Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Bilinski takes pole, Wharton escapes crash in FREC’s wet Spa qualifying

Bilinski takes pole, Wharton escapes crash in FREC’s wet Spa qualifying

by Ida Wood

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Trident’s Roman Bilinski took pole for Formula Regional European Championship race one at Spa-Francorchamps.

Qualifying ran in the wet, but the second group had the advantage of a drier line that formed from the first group’s session.

Everyone in Group A headed out immediately, and Sainteloc Racing’s drivers were towards the front of the queue. Despite hypothetically facing a wetter track than those behind they set the pace, with Enzo Peugeot posting a 2m33.429s. Van Amersfoort Racing’s Ivan Domingues was the only driver within a second of him at first.

Trident meanwhile did not have fun, with Ruiqi Liu having his first lap deleted for exceeding track limits at Eau Rouge – a troublesome corner for many on that front – and Niko Lacorte spinning at Les Combes.

Peugeot lowered the pace to 2m32.526s with his second effort, leading team-mate Theophile Nael by 0.095 seconds and MP Motorsport’s Nikhil Bohra by 0.387s. ART Grand Prix’s Alessandro Giusti completed a top four spread by 0.499s, with Le 1.147s behind in fifth.

Next time around Peugeot set a 2m30.955s, with his advantage growing to 0.326s as R-ace GP’s Tuukka Taponen and Enzo Deligny rose to second and third. Nael dropped to sixth behind Giusti and Domingues.

Giusti was first to complete a fourth flying lap, and usurped Peugeot by 0.258s with a 2m30.130s. Prema’s Rafael Camara then demoted Peugeot to third as he got within 0.098s of Giusti’s pace, with Domingues and Nael improving in fourth and fifth.

There was time for one more lap, and Peugeot set a 2m29.587s to reclaim top spot by 0.319s. Giusti was second, Camara and Domingues failed to improve, Bohra went fifth fastest and Nael, Taponen and Deligny also not improving as they rounded out the top eight.

Group B featured some differing strategies, with VAR’s Brando Badoer leaving it late to exit the pits while Prema’s James Wharton and ART GP’s Lena Buhler pitted before setting a flying lap.

Buhler’s team-mate Evan Giltaire was fastest at first, a 2m29.598s putting him 0.544s ahead of R-ace’s Zachary David and 0.586s up on Race Performance Motorsport’s Noah Stromsted.

Pema’s Ugo Ugochukwu was quickest through sector one, but pitted rather than joining the six drivers who completed a lap at a representative pace.

David took over top spot on the next laps with a 2m28.285s, leading VAR’s Pedro Clerot by 0.048s and Giltaire by 0.097s until Badoer crossed the line and went third fastest.

Clerot lowered the pace to 2m27.723s on his third flyer, and Sainteloc’s Matteo De Palo was 0.249s behind in second. There were several non-improvers including David, who had an off, and Wharton’s first flying lap put him 13th.

That then got deleted when he caused a 15-minute red flag period by crashing on the Kemmel Straight. Thankfully he managed to exit his car unaided.

There was time for one flying lap after the restart, and Bilinski set a 2m22.533s to take pole by 0.198s over Stromsted, who will start third behind Peugeot.

David and De Palo were 0.9s behind, and Badoer again left it late to go fifth fastest, demoting Clerot and Giltaire.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Group A Group B
1 Roman Bilinski Trident 2m22.533s
2 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing 2m29.587s
3 Noah Stromsted R-P-M 2m22.731s
4 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix 2m29.906s
5 Zachary David R-ace GP 2m23.457s
6 Rafael Camara Prema 2m30.228s
7 Matteo De Palo Sainteloc Racing 2m23.480s
8 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing 2m30.583s
9 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 2m23.634s
10 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport 2m30.607s
11 Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing 2m23.760s
12 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 2m31.051s
13 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix 2m23.796s
14 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 2m31.171s
15 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 2m23.831s
16 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP 2m31.381s
17 Edgar Pierre R-P-M 2m24.765s
18 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 2m31.418s
19 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport 2m24.854s
20 Ruiqi Liu Trident 2m31.701s
21 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing 2m25.464s
22 Niko Lacorte Trident 2m31.867s
23 Doriane Pin Iron Dames 2m25.868s
24 Costa Toparis KIC Motorsport 2m32.081s
25 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport 2m26.387s
26 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix 2m33.123s
27 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M 2m27.758s
28 Kanato Le G4 Racing 2m33.388s
29 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix 2m33.424s
30 Marta Garcia Iron Dames 2m33.448s
31 James Wharton Prema 4m39.521s
32 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr G4 Racing 2m33.823s