Home News MP trio Clerot, Al Azhari and Rinicella claim poles for Spanish F4 opener

MP trio Clerot, Al Azhari and Rinicella claim poles for Spanish F4 opener

by Ida Wood

Photo: F4 UAE

MP Motorsport’s drivers shared the pole positions in qualifying for the opening round of the Spanish Formula 4 season at Spa-Francorchamps.

The track was declared wet for the two sessions on Friday afternoon, and Campos Racing’s Jesse Carrasquedo Jr was quickly shown the black-and-orange flag in Q1 for his rain light on the rear of the car not being on.

His team-mate Noah Stromsted was first to set a flying lap five minutes in, with Matteo De Palo setting an identical laptime to him.

Stromsted lowered the pace into the 2m44s with his second lap, as many drivers slid off the track, but was almost immediately usurped by Enzo Deligny, another one of his team-mates.

Deligny was then bettered only a few moments after by MP’s Valerio Rinicella, who brought the pace down into the 2m43s. Stomsted’s third lap, a 2m43.151s, returned him to the top only for Rinicella to cross the line nine seconds later in 2m42.586s.

The pace was improving on a track that was not too wet, and MP’s Keanu Al Azhari then set a 2m42.354s. That put him on provisional pole for two minutes until Campos’s Christian Ho posted a 2m42.182s, which was swiftly bettered by MP’s Pedro Clerot.

The 2m41.521s lap that Clerot put in was 0.661 seconds faster than what Ho could manage, although Al Azhari had time for one more lap and got within 0.279s of Clerot to qualify second for race one.

Yellow flags were then waved at tun 10 before Q1 was red flagged with 16 seconds left on the clock, guaranteeing Clerot pole.

Rinicella ended up a second off the pace in fourth as he was denied the opportunity to imrpove at the end, but he had a big advantage in hand over Stromsted who was the only other driver within two seconds of Clerot.

In total 18 of the 30 drivers had laptimes deleted for track limits violations, and Monlau Motorsport’s Fernando Barrichello failed to qualify as his only flying lap did not count. He will require permission to race.

The laptime deletions also influenced the race two grid, set from each driver’s second-best laps. Al Azhari ended up with pole by 0.439s over Clerot, with Rinicella 0.950s back in third.

Rodin Carlin’s Noah Lisle qualified fourth after only being the eighth fastest driver in Q1, with Stromsted and Deligny filling row three. Global Racing Service duo Daniel Macia and Carl Bennett will start from row four, the pair both over 2.7s off the pace.

Q2 was red flagged after only two drivers had lapped the track, and after it restarted Rinicella set the pace. He claimed pole for race three by 0.249s over Al Azhari, with De Palo in third the only other driver within a second of the pace. Clerot qualified fourth.

Qualifying round-up
Race 1 grid
1 Pedro Clerot MP Motorsport 2m41.521s
2 Keanu Al Azhari MP Motorsport +0.279s
3 Christian Ho Campos Racing +0.661s
4 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport +1.065s
5 Noah Stromsted Campos Racing +1.630s
6 Daniel Macia Global Racing Service +2.143s
7 Enzo Deligny Campos Racing +2.154s
8 Noah Lisle Carlin +2.775s
9 Alex Ninovic Carlin +3.512s
10 Daniel Nogales Drivex School +3.565s

Race 2 grid
1 Al Azhari 2m42.354s
2 Clerot +0.439s
3 Rinicella +0.950s
4 Lisle +1.007s
5 Stromsted +1.197s
6 Deligny +2.035s
7 Daniel Macia GRS +2.766s
8 Carl Bennett GRS +3.205s
9 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing +3.446s
10 Ninovic +3.594s

Race 3 grid
1 Rinicella 2m37.308s
2 Al Azhari +0.249s
3 Matteo De Palo Campos Racing +0.327s
4 Clerot +1.025s
5 Federico Al Rifai Carlin +1.226s
6 Ho +1.506s
7 Nogales +1.770s
8 Stromsted +1.890s
9 Fernando Barrichello Monlau Motorsport +1.937s
10 Deligny +1.999s