Home News Nicolas Stati and Kekai Hauanio star in Mid-Ohio’s weekend of F4 racing

Nicolas Stati and Kekai Hauanio star in Mid-Ohio’s weekend of F4 racing

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

United States Formula 4 and the sister Ligier JS F4 Series raced at Mid-Ohio this weekend.

The two grouped together for practice, with seven of US F4’s second-generation chassis and 13 of the older cars on track. Nicolas Stati topped both sessions, a 1m25.228s in FP1 putting him 0.074 seconds ahead of Pablo Benites Jr and 0.77s and 0.846s clear of Daniel Quimby and Connor Roberts in third and fourth. Alex Crosbie was fifth, then second in FP2 and quickest of the five drivers to set personal bests in the session. Kekai Hauanio was LJSF4S’s top runner, seventh fastest overall.

Qualifying had the two series split and Stati set a 1m25.952s to take pole by 0.279s over Quimby, with Crosbie and Benites 0.508s and 0.636s behind. A 1m27.310s earned Hauanio pole in LJSF4S, with Teddy Musella 0.209s slower in second. Bacon Zelenka and Maite Caceres were third and fourth.

A grippier inside line meant Quimby and Benites each gained a place at the start of US F4 race one, but Stati reclaimed the lead a few corners later. Benites got into second, then his mirrors were filled until lap seven when Quimby got back past into turn one, which also helped Stati break 1.5s clear.

Crosbie repeated Quimby’s move on lap 10, then Roberts made it three-wide into turn two. Benites overtook Crosbie on the inside and Roberts on the outside, and at turn four Roberts attempted the same on Benites but contact sent him barrell-rolling.

A caution period ran to the end of lap 14, when Lincoln Day spun exiting the final corner and collected Barrett Wolfe. The race was therefore declared as finished rather than a restart taking place, so Stati, Quimby and Crosbie filled the podium. Wolfe and Day counted as finishers.

Heavy rain led to race two on Sunday being cancelled, so race three used its grid based on race one’s fastest laps.

Stati and Quimby shared the front row, and went side-by-side through the opening corner. The lead was Stati’s, but then he went deep at turn two and Quimby passed him entering turn four. Once ahead he managed a small gap through the 17-lap race, with Benites closing in late on after he passed Crosbie for third at the penultimate corner of lap 13. Crosbie then drifted off exiting turn one and lost out to Roberts, but later got back past.

Musella passed Hauanio on lap three win LJSFS race one, which finished behind the pace car after Cash Felber retired in the gravel. Zelenka held third until lap 14 when Majman passed him, but Majman spun over a kerb a lap later and dropped to seventh so Zelenka made the podium. Caceres fought Majman mid-race and finished fourth, and Drew Szuch was fifth before mysteriously slowing and dropping to eighth.

Race two mirrored US F4’s grid-setting format. Hauanio had pole but was passed by Musella at turn two, then fell behind Caceres and Zelenka as lap two began. Caceres almost passed Musella on the run to turn four, and on lap three Hayden Bowlsbey overtook Hauanio at turn six after several corners going side-by-side.

As the track got wetter on lap seven, Hauanio’s recovery began. He passed Bowlsbey into turn one, cut a two-second gap then overtook Zelenka on lap eight, dived down the inside of Caceres at turn two on lap 10 and threaded his way past Musella in The Esses on lap 11. After that he pulled away, winning the 16-lap race by 2.52s.

Caceres and Musella twice traded places on the penultimate lap, and Bowlsbey pipped Majman to fifth.

Race two’s fastest laps set race three’s grid. Szuch crashed out on the third warm-up lap, then Pollack and Caceres missed their grid spots, so a further formation lap was required with Szuch starting from the pits.

Hauanio led the field away, with Zelenka passing Pollack for second into turn one and Musella passing Caceres for fourth at turn six. Zelenka spun later in the lap, and two others sliding off led to a caution period. Racing resumed on lap six and Musella dived down Pollack’s inside at turn four, with Majman forcing his way past Pollack a few corners later.

Rafal Wolosz crashing brought out red flags on lap seven, but he rejoined the restarted race. Pollack tried hard to reclaim third but the door was kept shut on lap eight, while a recovering Zelenka broke his rear wing. Yellow flags and then the chequered flag waved on lap nine, securing Hauanio victory and sixth place for Zelenka.

Results round-up
Race 1 (14 laps)
1 Nicolas Stati Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport 24m06.784s
2 Daniel Quimby Atlantic Racing Team +0.305s
3 Alex Crosbie Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +0.732s
4 Pablo Benites Jr Scuderia Buell +0.914s
5 Barrett Wolfe Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +1 lap
6 Lincoln Day MLT Motorsports +1 lap
Ret Connor Roberts Team Roberts Racing
Pole: Stati, 1m25.952s
Fastest lap: Stati, 1m25.285s

Race 3 (17 laps)
1 Quimby 25m29.166s
2 Stati +0.264s
3 Benites +0.822s
4 Crosbie +5.171s
5 Roberts +6.942s
6 Day +52.409s
7 Wolfe +1m14.030s
FL: Benites, 1m32.112s

Championship standings
1 Stati 98   2 Quimby 92   3 Benites 76   4 Roberts 61   5 Crosbie 55   6 Day 46   7 Wolfe 36

Ligier JS F4 Series
Race 1 (19 laps)
1 Teddy Musella Scuderia Buell 28m58.502s
2 Kekai Hauanio Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +0.989s
3 Bacon Zelenka Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +3.374s
4 Maite Caceres International Motorsport +4.292s
5 Hayden Bowlsbey IGY6 Motorsports +5.306s
6 Jake Pollack Jensen Global Advisors +5.549s
7 Brad Majman Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +7.175s
8 Drew Szuch Szuch Racing +9.587s
9 Jacob Lawter IGY6 Motorspots +45.772s
10 Roman Felber Jensen Global Advisors +1 lap
P: Hauanio, 1m27.310s
FL: Hauanio, 1m27.638s

Race 2 (16 laps)
1 Hauanio 25m55.003s
2 Musella +2.520s
3 Caceres +2.921s
4 Zelenka +3.513s
5 Bowlsbey +14.686s
6 Majman +14.866s
7 Pollack +15.894s
8 Szuch +27.396s
9 Lawter +44.085s
10 Demitri Nolan Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +44.405s
FL: Hauanio, 1m34.810s

Race 3 (9 laps)
1 Hauanio 18m12.640s
2 Musella +0.302s
3 Majman +1.027s
4 Pollack +1.425s
5 Lawter +1.657s
6 Zelenka +2.255s
7 Szuch +2.789s
8 R Felber +4.177s
9 Bowlsbey +4.769s
10 Cash Felber Jensen Global Advisors +6.031s
FL: Musella, 1m34.462s

Championship standings
1 Musella 155   2 Hauanio 149   3 Zelenka 134   4 Caceres 107   5 Majman 71   6 Pollack 65   7 Szuch 50   8 Christopher Parrish 42   9 Lawter 25   10 Bowlsbey 22