Home Formula 4French F4 Kieffer and Kato claim French F4 wins in mixed conditions at Spa

Kieffer and Kato claim French F4 wins in mixed conditions at Spa

by Ida Wood

Photo: FFSA Academy

Chester Kieffer and Taito Kato won French Formula 4’s two Saturday races at Spa-Francorchamps.

Race one started on a wet track so everyone used grooved tyres, and poleman Yani Stevenheydens lost the lead to fellow front row starter Jules Caranta. They then collided on lap two, with Kieffer moving to the front while Caranta dropped to fourth.

The pace was constantly getting faster on a drying track, and Stevenheydens set the fastest lap on lap three to get back within 0.6 seconds of Kieffer. The leader then lowered the pace over the next three laps, then Stevenheydens snatched back the fastest lap on lap seven to sit 0.663s behind.

Chasing them was Kato, who set the fastest lap on each of the final two tours but still trailed the victory fight by some distance. Kieffer met the chequered flag with 0.528s in hand over Stevenheydens, who got a 10s penalty for causing a collision and so was classified third.

Caranta held off Rayan Caretti for fourth, and Franik Porte Ruiz was a lonely sixth.

Alex O’Grady finished seventh ahead of Jules Roussel, who made two passes late in the race.

Juan Roussel had reversed-grid pole for race two, which took place primarily in the dry. On lap one Roussel faced a lead challenge from Gabriel Doyle-Parfait but held him off after several wheel-to-wheel moments.

Augustin Bernier climbed from sixth to third, ahead of O’Grady, Kato, Stevenheydens, Kieffer and Dylan Estre.

Kieffer and Stevenheydens cut Les Combes while fighting for sixth on lap two, as Bernier took second place and Kato rose to fourth. Stevenheydens cleared O’Grady at La Source next time by, with Kieffer doing so too later in the lap, as Doyle-Parfairt reclaimed second down the Kemmel Straight.

O’Grady lost three more spots on lap four, and Kato passed Bernier at Les Combes on lap five then went around the outside of Doyle-Parfait at the final chicane on lap six.

Doyle-Parfait tried and failed to get back past at Les Combes, then he fell away from Kato at the end of lap seven as a rainstorm hit the last corner and pit straight. As the first to encounter it, Roussel lost out the most and his lead went from a second to 0.251s. A three-wide fight for third formed behind, and Estre went from seventh to third down the dry Kemmel Straight.

Kato took the lead before they returned to the rain, with Stevenheydens and Bernier now fighting for fourth. Doyle-Parfait found himself in a big battle for seventh, which led to him dropping even further to ninth.

The final lap began with Estre, Stevenheydens and Bernier going three-wide for third, and with the top two also battling it meant the top six closed up. Kato held on by 0.285s, Estre finished third from 11th on the grid and Bernier reclaimed fourth from Stevenheydens.

Results round-up
Race 1 (9 laps)
1 Chester Kieffer 23m56.865s
2 Taito Kato +2.410s
3 Yani Stevenheydens +10.528s
4 Jules Caranta +11.006s
5 Rayan Caretti +11.760s
6 Frank Porte Ruiz +14.409s
7 Alex O’Grady +19.036s
8 Jules Roussel +19.258s
9 Gabriel Doyle-Parfait +20.236s
10 Augustin Bernier +20.892s
Fastest lap: Kato, 2m37.295s

Race 2 (10 laps)
1 Kato 24m06.213s
2 Roussel +0.285s
3 Dylan Estre +1.070s
4 Bernier +1.630s
5 Stevenheydens +1.841s
6 Kieffer +2.173s
7 Caranta +3.276s
8 O’Grady +3.666s
9 Doyle-Parfait +4.276s
10 Jason Leung +5.029s
FL: Kato, 2m22.539s

Championship standings
1 Kato 118   2 Stevenheydens 97   3 Kieffer 87   4 Caranta 87   5 Caretti 62   6 Roussel 36   7 Porte Ruiz 27   8 Bernier 26   9 Estre 23   10 O’Grady 21