Today the qualifying sessions of the Italian F.4 went on track at Red Bull Ring. Again, after already a first taste of the Austrian bad weather in yesterday's free practice, the track is wet with a persistent rain that last for the entire duration of qualifying.
The drivers are divided into 2 series, in the first one Ugo Uguchukwu, American driver, new arrival in Italian F.4 with the PREMA Racing team, is going very fast setting himself to get the pole. However, Uguchukwu is overtaken on the final lap, with a gap of hundredths of second, by the very capable Kimi Antonelli, PREMA Racing, the current leader of the rankinkgs in the Italian Championship, who closes the fast lap under the checkered flag. Antonelli's time, 1:44.800, remains unbeaten even in the second qualifying session, with drivers from the second series on the track, thus earning him pole position in Group A. Ugochukwu, with the second best time in the first session (+0.049) obtains instead the pole of Group C. Group B pole then goes to Rafael Camara, who with 1:45.743 is the best in the second session, leading the drivers in the second series, completing Prema Racing's trio.
Alexander Dunne, US Racing, scores the third best lap in the first series (+0.790 gap from Antonelli) and thus gets the second row of Group B. Starting on the second row will then be Kacper Sztuka, US Racing, in Group A, his teammate Alexander Dunne in Group B and PHM Racing's Briton Taylor Barnard in Group C.
Race 1, tomorrow (Saturday Sept. 10, starting at 9:10), will see Group B and Group C drivers engaged on the track. So occupying the first starting blocks of the grid will be Camara and Uguchukwu, followed then by Dunne and Barnard. On the third row, continuing to scroll through the groups based on qualifying placement, Prema Racing's Australian Anthony James Wharton will start, followed by Sicilian driver Alfio Spina. Spina himself, comes to the 5th round of the Championship with the Tatuus managed by the BVM Racing team, starting the weekend under the best auspices by setting the 5th best lap among the drivers of the second qualifying session with a gap of +0.893 from Camara's time. Still a very good placing for Iron Lynx's Portuguese Franco Domingues, who will be on the 4th row tomorrow flanked by Nikhil Bohra, home driver US Racing. Nicola Lacorte, absolute rookie with Iron Lynx, also did well. As a freshly 15-year-old, he is at his first race experience in Italian F.4 after testing during the season, and he is racing for the first time with the Tatuus in the wet. No problems in the adapting to the condintions, it seems, for the young Italian driver, who gets 7th best time in the first qualifying session. At his side in race 1 Van Amersfoort Racing's Norwegian prodigy, Martinius Stenshorne.
Saturday's second race will engage Group A versus B drivers, seeing two PREMA Racing flag bearers, Antonelli and Camara, start from the front row, followed by US Racing pair Sztuka - Dunne. On the third row again a duo from the Vicenza-based team with Conrad Laursen and Wharton. Behind them in race 2 (kicking off Saturday at 14:45) Maya Weug, of the Iron Dames team, flanked by Portuguese driver of her twin team, Domingues.
The third race, starting Sunday at 10:35, will instead bring Group A and Group C on the track. The front row will therefore again have PREMA drivers in it, with Antonelli and Ugochukwu, divided in qualifying by an infinitesimal gap, who will be able battle on the challenging turns of the Austrian Ring. On the second row Sztuka will start alongside Barnard, while behind them will start Conrad Laursen, Prema's Danish driver, and Spina.
At the end of the 3 races a ranking will be drawn up, based on the results obtained, which will identify the 36 drivers who will be eligible for the final race (starting Sunday at 17:25). The 4 races of the weekend will be broadcast live on the Facebook and Youtube pages of the Italian F.4 Championship and on www.motorsport.com
Andrea Kimi Antonelli: “it was a really tricky qualifying in the rain, obviously, with 20 cars on track was way easier to find the space. I think we started a bit low with the pressure, because it was really hard to get the grip on the tyres. At the end we still managed to get pole position and it is a nice feeling.”
Rafael Camara: “it is a good way to start after the break here at Red Bull Ring. Tricky conditions, it was wet. I think it was until Imola we didn’t have rain, always sunny. Now we just have to work, we have a lot to do and come stronger to fight for the win tomorrow.”