Home Formula 4French F4 Chester Kieffer and Frank Porte Ruiz win at Ledenon in French F4

Chester Kieffer and Frank Porte Ruiz win at Ledenon in French F4

by Ida Wood

Photo: KSP Reportages

Chester Kieffer and Frank Porte Ruiz won the first two French Formula 4 races of the weekend at Ledenon.

Kieffer led lights-to-flag in the 15-lap race one, leading home Taito Kato by 1.456 seconds. That equated to an advantage of 0.097s per lap, not much more than the 0.084s margin he beat the Honda junior to pole by.

Just behind Kato in the race was Yani Stevenheydens, who started seventh but rose to fourth on lap one then passed Jules Caranta on lap two to make it onto the podium. There was drama behind him on that lap, with Jules Roussel dropping to seventh behind Rayan Caretti and Augustin Bernier while Alexandre Munoz and Dylan Estre retired.

There was then no overtaking in the top 15 until lap seven, when Arthur Dorison passed Jason Leung for 10th. Two laps later Karel Schulz overtook Leonardo Megna for 15th shortly before the safety car was called out.

Racing resumed on lap 11, and after a drama-free restart Kieffer pulled away from Kato for his maiden win. Second place put Kato level on points at the top of the championship with Caranta, who finished 2.102s behind the winner in fourth.

Caretti was fifth, with Roussel reclaiming sixth from Bernier on the last lap. Arthur Dorison came from 15th on the grid to finish ninth, passing four cars in the first two laps, clearing Leung mid-race then passing Alex O’Grady on lap 12. Leung followed him past O’Grady two laps later.

Four drivers failed to see the chequered flag, with Arjun Chheda and Tom Le Brech ending their races in the pits.

Porte Ruiz and Montego Maassen shared the front row for the reversed-grid race two, and a slow start dropped Maassen to fifth as Stevenheydens jumped from fourth to second ahead of O’Grady and Caretti.

There was 1.249s between the top two at the end of lap one, but they were soon nose-to-tail as the safety car was summoned due to Gabriel Doyle-Parfait driving into and over the back of Dorison’s car at turn six on lap two. The incident broke Dorison’s rear wing and meant Doyle-Parfait was stuck on top of his car until they went off-track and his car dislodged and drove over Dorison’s halo.

Romeo Leurs pitted for a new nosecone on lap four, and racing resumed on lap six with plenty of side-by-side action. Maassen lost out in battle and fell to ninth, while Caretti got baulked when trying to attack O’Grady for third.

The next lap was similar for Maassen and he was demoted to 12th, as Porte Ruiz pulled away up front.

Stevenheydens set the fastest lap on lap eight to close back in slightly, as many drivers were issued track limits warnings. Porte Ruiz reclaimed the fastest lap next time around, and won by 2.063s. Second place put Stevenheydens in the points lead.

An error on lap 10 of 14 dropped Bernier to eighth behind Kato, Caranta and Kieffer, with Caranta taking the fastest lap on lap 11.

Results round-up
Race 1 (15 laps)
1 Chester Kieffer 22m32.588s
2 Taito Kato +1.456s
3 Yani Stevenheydens+1.753s
4 Jules Caranta +2.102s
5 Rayan Caretti +4.143s
6 Jules Roussel +4.707s
7 Augustin Bernier +5.162s
8 Frank Porte Ruiz +5.461s
9 Arthur Dorison +6.081s
10 Jason Leung +8.744s
Fastest lap: Kieffer, 1m19.829s

Race 2 (14 laps)
1 Porte Ruiz 22m14.600s
2 Stevenheydens +2.063s
3 Alex O’Grady +3.751s
4 Caretti +4.483s
5 Kato +4.936s
6 Caranta +5.179s
7 Kieffer +6.881s
8 Bernier +7.956s
9 Karel Schulz +11.742s
10 Dylan Estre +12.261s
FL: Caranta, 1m20.423s

Championship standings
1 Stevenheydens 62   2 Kato 58   3 Caranta 57   4 Caretti 46   5 Kieffer 40   6 Megna 20   7 Porte Ruiz 19   8 Leung 15   9 Estre 12   10 Schulz 4   10 O’Grady 10