Home News Ferrari junior Tuukka Taponen tops day one of F4 UAE pre-season testing

Ferrari junior Tuukka Taponen tops day one of F4 UAE pre-season testing

by Ida Wood

Photo: FDA

Ferrari junior Tuukka Taponen topped day one of Formula 4 United Arab Emirates pre-season testing at Dubai Autodrome.

The first representative laptime was set by Sainteloc Racing’s Theophile Nael in the hour-long morning session, and he improved twice to 2m06.982s before MP Motorsport’s Valerio Rinicella then bettered him by a third of a second.

Rinicella was able to stay on top for almost 19 minutes as he went faster four times until he got to 2m04.464s.

With 22 minutes to go he was knocked off top spot by Hitech GP’s Will Macintyre, whose penultimate lap – a 2m03.701s – put him three quarters of a second clear.

Rinicella was shuffled down to third by Mumbai Falcons’ James Wharton on his last lap, and was 0.413s off Macintyre.

Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu was the only other driver within a second of Macintyre, 0.003s slower than Rinicella, although R-ace GP driver Jesse Carrasquedo in fifth actually had the fastest second-best laptime and along with Rinicella was one of only two who were twice able to lap sub-2m04.8s. Macintyre’s second-best effort was only a 2m05.616s.

The second session started at 11:20am and ran into the afternoon, and Nael was first to lap. He was on top for seven seconds before Yas Heat Academy’s Keanu Al Azhari crossed the line and broke into the 2m05s. His next lap was an improvement of almost two thirds of a second, but it did not keep him ahead long as Mumbai Falcons’ Taponen got into the 2m04s.

Wharton moved ahead by almost half a second a minute after Taponen’s lap, but the latter responded with a faster 2m04.283s. However Wharton’s next lap was the session’s first sub-2m04s effort.

Taponen improved three times in the next 10 minutes, then Wharton returned to the top by a tiny margin after getting his tyres back into the window following two cool-down laps.

Nael edged agead by 0.040s in the final 10 minutes, but he would not end up on top, as a minute later Carrasquedo knocked almost a second off the benchmark and became the first to lap sub-2m03s with a 2m02.579s.

That went unbeaten through the session’s second half, and R-ace team-mate Zachary David got closest as he set a 2m03.149s. Taponen demoted Nael to fourth, ahead of Wharton, R-ace’s Alexander Abkhazava and Macintyre.

PHM’s Noah Stromsted and Xcel Motorsport’s Noah Lisle did not improve on their morning session times.

Nael was again first to lap at pace in session three, and 12 minutes in Kluss moved ahead, soon lapping in the 2m03s.

Brando Badoer, co-run by Pinnacle Motorsport and Van Amersfoort Racing, was next to the top and stayed there until Yas Heat’s Hamda Al Qubaisi set a 2m06.644s after half an hour. Macintyre quickly shuffled her off top spot by 0.622s.

There was a a flurry of improvements 43 minutes in, with 13 of the top 15 posting personal bests and Taponen setting the test’s fastest lap: a 2m02.572s.

His next lap was a 2m02.173s, which would put him 0.403s clear of Wharton. Prema’s Niko Lacorte rose to third with six minutes remaining, although fourth overall due to Carrasquedo’s session two benchmark.

The session three non-improvers were R-ace trio Carrasquedo, David and Abkhazava, Theodor Jensen, Alexander Bolduev, Victoria Blokhina, Matteo Quintarelli, Rashid Al Dhaheri and Lena Buhler.

Despite being signed to Xcel Motorsport, Fernando Barrichello was driving for Carlin alongside Dion Gowda. The team has not announced any drivers for the upcoming season.

Hitech GP’s Arvid Lindblad drove only in session three.

 Test results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Tuukka Taponen Mumbai Falcons 2m02.173s 52
2 James Wharton Mumbai Falcons 2m02.576s +0.403s 52
3 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr R-ace GP 2m02.579s +0.406s 57
4 Niko Lacorte Prema 2m02.747s +0.574s 54
5 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 2m02.863s +0.690s 54
6 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 2m02.947s +0.774s 58
7 Muhammad Ibrahim Mumbai Falcons 2m02.977s +0.804s 51
8 Will Macintyre Hitech GP 2m03.022s +0.849s 44
9 Zachary David R-ace GP 2m03.149s +0.976s 56
10 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 2m03.226s +1.053s 55
11 Luciano Morano Sainteloc Racing 2m03.261s +1.088s 40
12 Noah Stromsted PHM Racing 2m03.309s +1.136s 42
13 Jakob Bergmeister PHM Racing 2m03.422s +1.249s 57
14 Brando Badoer Pinnacle VAR 2m03.549s +1.376s 45
15 Keanu Al Azhari Yas Heat Academy 2m03.557s +1.384s 63
16 Kanato Le Hitech GP 2m03.582s +1.409s 45
17 Alexander Abkhazava R-ace GP 2m03.591s +1.418s 59
18 Flavio Olivieri Cram-Hitech GP 2m03.605s +1.432s 51
19 Hamda Al Qubaisi Yas Heat Academy 2m03.644s +1.471s 61
20 Federico Rifai Xcel Motorsport 2m03.854s +1.681s 63
21 Valentin Kluss PHM Racing 2m03.883s +1.710s 53
22 Dion Gowda Carlin 2m03.954s +1.781s 59
23 Arvid Lindblad Hitech GP 2m04.021s +1.848s 21
24 Theodor Jensen Sainteloc Racing 2m04.022s +1.849s 58
25 Noah Lisle Xcel Motorsport 2m04.023s +1.850s 62
26 Bianca Bustamante Prema 2m04.158s +1.985s 49
27 James Piszcyk Hitech GP 2m04.244s +2.071s 39
28 George Zhuravskiy Xcel Motorsport 2m04.312s +2.139s 57
29 Emely de Heus MP Motorsport 2m04.371s +2.198s 54
30 Alexander Bolduev Xcel Motorsport 2m04.401s +2.228s 64
31 Victoria Blokhina R2Race 2m04.443s +2.270s 48
32 Matteo Quintarelli Yas Heat Academy 2m04.544s +2.371s 57
33 Rashid Al Dhaheri R-ace GP 2m04.560s +2.387s 55
34 Lena Buhler R2Race 2m04.614s +2.441s 57
35 Sebastian Murray Cram-Hitech GP 2m04.693s +2.520s 48
36 Kai Daryanani Pinnacle VAR 2m04.776s +2.603s 60
37 Akshay Bohra PHM Racing 2m04.846s +2.673s 56
38 Jack Beeton Pinnacle VAR 2m04.930s +2.757s 52
39 Fernando Barrichello Carlin 2m05.003s +2.830s 46