Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Antonelli flies to FREC pole at Paul Ricard ahead of impressive Masson

Antonelli flies to FREC pole at Paul Ricard ahead of impressive Masson

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Niels Broekema / DPPA

Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli returned to the front to take pole for Formula Regional European Championship race two at Paul Ricard.

The Prema driver emerged on top of a thrilling battle in Group B to record a best time of 1m59.013s.

Antonelli will be joined on the front row by Sainteloc Racing’s Esteban Masson who snatched top spot in Group A with his final lap as R-ace GP’s Tim Tramnitz and Martinius Stenshorne failed to improve.

The G4 pairing of Alessandro Giusti and Michael Belov again set the early pace in Group B, out on track before Group A, before the pace quickened in the final six minutes.

Prema’s Lorenzo Fluxa and ART Grand Prix’s Laurens van Hoepen, supported by Nyck de Vries this weekend, took turns at the top of the times, before Giusti and Belov reasserted themselves at the front.

Antonelli had been gradually building up speed before jumping to the top with a 1m59.398s, and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Kas Haverkort went 0.114 seconds slower to slot into second.

After cooling their tyres for a lap to allow a final flying lap, the G4 drivers ran line astern with Belov setting a personal best in sector one. A mistake in the final sector ruined his lap, leaving him eighth in the group, but Giusti improved to 1m59.238s to go fastest.

Behind them on track, Antonelli was flying, going fastest in the first sector before setting a 1m59.013s to head the group.

Haverkort improved, demoting Giusti to third as he lapped 0.143s slower than Antonelli.

Race Performance Motorport’s Santiago Ramos, van Hoepen and Arden’s Joshua Duerksen were among those to improve on their final lap to complete the top six.

Prema’s Rafael Camara was the first driver in Group A to set a sub-2m00s lap, with just under five minutes remaining, as Tramnitz and Stenshorne moved up to second and third.

Camara had been on course to go faster still on his next lap, going fastest in the first two sectors, but exceeding track limits at turn six meant his laptime was deleted.

Tramnitz and Stenshorne did improve, and Tramnitz went top with a 1m59.361s that was 0.064s faster than points leader Stenshorne’s previous effort.

Stenshorne made a small mistake at turn three next time by and aborted his lap, while Tramnitz was 0.165s down.

Masson, on form all weekend on his third outing with Sainteloc, was quickest in sector one and set a 1m59.329s to edge Tramnitz by 0.032s.

Despite also improving on his final lap, Camara had to settle for fourth, 0.023s slower than Stenshorne.

Behind him, fellow Ferrari junior Maya Weug continued her recent strong qualifying form to take fifth in the group.

Qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Group B Group A
1 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema 1m59.013s
2 Esteban Masson Sainteloc Racing 1m59.329s
3 Kas Haverkort Van Amersfoort Racing 1m59.156s
4 Tim Tramnitz R-ace GP 1m59.361s
5 Alessandro Giusti G4 Racing 1m59.238s
6 Martinius Stenshorne R-ace GP 1m59.425s
7 Santiago Ramos R-P-M 1m59.277s
8 Rafael Camara Prema 1m59.448s
9 Laurens van Hoepen ART Grand Prix 1m59.389s
10 Maya Weug KIC Motorsport 1m59.703s
11 Joshua Duerksen Arden 1m59.476s
12 Owen Tangavelou Trident 1m59.715s
13 Lorenzo Fluxa Prema 1m59.488s
14 Maceo Capietto R-P-M 1m59.779s
15 Michael Belov G4 Racing 1m59.672s
16 Victor Bernier MP Motorsport 1m59.887s
17 Sami Meguetounif MP Motorsport 1m59.758s
18 Roman Bilinski Trident 1m59.950s
19 Marcus Amand ART Grand Prix 1m59.782s
20 Nikhil Bohra Trident 2m00.075s
21 Tom Lebbon Arden 1m59.912s
22 Joshua Dufek Van Amersfoort Racing 2m00.226s
23 Emmo Fittipaldi Sainteloc Racing 2m00.104s
24 Matias Zagazeta R-ace GP 2m00.352s
25 Charlie Wurz ART Grand Prix 2m00.184s
26 Kirill Smal Monolite Racing 2m00.352s
27 Lucas Medina Sainteloc Racing 2m00.214s
28 Giovanni Maschio Monolite Racing 2m01.104s
29 Levente Revesz Arden 2m00.428s
30 Enzo Scionti Monolite Racing 2m01.214s
31 Pierre-Alexandre Provost G4 Racing 2m00.949s
32 Ivan Klymenko KIC Motorsport 2m01.275s
33 Niels Koolen Van Amersfoort Racing 2m01.380s