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Masson triumphs in French F4 opener at Nogaro

by Craig Woollard

Photo: KSP

Esteban Masson won for the first time in French Formula 4 after leading the season-opening race at Nogaro from pole position.

Masson, 2019 French karting champion, is not a complete F4 newcomer after making one-off appearances in both of the past two seasons.

He got a fine start from his first pole position and led Owen Tangavelou, who overtook front-row starter Hugh Barter in the early stages.

While Tangavelou was occasionally able to take chunks out of Masson’s lead throughout the 15-lap race, he often found himself under pressure from Daniel Ligier and Barter.

The order at the front stayed the same, and the battle over second had increased gaps as the race came to its conclusion.

Masson beat Tangevelou by 2.987 seconds, just ahead of Ligier, who beat single-seater debutant Barter to the final podium spot.

There was drama on the formation lap, as Maceo Capietto stopped at Turn 5. Set to start from fourth, last year’s FIA Karting Academy runner-up was able to have his car recovered before the start proper without delay.

Aiden Neate was a distant fifth, beating Dario Cabanelas and Julien Gael and finishing as the leading junior driver.

The battle over the minor points was tight, with Alessandro Giusti passing Noah Andy on the penultimate lap for eighth, and Thanpongpan Sutumno rounding out the points scorers after a poor start.

There was a collision on the penultimate lap between Vignesh Kadarabad and Angelina Favario over last place on the road. That after Adam Szydlowski had joined Capietto as an early retirement, stopping short of the grid ahead of the start and being towed to the pits, before eventually retiring for good after a few laps.

Race results (15 laps)
Pos Driver Time/Gap
1 Esteban Masson 22m09.111s
2 Owen Tangavelou +2.987
3 Daniel Ligier +3.455
4 Hugh Barter +4.447
5 Aiden Neate +14.928
6 Dario Cabanelas +15.421
7 Gael Julien +15.875
8 Alessandro Giusti +23.691
9 Noah Andy +26.069
10 Thanapongpan Sutumno +26.371
11 Enzo Geraci +34.019
12 Pierre-Alexandre Provost +35.309
13 Angelina Favario +1 lap
14 Vignesh Kadarabad +2 laps
Ret Adam Szydlowski
Ret Maceo Capietto
Fastest lap: Masson, 1m27.377s

Championship standings
1 Masson 28   2 Tangavelou 18   3 Ligier 15   4 Barter 12   5 Neate 10   6 Cabanelas 8   7 Julien 6   8 Giusti 4   9 Andy 2   10 Sutumno 1