Newly crowned Formula Regional Europe champion Andrea Kimi Antonelli has dedicated his title to former rival Dilano van’t Hoff, who died earlier this year.
MP Motorsport driver van’t Hoff lost his life on July 1 at Spa-Francorchamps in an accident that occurred during FREC’s second race of the weekend at the track. The race was red flagged and the results were taken from two laps prior to the accident, with Antonelli claiming his first win in the championship.
Antonelli said after becoming champion that his Spa victory “was really important” for his season.
“Especially because I’d been chasing that win for so long, and to have won in Spa was really important for me. Even though it was not a good weekend for motorsport in general,” he said.
“But yeah, that was a really key point for me. Then Paul Ricard of course, Monza of course, because we came away from Monza with a lot of points. And then this weekend [at Zandvoort], just everything went super well.
“I want also to dedicate this championship to Dilano, who passed away in Spa. And I think since then we’re racing for him, and this championship is also for him.”
Antonelli admitted that the first thing he did after meeting the chequered flag to take victory and the title in the second race at Zandvoort last weekend was “started crying because I was just super happy”.
“I had such a mix of emotions and I was really, really happy, and just super pleased, and obviously all the wait, all the pressure went away after crossing that finish line, and just an amazing feeling.”
He described the weekend, which was the penultimate round of the season, as difficult “mainly because of the pressure” and it was a point he reiterated in later comments reflecting on the season so far.
Although he has wrapped up the title with two races to spare in the 20-race campaign, Antonelli did not lead the points until the 12th race of the season when he won at Paul Ricard. He calls that the “turning point” of his campaign.
“I think that was a turning point for me because heading into the summer break with the lead of the championship was really important for me. And I think since then we’ve have really good momentum. And we kept the momentum going in the other races.”