Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Camara quickest in pre-event testing as FREC paddock returns to Spa

Camara quickest in pre-event testing as FREC paddock returns to Spa

by Ida Wood

Photo: Prema

The Formula Regional European Championship paddock returned to Spa-Francorchamps today for the first time since Dilano van’t Hoff’s death in a race last year for a day of testing.

There was a morning and afternoon session, and the surprise pacesetter early in session one was ART Grand Prix’s Yaroslav Veselaho. He had topped the times several times in the first 15 minutes before setting a more representative 2m19.846s, which he then improved upon to 2m18.977s on his next tour.

R-ace GP’s Zachary David scrubbed 0.072 seconds off that benchmark, and MP Motorsport’s Nikhil Bohra utilised his slipstream to better him by 0.253s. Within a minute the pace had been lowered twice more, by Sainteloc Racing’s Matteo De Palo and then Van Amersfoort Racing’s Pedro Clerot.

Bohra was first to break into the 2m17s, then Clerot improved twice going into the session’s second hour and put down a 2m17.197s as the new time to beat.

His team-mates met that challenge, with Brando Badoer setting a 2m16.992s and Ivan Domingues a 2m16.852s. That put Domingues on top for 16 minutes before R-ace’s Tuukka Taponen set a 2m16.663s, then 90 minutes in Prema’s drivers came to the fore.

Rafael Camara went fastest by 0.379s, team-mate James Wharton then went 0.167s quicker than him, and Camara’s response was to reclaim first place by 0.111s with a 2m16.006s.

He led the way for 11 minutes before ART GP’s Alessandro Giusti set a 2m15.483s, which proved unbeatable for 50 minutes. Giusti was eventually usurped by Prema’s contingent, with Wharton posting a 2m15.343s, Camara going 0.021s faster and Ugo Ugochukwu just 0.002s quicker than that.

Wharton responded to his team-mates’ pace by setting the first sub-2m15s lap, and Giusti also had room for improvement as he set a 2m14.866s that put him on top until the chequered flag waved at the end of two-and-a-half hours.

The afternoon session lasted three-and-a-half hours, and had far fewer changes at the top.

It was not until 15 minutes in that any laps were set, with Taponen posting a 2m29.515s. He was followed across the line by team-mate Enzo Deligny, who set a 2m22.742s, then two minutes later Taponen reclaimed top spot with a 2m15.961s. He stayed there for over two hours, only improving twice. He set a 2m15.224s on the lap after the one that put him ahead, then found a further 0.003s two laps later.

A 2m14.741s from Camara finally demoted Taponen to second. That lap went unbeaten through the last 67 minutes of testing, and nobody else was able to beat Taponen’s previous benchmark.

Wharton finished the session 0.561s behind in third, with Badoer, Ugochukwu, MP’s Valerio Rinicella and Trident’s Roman Bilinski the only others within a second of the pace.

Giusti, Wharton, Ugochukwu, Race Performance Motorsport’s Noah Stromsted and ART GP’s Evan Giltaire failed to beat their morning laptimes but ended the test in second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh overall. Trident’s Ruiqi Liu, Iron Dames’ Marta Garcia and ART GP’s Lena Buhler were also non-improvers.

Test results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Rafael Camara Prema 2m14.741s 46
2 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix 2m14.866s +0.125s 40
3 James Wharton Prema 2m14.949s +0.208s 48
4 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 2m15.221s +0.480s 61
5 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 2m15.320s +0.579s 39
6 Noah Stromsted R-P-M 2m15.330s +0.589s 39
7 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix 2m15.339s +0.598s 43
8 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 2m15.507s +0.766s 40
9 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 2m15.692s +0.951s 37
10 Roman Bilinski Trident 2m15.735s +0.994s 48
11 Ruiqi Liu Trident 2m15.905s +1.164s 55
12 Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing 2m15.926s +1.185s 46
13 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing 2m15.931s +1.190s 47
14 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing 2m15.947s +1.206s 43
15 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP 2m15.956s +1.215s 60
16 Kanato Le G4 Racing 2m15.965s +1.224s 48
17 Matteo De Palo Sainteloc Racing 2m15.978s +1.237s 51
18 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M 2m16.033s +1.292s 38
19 Niko Lacorte Trident 2m16.233s +1.492s 42
20 Marta Garcia Iron Dames 2m16.289s +1.548s 53
21 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport 2m16.304s +1.563s 31
22 Zachary David R-ace GP 2m16.336s +1.595s 58
23 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 2m16.382s +1.641s 45
24 Edgar Pierre R-P-M 2m16.670s +1.929s 39
25 Costa Toparis KIC Motorsport 2m16.707s +1.966s 49
26 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr G4 Racing 2m17.141s +2.400s 48
27 Doriane Pin Iron Dames 2m17.145s +2.404s 43
28 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing 2m17.238s +2.497s 47
29 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix 2m17.342s +2.601s 48
30 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport 2m17.508s +2.767s 34
31 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix 2m17.671s +2.930s 44
32 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport 2m17.676s +2.935s 44