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Antonelli’s masterful display brings him fifth title in two years

by Roger Gascoigne

Andrea Kimi Antonelli added the Formula Regional European Championship title to his growing trophy collection with a masterful display in awful weather conditions at Zandvoort.

Having taken the ADAC and Italian Formula 4 titles in 2022, he followed that up with a gold medal in the FIA Motorsport Games at the end of the year and then victory in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship at the start of 2023.

“I have no words to describe my feelings right now,” he said immediately after the race.

“It’s been a long championship. We started a bit off but we came back stronger and to win today is really special for me.”

Despite finishing second in the weekend’s first race, Antonelli had felt that “we didn’t really have the pace today. To be honest, I was struggling so it was just damage limitation.”

But in Sunday’s second race, Antonelli left no doubt about his and the car’s ultimate performance, dominating the wet race, to secure the title ahead of the Hockenheim finale.

Antonelli’s closest challenger, Martinius Stenshorne, had to settle for the rookie title, which he clinched in Saturday’s first race. Stenshorne has driven superbly in his maiden season, leading the championship until Paul Ricard, just beofre the championship’s summer break.

Although both drivers’ titles were decided ahead of the final round, Prema go into the last two races at Hockenheim with a 43 point advantage over R-ace GP.

With the pressure now off, Antonelli’s sights are now fully set on helping his team defend the title they regained from their French rivals last year.

“Now we will focus on Hockenheim, as we have a team title to fight for, and we want to finish the season on a high,” he added.

Others though are focused on Antonelli’s next step for 2024, with the Mercedes-AMG junior set to skip FIA Formula 3 entirely. A representative of the programme confirmed as much to Formula Scout at Zandvoort, but would not be drawn on whether he will instead race in Formula 2, as is expected.