Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Camara blitzes pole for first FREC race of 2024 at Hockenheim

Camara blitzes pole for first FREC race of 2024 at Hockenheim

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: FRECA

Prema’s Rafael Camara clinched pole position for the first Formula Regional European Championship race of 2024 at Hockenheim.

The highest-placed returning driver from last season topped the first qualifying group with the fastest lap of the event so far.

Prema and R-ace GP, the top two teams in 2023, locked out five of the six top spots on the grid and the latter outfit’s rookie Enzo Deligny will line up alongside Camara on the front row after topping the times in the second qualifying group.

The field was as usual divided into two for qualifying, with the draw based on times set in the second free practice session from Friday rather than the usual championship order.

R-ace’s Tuukka Taponen was second fastest overall, 0.134s slower than Camara and the only driver other than him to set a sub-1m35s lap, but will start from third place as he was in the poleman’s qualifying group.

The only interloper in the top six, ART Grand Prix’s Evan Giltaire, lines up fourth after a close fight for top spot in his group with Deligny.

After a lengthy delay caused by an incident in the preceding session on track necessitating barrier repairs, it was the fourth lap of qualifying before anybody posted a representative laptime.

Taponen set the initial pace, just ahead of Prema’s James Wharton and ART GP’s free practice pacesetter Alessandro Giusti.

Wharton moved to the front next time around by just 0.008s over Camara, with Taponen just 0.052s further back.

After a cooling down lap, Camara nailed his next flyer, going fastest in sector one en route to the first sub-1m35s lap of the weekend. Wharton was unable to improve, and was beaten by Taponen.

Giusti had to settle for fourth in the group after taking a trip through the gravel at turn 12 on his final lap.

An improvement on his final lap lifted Van Amersfoort Racing’s Pedro Clerot to fifth ahead of MP Motorsport’s Nikita Bedrin.

Deligny was immediately to the fore in the second group, posting a 1m35.515s on his fourth lap, and was never headed. He lowered his best time by 0.045s three laps later to make sure of top spot. Giltaire failed to improve on his final push laps after getting up to second and was just 0.062s slower than Deligny.

Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu held third for most of the session losing some of his laps due to track limits abuse, then was demoted in the closing stages by impressive late laps from R-ace’s Zachary David and VAR’s Ivan Domingues.

Iron Dames’ Doriane Pin will start from 18th on her and the team’s debut, with team-mate Marta Garcia 27th.

The third F1 Academy graduate on the grid, Lena Buhler, will line up at the back of the grid.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Group A Group B
1 Rafael Camara Prema 1m34.848s
2 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP 1m35.470s
3 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 1m34.982s
4 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix 1m35.532s
5 James Wharton Prema 1m35.028s
6 Zachary David R-ace GP 1m35.553s
7 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix 1m35.176s
8 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing 1m35.725s
9 Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing 1m35.508s
10 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 1m35.789s
11 Nikita Bedrin MP Motorsport 1m35.534s
12 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 1m35.790s
13 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 1m35.578s
14 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 1m35.859s
15 Noah Stromsted R-P-M 1m35.695s
16 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport 1m35.938s
17 Roman Bilinski Trident 1m35.718s
18 Doriane Pin Iron Dames 1m35.957s
19 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing 1m35.786s
20 Niko Lacorte Trident 1m35.991s
21 Kanato Le G4 Racing 1m35.906s
22 Matteo De Palo Sainteloc Racing 1m36.106s
23 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M 1m35.930s
24 Ruiqi Liu Trident 1m36.331s
25 Costa Toparis KIC Motorsport 1m35.950s
26 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing 1m36.603s
27 Marta Garcia Iron Dames 1m36.202s
28 Edgar Pierre R-P-M 1m36.651s
29 Jesse Carrasquedo G4 Racing 1m36.258s
30 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport 1m36.661s
31 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix 1m36.556s
32 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix 1m37.053s
33 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport 1m36.777s