Home Featured Camara starts FREC season with victory at Hockenheim

Camara starts FREC season with victory at Hockenheim

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: FRECA

Rafael Camara held off a late challenge from Prema team-mate James Wharton to win Formula Regional Europe’s opening race at Hockenheim.

The Ferrari junior had to recover from a poor start which dropped him from pole to third into the first corner but was back in front by the end of lap one.

Wharton had moved through the field, and although a late safety car period gave him the opportunity to close onto Camara’s tail he was unable to find a way through.

R-ace GP’s Tuukka Taponen finished third, ahead of Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer who drove a storming race after a mistake in qualifying left him 12th on the grid. He snatched fourth place from his team-mate Ivan Domingues after a thrilling duel.

As the lights went out, Camara got too much wheelspin, leaving thick black marks on the asphalt as he fought to hold off fellow front row starter Enzo Deligny. The R-ace driver however then had to defend from a fast-starting Taponen into the first corner.

As Deligny closed the door to the inside, Taponen had to back off and that allowed Camara to repass him on the exit, before then coming under pressure from the third R-ace car of Zachary David who misjudged his move and spun into retirement.

Camara put Deligny under pressure into turn eight, taking the lead at the exit. Deligny then came under pressure from ART Grand Prix’s Evan Giltaire, before a problem caused him to lock up and run wide in the hairpin, retiring in the pits at the end of lap two.

Having already found a way past Giltaire, Wharton was up to third and lapping quicker than the top two, with Deligny holding the gap to Camara.

On lap seven, Wharton made a move on Deligny into the hairpin before pulling off the pass into turn eight. He now had two seconds to make up on Camara.

Deligny was not able to match Prema’s pace, and on lap nine Taponen executed a mirror image of Wharton’s pass, attacking into the hairpin before switching back to take the inside through turn seven.

Just after Domingues dived to the inside of Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu into turn eight, the safety car was deployed due to the car of Sainteloc Racing’s Theophile Nael being stranded on the inside of turn 12. Domingues resumed his battling for position once the restart occurred on lap 13, forcing his way past Deligny into turn eight and with Badoer and Ugochukwu following him through.

Badoer eventually found a way past his team-mate at turn eight too, with Domingues being forced wide but the two avoiding contact.

Another driver on a charge through the field was MP Motorsport’s Nikita Bedrin. Having disposed of ART GP’s Alessandro Giusti and Deligny, he pulled off an outstanding move on Ugochukwu around the outside of the Sachskurve in the stadium section on the penultimate lap to finish sixth.

Update: Several hours after the race, stewards penalised Wharton one position for being off-track when he completed his move on Taponen, meaning the latter inherited second place.

Race results (18 laps)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Rafael Camara Prema 31m43.091s
2 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP +2.814s
3 James Wharton Prema +1.262s
4 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +7.287s
5 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +11.229s
6 Nikita Bedrin MP Motorsport +11.706s
7 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +13.177s
8 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix +13.526s
9 Roman Bilinski Trident +14.936s
10 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP +15.800s
11 Noah Stromsted R-P-M +15.872s
12 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport +16.435s
13 Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing +16.766s
14 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport +16.849s
15 Matteo De Palo Sainteloc Racing +17.265s
16 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing +17.790s
17 Ruiqi Liu Trident +18.080s
18 Niko Lacorte Trident +19.662s
19 Kanato Le G4 Racing +20.568s
20 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M +20.950s
21 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing +22.495s
22 Jesse Carrasquedo G4 Racing +23.243s
23 Doriane Pin Iron Dames +23.930s
24 Marta Garcia Iron Dames +24.542s
25 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport +24.966s
26 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix +26.074s
27 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport +31.583s
28 Costa Toparis KIC Motorsport +31.761s
29 Edgar Pierre R-P-M +1m34.983s
Ret Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing
Ret Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix
Ret Zachary David R-ace GP
Ret Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix
Fastest lap: Camara, 1m37.108s