PHM Racing’s James Egozi won both ACCR Formula 4 races at the Red Bull Ring, as Reno Francot moved into the points lead.
The grid grew from six cars to 10 for round two of the season, with PHM duo Egozi and Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi, Sape Motorsport’s Miroslav Mikes and Jenzer Motorsport’s Mathias Bjerre Jakobsen being the additions.
Egozi was fastest in a wet qualifying session, taking pole by 0.205 seconds over the family-run Michael Sauter. The pair had also been the top two in practice, with 0.395s between them. There was 0.901s covering qualifying’s top six, but the remaining four drivers were considerably further off the pace.
The threat of rain also loomed over race one on Saturday, and so the field started behind the safety car. Once green flags were waved, Egozi and Sauter battled for the lead but eventually Egozi cemented himself up front and pulled away for not only his first podium finish in single-seater racing but also his first win by 4.182s.
Bhirombkhakdi cleared Sauter and looked comfortable in third until Jenzer’s Reno Francot started hunting him down late in the race. Sauter finished fourth, with Jenzer’s championship leader Ethan Ischer taking fifth place after Jakobsen was penalised 10s post-race. Mikes kept out of trouble to finish eighth on his single-seater debut.
Egozi and Bhirombhakdi shared the front row for race two on Sunday, with Francot and Sauter just behind them.
It ended up being another assured victory for rookie Egozi, while drama took place behind. Bhirombhakdi sent Sauter wide at turn four while they fought over second, and Ischer was sent into retirement from contact with Francot.
The safety car was called out and was only needed for a short time while the recovery proccess took place. Once racing resumed, Egozi raced away while Francot demoted Bhirombhakdi to third and took the points lead.
A drive-through that was then converted into a 30s post-race penalty sent Bhirombhakdi down to seventh in the final race classification, meaning Oliver Michl and Nikolas Taylor’s close battle ended up being for fourth rather than fifth. It was Gender Racing Team’s Michl who prevailed there, by 0.799s.
Also racing at the Red Bull Ringwas the Austrian Formula 3 Cup, which had five Dallara 320 cars on its grid including one piloted by Euroformula racer Juju Noda.
Race 1 (16 laps)
1 James Egozi PHM Racing 26m29.686s
2 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing +4.182s
3 Reno Francot Jenzer Motorsport +4.766s
4 Michael Sauter Sauter Engineering+Design +8.006s
5 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport +13.367s
6 Mathias Bjerre Jakobsen Jenzer Motorsport +20.116s
7 Nikolas Taylor Renauer Motorsport +24.275s
8 Jiri Safranek Renauer Motorsport +38.264s
9 Oliver Michl Gender Racing Team +39.682s
10 Miroslav Mikes Sape Motorsport +51.683s
P: Egozi, 1m31.581s
FL: Egozi, 1m32.198s
Race 2 (15 laps)
1 Egozi 25m21.088s
2 Francot +4.729s
3 Jakobsen +9.587s
4 Michl +32.484s
5 Taylor +33.283s
6 Safranek +36.532s
7 Bhirombhakdi +37.707s
8 Mikes +50.617s
FL: Egozi, 1m32.206s
1 Francot 66 2 Ischer 60 3 Egozi 50 4 Taylor 43 5 Sauter 38 6 Michl 36 7 Safranek 30 8 Bhirombhakdi 24 9 Jakobsen 23 10 Mikes 5