2268 Formula4 Italian Championship - Certified by FIA WSK Promotion Official Site- Slater triumphs in a tough Race-1 at Vallelunga
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Slater triumphs in a tough Race-1 at Vallelunga

Beeton finishes second followed by Yamakoshi

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The first race of the Italian F.4 Championship at Vallelunga, for the third round of the season, was extremely tough. The victory went to the British driver Freddie Slater, who thus brought his seasonal tally to 5, strengthening his lead in the standings with a total of 115 points. The thrilling start earned him the lead of the race, at the expense of the Australian Jack Beeton, US Racing driver, who started from pole position. Beeton, in his first pole in the series, finished second under the checkered flag, after fiercely battling in the early laps to reclaim P1, providing a great show to the many spectators present, but without finding the space to conclude his assault. Third on the podium was the Japanese Van Amersfoort Racing driver, Hiyu Yamakoshi, who after some difficulties in finding pace in the preliminary phases of the weekend, returned to the top in qualifying and secured a podium finish in Race-1. The Japanese driver continues to establish himself as Slater's main opponent in the early part of the 2024 season, maintaining second place in the standings with 97 points.

Fourth place went to the Emirati Prema Racing driver Rashid Al Dhaheri, who gained the position with a spectacular outside overtaking maneuver on Matheus Ferreira. The very fast Brazilian US Racing driver finished fifth behind him. Sixth in Race-1 was the Swedish Van Amersfoort Racing driver, Gustav Jonsson, who was engaged in a long and spectacular battle with the Latvian driver Tomass Stolcermanis. Seventh place went to the Indo-American US Racing driver Akshay Bohra, followed under the checkered flag by the Dutch Jenzer Motorsport driver Reno Francot. Francot, however, was penalized with 10 seconds for an incident with Prema Racing driver Kean Nakamura Berta (P7 at the moment and forced to retire), dropping to P22. Thus, the Latvian Prema Racing driver Stolcermanis, an ambitious talent in his first year in single-seaters after a brilliant karting career, finished eighth and won in the Rookie class. The Australian US Racing driver Gianmarco Pradel finished ninth. With P10, the Italian AKM Motorsport driver Emanuele Olivieri secured second place on the Rookie podium after a strong comeback from P29 at the start. The Romanian Real Racing driver Luca Viisoreanu, who finished thirteenth overall, was third on the Rookie podium.

The first race of the weekend in the capital was full of emotions, with several incidents that brought the safety car onto the track on different occasions. Among the top protagonists who did not reach the final finish were Alex Powell, who was once again stopped by a front wing failure. The Jamaican suffered the damage in a battle with his Prema Racing teammate, Dion Gowda. The epic duel resulted in front wing damage for both drivers. Meanwhile, an incident involved Enzo Yeh, a Chinese driver of R-ace GP, who ended up in the barriers after a contact. The ensuing safety car allowed Powell and Gowda to make pit stops and rejoin the race in P33 and P34, finishing in P19 and P20, respectively. Following the restart, perfectly managed by Slater, the battle in the group was fierce.

Several contacts occurred as drivers aimed for significant position gains, culminating in the retirement of Shimo Zhang (Jenzer Motorsport), whose car went airborne after being hit in the rear by Maxim Rehm's (US Racing) car and crashing into the rear wing of Serbian driver Petrovic (PHM AIX Racing). Both the Chinese driver Zhang and Petrovic were forced to retire.

Subsequently, another incident occurred, this time triggered by the spectacular internal battle for points between Jenzer Motorsport drivers Ethan Ischer and Enea Frey, resulting in a contact that also involved Maxim Rehm (US Racing), Kabir Anurag (US Racing), Luka Sammalisto (R-ace GP), and Maksimilian Popov (PHM AIX Racing). The race ended with a red flag due to the inability to restore safe conditions in the few minutes remaining until the checkered flag. All drivers involved in the incidents in Race-1 are okay and quickly exited their cars.

Post-race penalties were also assigned to Andrija Kostic (Van Amersfoort Racing) for an incident in the early stages of the race with his teammate Hodenius Lin. The Serbian driver will lose 4 positions on the grid for the next race. A drive-through penalty converted to 25 seconds was given to Maxim Rehm for the incident with Zhang, and an identical penalty was assigned to Ethan Ischer for the incident with his teammate Frey, while 5 seconds were given to the US Racing driver Kabir Anurag for overtaking behind the safety car.

Freddie Slater: ďIíd say the start was mega, we had a mega launch. We managed to get into the lead, and also the straight is quite long here, so actually it was not easy to keep the lead. We had a few safety cars, and I hope that everybody is ok, thatís the main thing. We managed the safety car restarts quite well and got home with it. We did a good opening lap, so we did a Misano-type of thing. This is the hottest we probably driven so far this year, and probably in my career in car racing. This is something a I had to adapt to, and I managed to do it quite well.Ē

Jack Beeton: ďstill a good result. Iím P2, you canít cry over a P2. Obviously, I wanted more, I wanted the win. Iíve lost it on the start, and I really didnít have the chance to take it again with all the safety cars. Iím sure we have some good pace, we didnít really get show it entirely, but hopefully we can see what we do tomorrow. Iím starting P16 and P4 it may be more difficult, but weíll see what we can do. This is definitely one all of my strongest tracks.Ē

Hiyu Yamakoshi: ďthe qualifying was quite nice, because actually my collective test in the first day was P19Öso itís a good come back. I havenít the pace compared to the top 2, so I have to find a little bit for tomorrow Race-2 and Race-3. Tomorrow Iím starting P3 for both races, If I can do the same start as today, I can get P2, or maybe I can try first.Ē

Tomass Stolcermanis: ďIím not really looking at the Rookie standings, as at the overall Championship. The first race in Vallelunga was very difficult. I had quite a good start, but the first lap with all the fighting was very difficult, and I lost some positions. I stayed out of trouble and I just ended the race.Ē

Emanuele Olivieri: "this weekend we had some small technical problems that didn't allow us to show our true speed. We started from P29 and knew it was going to be a difficult race. Staying out of trouble, thanks to a bit of experience and many crashes that helped us (even though it was sometimes hard to stay clear of them), was enough to give us P2 Rookie. The car performed better than in qualifying, I'm happy and thank the whole team. Tomorrow we will start further back again, but I think we have the pace to do well, so we'll see."

Luca Viisoreanu: ďItís very nice to be on the Rookie podium. I didnít even expect it, there were a lot of crashes on track, so I gained a lot of positions. It feels very nice, itís a very special feeling, my first podium. The best thing I did was to stay out of crashes, there were a lot of them. I think this is the thing that I did very well, I managed to stay out of troubles. This helped me to get this podium.Ē

Action returns to the track tomorrow, Sunday, June 16, with Race-2 opening the second day of the ACI Racing Weekend Vallelunga at 9:00, followed by Race-3 at 14:25. All races of the weekend will be 30 minutes +1 lap in duration and will be broadcast live on the YouTube and Facebook channels of the Italian F.4 Championship, on ACI Sport TV (Sky channel 228, Tivý Sat channel 52, and streaming on www.acisport.it), as well as on the extensive network of international televisions that broadcast the Italian F4 Championship 2024 races, including the DAZN platform.