Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Camara climbs from sixth to win closely fought FREC opener at Spa

Camara climbs from sixth to win closely fought FREC opener at Spa

by Ida Wood

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Prema’s Rafael Camara came from sixth to take a second Formula Regional European Championship win in 2024 and extend his points lead in race one at Spa-Francorchamps.

His team-mate James Wharton did not start due to a qualifying crash, and neither did Race Performance Motorsport’s Giovanni Maschio after stopping on the formation lap. That led to 10-minute delay (after the start had already been put back by an hour), another formation lap and a shortening of the race by six minutes.

Trident’s Roman Bilinski started on pole, ahead of Sainteloc Racing’s Enzo Peugeot, R-P-M’s Noah Stromsted, ART Grand Prix’s Alessandro Giusti and R-ace GP’s Zachary David. Going down the Kemmel Straight for the first time it was three-wide for the lead, with Peugeot on the outside and Stromsted ripping along the grass on the inside.

Stromsted dropped to fourth when they reached Les Combes, with David taking second but then going off along with six others. Peugeot emerged in the lead but ran into the gravel at the exit, putting Bilinki back ahead.

Camara took third from Stromsted at the final corner, but the latter reclaimed it at La Source, then at the end of lap two David dived down the inside of Bilinski at the final chicane to snatch the lead. Bilinski took back the lead down the Kemmel Straight, while behind the top four Peugeot fought with team-mate Matteo De Palo for fifth before Giusti slipped past.

De Palo skipped the final chicane on lap four, but stayed ahead of Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer and Ivan Domingues, then the next dramatic moment came on lap six as Stromsted and Camara passed David entering Les Combes.

Giusti cut Les Combes on lap seven, and on lap eight Stromsted took the lead down the Kemmel Staight and Camara demoted Bilinski to third at the final chicane.

Stromsted immediately built a 0.9s gap, but it was nullified on lap 11 as Camara passed him at Les Combes before they encountered yellow flags caused by R-P-M’s Edgar Pierre being beached in the gravel.

When they reached green flags again they had one more lap of racing, and the victory fight came down to the final seconds. Stromsted dived down Camara’s inside at the final chicane and ran him as deep as possible, but Camara was able to stay on track and exit the final corner ahead. Stromsted then swept to the left, and lost out in a photo finish.

There was no change to the four positions behind, but Badoer did briefly hold seventh. A huge lock-up into the final chicane on lap nine put him past De Palo, who got back past as Domingues dropped to 10th behind MP Motorsport’s Nikhil Bohra. Badoer passed De Palo again down the Kemmel Straight on lap 10, but was back behind at Bruxelles, then touching the gravel late in the lap put him behind Bohra too.

A track limits penalty lost Domingues 10th place to R-ace’s Enzo Deligny, who passed Sainteloc’s Theophile Nael on the last lap.

Race results (12 laps)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Rafael Camara Prema 27m30.156s
2 Noah Stromsted R-P-M +0.129s
3 Roman Bilinski Trident +3.616s
4 Zachary David R-ace GP +4.366s
5 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing +6.709s
6 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix +7.404s
7 Matteo De Palo Sainteloc Racing +10.392s
8 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport +11.148s
9 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +12.062s
10 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP +13.733s
11 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing +14.391s
12 Evan Giltaire Trident +14.865s
13 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP +15.498s
14 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport +15.780s
15 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +16.145s
16 Niko Lacorte Trident +17.525s
17 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +18.007s
18 Ruiqi Liu Trident +20.027s
19 Costa Toparis KIC Motorsport +20.659s
20 Kanato Le G4 Racing +25.874s
21 Marta Garcia Iron Dames +26.660s
22 Doriane Pin Iron Dames +28.054s
23 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr G4 Racing +33.126s
24 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport +33.298s
25 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix +36.030s
26 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport +37.690s
27 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix +39.436s
Ret Edgar Pierre R-P-M
Ret Romain Andriolo G4 Racing
Ret Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing
DNS Giovanni Maschio R-P-M
DNS James Wharton Prema
Fastest lap: Stromsted, 2m16.505s

Championship standings
Camara 68   2 Giltaire 25   3 Domingues 25   4 Badoer 24   5 Taponen 20   6 Stromsted 18   7 Bilinski 17   8 Wharton 15   7 Deligny 14   8 David 12   9 Giusti 12   10 Nikita Bedrin 12