru inflicted a puncture on Binder in the closing stages, as they squabbled for position through Turn 2, forcing his rival into the pits for a new set of tyres.
Force India tester Alfonso Celis Jr. was sixth for Fortec, ahead of Konstantin Tereshchenko (SMP Racing with AVF), team-mate Diego Menchaca and the aforementioned Binder.
Isaakyan eventually started the race five laps down.
Photo credit: World Series Formula V8 3.5