In the first race at Vallelunga the balance of the standings in the Italian F.4 Championship changes. Andrea Kimi Antonelli wins and takes the lead in the standings, 4pts ahead of his Brazilian teammate. In fact, Rafael Camara's P2 is not enough to keep the leadership, crowning an excellent performance, and he moves into second place after the first race of the weekend. Third on the podium is James Wharton, who thus completes an all Rookie podium and all in Prema Racing colors, which sees two Ferrari Driver Academy drivers (Camara and Wharton) and one Junior Mercedes (Antonelli) uncork the champagne.
In the race, the Bolognese driver got off to a good start from pole and began to build up a gap on the group, with the Brazilian chasing him determined to fight until the end. Charlie Wurz, PREMA Racing, from the second row, stalled at the start, managing to restart shortly afterwards, without causing too much inconvenience to the drivers behind him, who were leaving him behind. The lead of the race, with Wharton in third, thus emerged at the start and remained unchanged throughout. Antonelli and Camara immediately sprinted away, Wharton found himself isolated, with gaps in front and behind him, so he could think about managing his race, in conditions certainly not easy with the track temperature at over 62 celsius degrees, in what is now the hottest event of the season.
In the group, the fight in the points zone rages on: Taylor Barnard, PHM Racing, gave battle and spectacle on the track in the tussle with drivers Alexander Dunne, Marcus Amand and Kacper Sztuka, eventually overtaking the Pole. Just outside the points zone, Valerio Rinicella (AKM Motorsport), in a fight with Pedro Perino (US Racing), ignites the show.
There were many drivers who put their wheels on the dirt in the early stages of the race, among them Andrea Frassineti (Cars Racing) was the one who paid the highest price, with the front wing of his Tatuus breaking.
Engaging in a duel with Rinicella is then Maya Weug, Iron Dames' home FDA driver, who passes the Roman driver and puts him behind. Charlie Wurz meanwhile made his way up from the rear, recovering positions after an unfortunate start. Spectacular was his overtaking move on Perino to get to p11, before chasing down Domingues. Then he also managed to pass the Portuguese of Iron Lynx.
Rinicella in his attempt to catch up with Weug is also passed by Jenzer Motorsport's Rookie, Valentin Kluss. The Italian driver was then involved in a long and spectacular fight with Nikita Bedrin (PHM Racing), who attacked him first at the hairpin bend, the slowest corner of the Capitoline circuit, risking a lot on his tyres.
The three PREMA Racing drivers in the lead continue to build gaps, while tyre management becomes problematic for everyone. Amand seems to lose traction on the rear
At the exit at the Cimini corner, the car with the blue CRAM Motorsport livery driven by the Greek Georgis Markogiannis ends up in the sand, resulting in the entry of the Safety Car to allow the recovery and restoration of the track that had become very dirty after the exit. The group was recomposed with the lead trio's advantage cancelled.
At the restart no problem for Antonelli, who immediately gained advantage with a very smart start on Camara. Wharton maintained his position but had to suffer fierce attacks from Alex Dunne, who was trying to climb onto the podium with great determination.
On the restart Rinicella had to give in to the continuous attacks of Nikita Bedrin. Conrad Laursen, PREMA Racing, takes a risk, but manages to get ahead of Martinus Stenshorne (Van Amersfoort Racing), who fights with the Dane and Wurz at the Campagnano, in particular with the Austrian it is a long battle, on the outside of the Semaforo corner on the exit, close to the kerb, Wurz manages to establish himself in front.
Brando Badoer, the Italian driver of Van Amersfoort Racing, is involved in a fight with Victoria Blokhina, with the two cars going side by side, but the PHM Racing driver gets the worst of it and finishes outside. While further ahead the infighting rages between Laursen and Wurz, with the Dane coming out on top, behind the US Racing drivers.
The drivers raced under the chequered flag in this order: 1. Antonelli; 2. Camara; 3. Wharton; 4. Dunne; 5. Barnard; 6. Amand; 7. Sztuka; 8. Laursen; 9. Wurz; 10. Stenshorne.
The classification after race 1: 1.) Antonelli, 169 pt; 2.) Camara, 165 pt; 3.) Dunne, 120 pt; 4.) Wharton, 94 pt; 5.) Amand, 75 pt; 6.) Wurz, 74 pt; 7.) Sztuka, 70 pt; 8.) Laursen, 52 pt; 9.) Bedrin, 52 pt; 10.) Stenshorne, 49pt.
Andrea Kimi Antonelli: "It was a good race, difficult because the temperatures are very high and it was difficult to manage the tyre. I think we did everything well, even the restart from the Safety Car was very good. It was a good race, with this one I took the lead in the championship and now we have to continue tomorrow. It's always nice to take the Italian flag on the top step of the podium."
Rafael Camara: “the pace was there. It was difficult to drive when I was really close, I was suffering a lot on the tyre. It was quite difficult, but I think the pace was good. We need to start fight like today, come back stronger tomorrow and try to win the 2 races.”
James Wharton: “from the start I had a gap in front and behind, so I just saved the tyres before the Safety Car restart. Then we come to the Safety Car restart, you have to get the tyres back in the window because they cool down a little bit, but after one or two corners they back up at temperature. It was a lot of tyre management and under safety car were really hot as well because we stopped in, we were going much slower so the air was a lot hotter so we’re overheating a bit under safety car. In the end it was tuff with Alex, but I managed to stay in P3, which is a good result, but still 2 more races to go this weekend.”