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Dunne makes up for grid penalty with Italian F4 win at Imola

by Peter Allen

Photo: ACI Sport

Alex Dunne recovered from a grid penalty to dominate the second race of the Italian Formula 4 season at Imola in a US Racing one-two.

Dunne had qualified on pole position in the wet-dry second qualifying session on Saturday morning but was adjudged to have not respected yellow flags and was given a five-place grid penalty.

That put rookie Frederik Lund onto pole position after his R-ace GP team rebuilt his car following a sizeable crash in race one, but he made a slow getaway and Iron Lynx driver Ivan Domingues raced into the lead from the outside of the front row ahead of AKM Motorsport’s Pedro Clerot.

The US duo of Kacper Sztuka and Dunne moved up to third and fourth from the third row of the grid, then went either side of Clerot under braking into Rivazza, with Dunne emerging in second place.

Dunne quickly demolished the two-second advantage built up by Domingues and took the lead on the way into Tamburello for the fourth time.

Sztuka pulled the same move two laps later but couldn’t prevent Dunne from building up a five-second lead out front. That was until the safety car was deployed with seven minutes left on the clock after Arias Deukmedjian came together with Marcos Flack at Rivazza and got buried in the gravel trap.

The race restarted with time for two final laps and although Dunne’s initial restart was good, he went deep in Tamburello which meant Sztuka was all over him on the way to Villeneuve. Dunne held on though to take what is already his fifth F4 win of 2022 after successes in the United Arab Emirates and in Britain.

Second is by far Sztuka’s best F4 result – he didn’t even score a point as a rookie in 2021 – and there was a chance of a US Racing podium lockout on the final lap after an excellent restart from Marcus Amand.

That took him from sixth to fourth and onto the tail of James Wharton, who had to go defensive but was able to hold on to third after starting 10th, the Ferrari junior salvaging something for Prema after its gamble on slick tyres backfired in Q2.

After losing a likely win in race one, Andrea Kimi Antonelli again failed to score having had to pit for a new front wing on lap two – just as team-mate Conrad Laursen had done after the opening tour.

Race one winner Rafael Camara came from 31st on the grid after engine trouble in Q2 to finish eighth behind Martinius Stenshorne, Maya Weug and Domingues.

Race result (17 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Alex Dunne US Racing 32m50.042s
2 Kacper Sztuka US Racing +1.441s
3 James Wharton Prema Racing +3.695s
4 Marcus Amand US Racing +4.187s
5 Martinius Stenshorne Van Amersfoort Racing +5.050s
6 Maya Weug Iron Dames +5.643s
7 Ivan Domingues Iron Lynx +6.197s
8 Rafael Camara Prema Racing +6.684s
9 Nikita Bedrin PHM Racing +6.782s
10 Taylor Barnard PHM Racing +6.957s
11 Pedro Clerot AKM Motorsport +7.339s
12 Alfio Spina BWR Motorsport +7.600s
13 Frederik Lund R-ace GP +8.239s
14 Jonas Ried PHM Racing +8.778s
15 Nikhil Bohra US Racing +9.194s
16 Charlie Wurz Prema Racing +9.642s
17 Elia Sperandio Maffi Racing +11.170s
18 Pedro Perino US Racing +11.951s
19 Emerson Fittipaldi Jr Van Amersfoort Racing +12.316s
20 Ricardo Escotto Cram Motorsport +12.666s
21 Marcos Flack R-ace GP +12.708s
22 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport +13.143s
23 Andrea Frassineti Cars Racing +13.790s
24 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema Racing +14.501s
25 Conrad Laursen Prema Racing +15.561s
26 Alex Partyshev Jenzer Motorsport +16.100s
27 Rishab Jain BWR Motorsport +20.821s
28 Ismail Akhmed AKM Motorsport +24.373s
29 Giovanni Maschio AS Motorsport +24.451s
Ret Viktoria Blokhina PHM Racing +3 laps
Ret Jules Castro Van Amersfoort Racing +3 laps
Ret Arias Deukmedjian Van Amersfoort Racing +6 laps
Ret Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +6 laps
Fastest lap: Antonelli 1m45.739s

Championship standings
1 Dunne 43   2 Camara 29   3 Wharton 27   4 Stenshorne 20   5 Sztuka 18   6 Bedrin 17   7 Amand 16   8 Barnard 9   9 Weug 9   10 Domingues 8