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Antonelli wins Italian F4’s first ever race at Spa

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Andrea Kimi Antonelli recovered from falling down to fifth on the opening lap to win the first Italian Formula 4 race at Spa-Francorchamps from pole.

On the grid it was Prema’s drivers that filled the top four positions, and Antonelli came under immediate pressure from team-mate James Wharton.

He attempted to go around Antonelli’s outside entering Les Combes and briefly had the move done but bounced over the kerbs halfway through the first part of the chicane and swept across the track as he rejoined it properly. He then put his right wheels in the gravel at the exit of Les Combes and his car drifted further, while Antonelli was baulked behind him.

That allowed row two starters Rafael Camara and Charlie Wurz to move past, and US Racing’s Marcus Amand too.

One place was recovered for Antonelli on lap two as Amand went straight down the Les Combes escape road while trying to pass the lead pair on the outside, and by the end of the lap there was a queue of three Prema cars as Camara raced ahead.

On the third trip down the Kemmel Straight, Wharton had to fend off a double attack in second place. Wurz came alongside him on the outside, and Antonelli utilised the double slipstream to get on the inside. The pair cleared Wharton on the straight, then Antonelli did Wurz under braking for Les Combes.

Now in clear air, Antonelli set the fastest lap as he tracked down Camara. On lap five of 14 he got onto Camara’s gearbox through Eau Rouge then took the lead from him on the following straight. He immediately moved to the inside after to prevent Camara coming back at him, and once confident he was clear he then romped off into the distance to win by 4.83 seconds.

After a few laps of sitting in second, Camara came under pressure from Wharton and he spent the final third of the race resisting his attacks. That also brought Wurz back into contention, despite the Austrian having fallen into the clutches of Amand and Nikita Bedrin.

Taylor Barnard finished seventh, having a fairly lonely race until Alex Dunne closed onto his rear towards the end. Dunne flew over the Les Combes kerbs when he tried to make a pass and was lucky not to damage his car to finish eighth.

Prema’s Conrad Laursen and US Racing’s Nikhil Bohra finished ninth and 10th, both having squabbled with Dunne earlier in the race. Dunne was penalised 5s post-race for pushing Laursen onto the grass.

Race result (14 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema 33m43.756s
2 Rafael Camara Prema +4.830s
3 James Wharton Prema +5.357s
4 Charlie Wurz Prema +6.227s
5 Marcus Amand US Racing +6.935s
6 Nikita Bedrin PHM Racing +7.646s
7 Taylor Barnard PHM Racing +11.872s
8 Conrad Laursen Prema +14.955s
9 Nikhil Bohra US Racing +15.449s
10 Alex Dunne US Racing +19.222s
11 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +19.393s
12 Ivan Domingues Iron Lynx +21.915s
13 Maya Weug Iron Lynx +23.786s
14 Jonas Ried PHM Racing +28.699s
15 Emmo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing +32.593s
16 Valerio Rinicella AKM Motorsport +33.188s
17 Pedro Perino US Racing +34.943s
18 Arias Deukmedjian Van Amersfoort Racing +37.959s
19 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi Jenzer Motorsport +38.134s
20 Valentin Kluss Jenzer Motorsport +38.662s
21 Jules Castro Van Amersfoort Racing +41.930s
22 Alex Partyshev Jenzer Motorsport +45.770s
23 William Karlsson BVM Racing +46.765s
24 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport +54.488s
25 Elia Sperandio Maffi Racing +54.837s
26 Georgios Markogiannis Cram Motorsport +55.310s
27 Victoria Blokhina PHM Racing +58.671s
28 Ricardo Escotto Cram Motorsport +1m03.372s
29 Rishab Jain BWR Motorsports +1m05.563s
30 Nicholas Monteiro Cram Motorsport +1m06.571s
31 Ismoilkhuja Akhmedkhodjaev AKM Motorsport +1m11.384s
Ret Kim Hwarang BVM Racing
Ret Frederik Lund R-ace GP
Ret Kacper Sztuka US Racing
Ret Martinius Stenshorne Van Amersfoort Racing
Fastest lap: Antonelli, 2m23.138s

Championship standings
Camara 120   2 Antonelli 94   3 Dunne 80   4 Wharton 69   5 Amand 59   6 Sztuka 56   7 Wurz 54   8 Stenshorne 44   9 Bedrin 37   10 Barnard 29