Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Antonelli targets top 10 from 32nd on grid after qualifying engine issue

Antonelli targets top 10 from 32nd on grid after qualifying engine issue

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Diederik van der Laan / Dutch Photo Agency

Andrea Kimi Antonelli is aiming for a top-10 finish in Formula Regional European Championship race two at Imola, despite starting 32nd on the grid following an engine problem in qualifying.

The Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior spent most of qualifying on Sunday in the pits, with his Prema team working feverishly on his car. Although he took to the track in the closing minutes, he returned to the pits without lapping at competition speeds.

Despite not setting a representative laptime, the stewards have cleared him to start the race, albeit from last place on the 16th row of the grid.

Prema was reluctant to discuss the exact nature of the problem, although hoped that it could be fixed in time for Sunday afternoon’s race, while Antonelli told Formula Scout in the Imola paddock that it was probably an electrical issue.

This follows problems with the turbocharger in race one on Saturday which Antonelli finished second in. He believed the problems prevented him from challenging R-ace GP’s race winner Martinius Stenshorne.

With overtaking difficult at the twisty Imola circuit, making progress will be tough, despite the availability of push-to-pass. Nevertheless, the optimistic Antonelli said that he was aiming to get into the top 10.

He also rued his continuing run of bad luck at the track, the closest on the calendar to his native Bologna, following his retirement in the opening Formula 4 race at the circuit a year ago with gearbox problems.

“At least we can use up all our bad luck this weekend,” he smiled, as he looks to salvage as much as possible from race two.