Enzo Peugeot and Evan Giltaire go into French Formula 4’s title decider on Sunday split by four points after Giltaire was one of the race winners on Saturday at Paul Ricard.
Giltaire topped qualifying to take pole for races one and three, with Peugeot only fifth fastest but starting fourth for Saturday’s opening race due to Paul Alberto carrying over a five-place grid penalty from the Ledenon round that dropped him from fourth to ninth on the grid.
There was no challenging Giltaire in the nine-lap race, which he won by 1.85 seconds over Kevin Foster. He was 0.969s clear at the start of lap three when the safety car came out due to Karel Schulz stopping in the circuit’s extensive run-off, then on the next lap debuting guest driver Athur Dorison – the 2022 FIA Karting Academy Trophy winner and French OK-Junior karting champion – also stopped on track.
Hiyu Yamakoshi meanwhile ended his race in the pits, and racing was not able to resume until lap six. This time Giltaire built a lead of 1.4s within a lap, and went on to take his fifth win of 2023.
Third-placed qualifier Romain Andriolo dropped down the order on lap one and that put Peugeot into third. He spent some time being hassled by Edgar Pierre, who at one point tried to pass him off-track and managed to get through on the restart lap. By finishing fourth, it meant Peugeot’s leas was reduced from 26 down to 12 points.
Andriolo recovered from 14th to finish sixth, just 0.04s behind Paul Alberto.
Garrett Berry had reversed-grid pole for race two, ahead of Yani Stevenheydens, Jason Leung, Pierre and Peugeot, with Giltaire down in 10th.
Stevenheydens took the lead on lap two, and Berrio tried reclaiming it at Signes on lap five but was unsuccessful. He tried again on lap six, and by lap eight Stevenheydens was weaving down the first part of the back straight to try to break the tow.
Not long after the safety car came out, as Max Reis rolled out of the race at Signes.
Racing resumed two laps later and Stevenheydens repeated his weaving technique, while Berrio had another go at passing. Once again it did not work out at Signes, and he had Foster and Giltaire close behind.
There was one last chance on the last lap, which went a similar way. Stevenheydens aggressively weaved down the back straight, Berrio went for the outside at Signes and actually got his nose in front but then brief contact approaching Beausset dropped him back behind and he was lucky to keep Foster at bay.
Andrei Duna finished eighth despite hobbling across the line and stopping his car at the pit exit, and he was not the only driver to pick up damage. Peugeot had contact at the start that immediately ended his race, Pierre stopped later in the lap and Alberto pitted to retire at the end of it.
Yamakoshi lost his front wing on lap three after colliding with Jason Leung as they dispited third place, Adrien Closmenil pitted with a broken front wing on lap four and Pol Lopez did the same a lap later.
Race 1 (9 laps)
1 Evan Giltaire 22m11.131s
2 Kevin Foster +1.850s
3 Edgar Pierre +4.738s
4 Enzo Peugeot +5.195s
5 Paul Alberto +7.043s
6 Romain Andriolo +7.083s
7 Garrett Berry +8.324s
8 Yani Stevenheydens +9.361s
9 Jason Leung +10.638s
10 Adrien Closmenil +10.928s
Pole: Giltaire, 2m06.569s
Fastest lap: Giltaire, 2m07.385s
Race 2 (10 laps)
1 Stevenheydens 22m37.711s
2 Berry +0.557s
3 Foster +0.820s
4 Giltaire +1.144s
5 Enzo Richer +2.813s
6 Leung +4.245s
7 Leonardo Megna +4.871s
8 Andrei Duna +5.180s
9 Frank Porte-Ruiz +5.296s
10 Finn Wiebelhaus +6.409s
FL: Andriolo, 2m07.538s
1 Peugeot 295 2 Giltaire 291 3 Foster 216 4 Andriolo 178 5 Hiyu Yamakoshi 131 6 Berry 116 7 Stevenheydens 107 8 Richer 76 9 Pierre 70 10 Pol Lopez 54