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Antonelli fastest in Italian F4 FP1, Akhmed suffers engine failure

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Andrea Kimi Antonelli led a Prema 1-2-3-4 in the first Italian Formula 4 free practice session at Spa-Francorchamps.

The session began with immediate drama as AKM Motorsport’s Ismoilkhuja ‘Akhmed’ Akhmedkhodjaev suffered an engine failure and then there was a red flag stoppage that lasted for 15 minutes.

R-ace GP’s Frederik Lund set the pace when FP1 restarted, before the Prema started to laid down their mark with 17 minutes to go in the 40-minute session. James Wharton went to the top, 0.589 seconds clear of PHM Racing’s Nikita Bedrin.

Antonelli moved into second place shortly after and got very close to Wharton’s pace, then Prema’s championship leader Rafael Camara surpassed it by 0.691s. Another improvement by Antonelli again brought him close to the top but not all the way there, and with 12 minutes remaining a consistent lap from Wharton sent him to first place by a slim 0.016s.

That benchmark stood until the final seven-and-a-half minutes, as Antonelli finally got himself into first place with a 2m23.019s lap and with the top three Prema cars now split by 0.063s. The top two went even faster on their next efforts, but Antonelli stayed ahead and increased his margin to Wharton to 0.210s.

In the final minutes there were no further improvements, and so Antonelli ended the first session of the weekend on top. Charlie Wurz completed Prema’s top four lockout, with Bedrin best of the rest and 0.558s off the pace.

Alex Partyshev was 13th fastest on his return, after missing races at Misano due to back pain, and Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi was the fastest of the debutants down in 24th place for Jenzer Motorsport.

In addition to Akhmed failing to set a lap, there was also no running for US Racing’s Nikhil Bohra due to a suspected fuel pump issue, and not in attendance was Cars Racing and their driver Andrea Frassineti, nor R-ace’s Marcos Flack who is believed to be ending his Italian F4 programme.

Free practice results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema 2m22.792s 10
2 James Wharton Prema 2m23.002s +0.210s 10
3 Rafael Camara Prema 2m23.082s +0.290s 10
4 Charlie Wurz Prema 2m23.264s +0.472s 10
5 Nikta Bedrin PHM Racing 2m23.350s +0.558s 13
6 Kacper Sztuka US Racing 2m23.405s +0.613s 12
7 Alex Dunne US Racing 2m23.674s +0.882s 10
8 Taylor Barnard PHM Racing 2m23.695s +0.903s 11
9 Conrad Laursen Prema 2m23.812s +1.020s 10
10 Marcus Amand US Racing 2m23.826s +1.034s 10
11 Ivan Domingues Iron Lynx 2m24.197s +1.405s 11
12 Alfio Spina BWR Motorsports 2m24.290s +1.498s 10
13 Alex Partyshev Jenzer Motorsport 2m24.342s +1.550s 13
14 Arias Deukmedjian Van Amersfoort Racing 2m24.459s +1.667s 12
15 Martinius Stenshorne Van Amersfoort Racing 2m24.599s +1.807s 125
16 Jonas Ried PHM Racing 2m24.619s +1.827s 11
17 Emmo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing 2m24.723s +1.931s 12
18 Valentin Kluss Jenzer Motorsport 2m24.737s +1.945s 12
19 Jules Castro Van Amersfoort Racing 2m24.796s +2.004s 12
20 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 2m24.808s +2.016s 12
21 Maya Weug Iron Lynx 2m24.915s +2.123s 11
22 Valerio Rinicella AKM Motorsport 2m24.957s +2.165s 11
23 Frederik Lund R-ace GP 2m25.184s +2.392s 12
24 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi Jenzer Motorsport 2m25.558s +2.766s 12
25 Ricardo Escotto Cram Motorsport 2m25.735s +2.943s 12
26 Victoria Blokhina PHM Racing 2m25.833s +3.041s 8
27 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport 2m25.838s +3.046s 13
28 Pedro Perino US Racing 2m25.860s +3.068s 8
29 William Karlsson BVM Racing 2m26.344s +3.552s 62
30 Georgios Markogiannis Cram Motorsport 2m26.357s +3.565s 12
31 Nicholas Monteiro Cram Motorsport 2m27.171s +4.379s 12
32 Kim Hwarang BVM Racing 2m27.178s +4.386s 12
33 Rishab Jain BWR Motorsports 2m27.438s +4.646s 11
34 Elia Sperandio Maffi Racing 2m27.499s +4.707s 11
35 Ismoilkhuja Akhmedkhodjaev AS Motorsport no time 0
36 Nikhil Bohra US Racing no time 0