Home Formula 4FAcademy Finland Axel Saarniala wins 2020 Formula Academy Finland title

Axel Saarniala wins 2020 Formula Academy Finland title

by Elliot Wood

Photo: Timo Pullikka

Axel Saarniala was crowned 2020 Formula Academy Finland champion at Alastaro in the second round of a shortened season.

The coronavirus pandemic hit the series’ plans hard, with only five entries and four races contributing to the season.

Saarniala won both races of the Formula 4-based series, which has run within the open-class Formula Open Finland this year, and followed that up with a clean sweep at Alastaro too.

Jussi Kuivakangas, Finland’s 2018 KZ2 shifter kart champion, edged Saarniala to pole position for race one by just 0.016 seconds and the pair started on row two of the full FOpen grid.

They were similarly matched in the race two, where Kuivakangas was usually the faster of the two. The importance of track position meant that once Saarniala got through there wasn’t much that Kuivakangas could do on Alastaro’s narrow layout.

Nestori Virtala and Emil Virtanen weren’t massively slower than the top two, but they ended up being lapped by the leading FOpen drivers and lost significant time as a result.

Race two was even less successful for those two drivers, as both recorded only one lap. Kuivakangas went further, but only Saarniala completed the full distance and made the overall FOpen podium to finish the season with a perfect score.

Results round-up
Race 1 (15 laps)
1 Axel Saarniala 21m07.715s
2 Jussi Kuivakangas +1.118s
3 Nestori Virtala +1 lap
4 Emil Virtanen +1 lap
Pole: Kuivakangas, 1m15.949s
Fastest lap: Kuivakangas, 1m21.511s

Race 2 (15 laps)
1 Saarniala 21m28.430s
2 Kuivakangas (DNF)
3 Virtala (DNF)
4 Virtanen (DNF)
FL: Saarniala, 1m15.421s

Championship standings
1 Saarniala 100   2 Kuivakangas 72   3 Virtala 45   4 Virtanen 32   5 Ari Kalliola 24