Home Formula 4 MP’s Griffin Peebles wins the Formula Winter Series title at Barcelona

MP’s Griffin Peebles wins the Formula Winter Series title at Barcelona

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gedlich Racing/Daniel Burgin

MP Motorsport’s Griffin Peebles became Formula Winter Series champion at Barcelona in a final round heavily disrupted by rain.

The first qualifying session on Saturday morning got red flagged and then abandoned before anybody had set a lap due to stormy weather, and therefore the laptimes from the final pre-event test session were used for race one’s grid. That put Adam Hideg on pole, even though he was the 25th fastest driver in testing.

It was still very wet when drivers headed out to the grid in the afternoon, with several sighting laps being completed to get an understanding of the track conditions. The safety car led the field for the first one-and-a-half laps, with red flags stopping the action after that as rain fell. Enzo Tarnvanichkul had already retired by that point, but it did not matter as with no restart not enough running took place for the race to count. That also meant the title fight reduced down to five contenders.

Q2 went ahead in full on Sunday morning. Nathan Tye was fastest by a huge 0.631 seconds over Griffin Peebles to earn pole for race three, with Kabir Anurag, Jan Przyrowski and Andres Cardenas the only other drivers within a second of the pace.

Qualifying 13th was Global Racing Service’s debutant Reno Francot, the 2023 Formula 4 Central European Zone runner-up.

Drivers’ second-best laptimes set race two’s grid, and Peebles took pole by 0.127s over Tye. Cardenas was 0.509s back in third, with Przyrowski 0.965s off the pace in fourth.

It was fully dry for race two, but the safety car still got involved on lap one. Peebles made a great launch, Tye dropped to sixth and Cardenas got into second ahead of Ernesto Rivera. There was a crash behind them at turn two, with three cars needing retrieval from the gravel.

Tarnvanichkhul and Peter Bouzinelos fell to the back by pitting before the lap five restart, where Gianmarco Pradel went to the inside of Rivera to take third at turn one and Tye dropped to 27th over the course of the lap.

Peebles pulled away until the safety car returned on lap 11 after Pradel spun off at turn one. Rivera returned to third place, and Maciej Gladysz sat fourth as he had passed Francot around the outside at turn one on lap eight. Jan Przyrowski had overtaken Flavio Olivieri and Matheus Ferreira in successive laps, which meant he took the lap 13 restart in eighth.

Douwe Dedecker dropped from sixth to eighth on the restart lap, and was passed by Ferreira into turn one next time by. He then slid over the kerbs and into Ferreira’s side at turn two, which spun Ferreira off and meant the 16-lap race finished behind the safety car.

Peebles extended his points lead with victory ahead of Cardenas, who was now his sole title rival, and Rivera. Akshay Bohra rose from 21st to eighth, and a penalty for track limits abuse costing Maxim Rehm 10th place meant Keanu Al Azhari scored from 30th on the grid.

Race three had two formation laps due to Lorenzo Castillo stalling, and at the start Peebles and Olivieri went either side of Tye to sweep ahead. Oliveri, who had jumped the start from seventh on the grid, almost got the lead but was fourth behind Przyrowski by turn four. He reclaimed third at turn eight, and Pradel passed Anurag for fifth.

Cardenas passed Olivieri on lap three, before the safety car appeared as Edouard Borgna went off. Olivieri pitted on lap four, and when racing resumed on lap seven Tye left the door open for Cardenas to take second while Anurag got back past Pradel. Mid-lap contact between Ferreira and Przyrowski sent Ferreira spinning into a wall and Przyrowski pitting for a new nose, with the safety car required again.

Just before the lap 10 restart, a slow-moving Hideg in eighth caught out the cars behind. Thomas Strauven hit Jack Beeton who in turn hit Hideg, who then trundled down the main straight and was wheeled into the pits via a gap in the wall.

Pradel passed Anurag once again, then an off for Arthur Dorison at turn one meant the safety car was called back out. Rivera went off at turn two and fell down the order, and Strauven pitted for a new front wing.

The lap 12 restart was cleaner, and Peebles built a 1.371s gap in the last two laps. Pradel dived down Tye’s inside at turn five to claim third, and Al Azhari came from 20th to finish sixth. Dedecker held off Frey for seventh, and Beeton broke his front wing trying to pass Frey so finished 30th.

Results round-up
Race 2 (16 laps)
1 Griffin Peebles MP Motorsport 35m51.291s
2 Andres Cardenas Campos Racing +0.354s
3 Ernesto Rivera Campos Racing +0.980s
4 Maciej Gladysz MP Motorsport +2.667s
5 Reno Francot GRS +2.981s
6 Lucas Fluxa MP Motorsport +3.326s
7 Jan Przyrowski Campos Racing +3.712s
8 Akshay Bohra US Racing +3.929s
9 Flavio Olivieri Cram Motorsport +4.117s
10 Keanu Al Azhari MP Motorsport +5.285s
Pole: Peebles, 1m54.892s
Fastest lap: Peebles, 1m43.009s

Race 3 (13 laps)
1 Peebles 30m14.959s
2 Cardenas +1.371s
3 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing +3.247s
4 Nathan Tye Campos Racing +4.182s
5 Kabir Anurag US Racing +4.809s
6 Al Azhari +5.237s
7 Douwe Dedecker GRS +6.136s
8 Enea Frey Jenzer Motorsport +6.551s
9 Francot +6.975s
10 Fluxa +7.414s
P: Tye, 1m53.631s
FL: Peebles, 1m42.992s

Championship standings
Peebles 175   Cardenas 152   3 Gladyz 92   4 Pradel 79   5 Matheus Ferreira 75   6 Juan Cota 64   7 Al Azhari 55   8 Mikkel Pedersen 55   9 James Egozi 54   10 Bohra 53