Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Rain cancels FREC’s first practice at Spa then Wharton tops FP2

Rain cancels FREC’s first practice at Spa then Wharton tops FP2

by Ida Wood

Photo: Prema

Prema’s James Wharton was fastest in the single Formula Regional European Championship practice session at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday.

Two sessions had been scheduled, but heavy rain in the morning meant the first was cancelled. Drivers therefore had to wait until the afternoon for their 50 minutes of running,

The first laps were set five minutes in, with ART Grand Prix’s Evan Giltaire laying down a 2m32.545s benchmark, but nobody reached a representative pace until 21 minutes of the session had passed.

Trident’s Roman Bilinski was the first to really set some flying laps, recording a 2m22.600s on his fourth tour of the circuit then improving to 2m20.646s and 2m19.396s on the next two.

He spent six minutes on top before Wharton bettered him by 0.013 seconds, then on his next lap he lowered the pace by over a second as he set a 2m18.323s.

That did not stand as the fastest lap for long either, as two minutes later his team-mate Rafael Camara also made a huge pace gain by posting a 2m17.631s.

There remained a lot of scope for improvement, and next to lead the way was Race Performance Motorsport’s Noah Stromsted. He beat Camara by 0.017s, then Sainteloc Racing’s Theophile Nael knocked 0.494s off the benchmark pace 33s later.

There was still 15 minutes left of the session to go, and there was nine left on the clock when Nael was demoted to second by a 2m16.872s from Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer. He spent less than a minute on top, as Bilinski jumped from 21st to first place with a 2m15.725s lap that looked unbeatable.

After a few more laps and no improvements he pitted, while almost everyone else was out in the final two minutes. Wharton went quickest with 71s to go, bettering Bilinski by 0.079s, and Stromsted lapped 0.081s off the new fastest lap as he climbed to third.

Camara and Nael were shuffled down to fourth and fifth, G4 Racing’s Kanato Le was sixth, Badoer ended up seventh ahead of MP Motorsport’s Valerio Rinicella and on his penultimate lap G4’s Jesse Carrasquedo rose from 25th place to ninth.

There were 10 drivers who got within a second of Wharton’s pace, and the top 24 was covered by 1.919s. At the bottom of the timesheet were Trident’s Niko Lacorte and ART GP’s Yaroslav Veselaho, both more than 4.4s off the pace, and the struggling Alex Sawer (KIC Motorsport) and Lena Buhler (ART GP). Buhler was so slow that her pace exceeded 107% of the session’s fastest lap.

Free practice results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 James Wharton Prema 2m15.646s 15
2 Roman Bilinki Trident 2m15.725s +0.079s 14
3 Noah Stromsted R-P-M 2m15.727s +0.081s 17
4 Rafael Camara Prema 2m16.012s +0.366s 14
5 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 2m16.061s +0.415s 14
6 Kanato Le G4 Racing 2m16.193s +0.547s 15
7 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 2m16.370s +0.724s 17
8 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 2m16.378s +0.732s 14
9 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr G4 Racing 2m16.546s +0.900s 14
10 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 2m16.609s +0.963s 15
11 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing 2m16.618s +0.972s 14
12 Nanhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport 2m16.740s +1.094s 16
13 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing 2m16.874s +1.228s 15
14 Costa Toparis KIC Motorsport 2m16.875s +1.229s 17
15 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix 2m16.934s +1.288s 15
16 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing 2m17.111s +1.465s 16
17 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP 2m17.217s +1.571s 15
18 Edgar Pierre R-P-M 2m17.240s +1.594s 16
19 Ruiqi Liu Trident 2m17.306s +1.660s 16
20 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M 2m17.336s +1.690s 14
21 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport 2m17.379s +1.733s 16
22 Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing 2m17.428s +1.782s 15
23 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 2m17.558s +1.912s 11
24 Marta Garcia Iron Dames 2m17.565s +1.919s 16
25 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix 2m17.684s +2.038s 16
26 Matteo De Palo Sainteloc Racing 2m17.730s +2.084s 15
27 Zachary David R-ace GP 2m18.012s +2.366s 15
28 Doriane Pin Iron Dames 2m18.162s +2.516s 16
29 Niko Lacorte Trident 2m20.056s +4.410s 16
30 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix 2m20.643s +4.997s 12
31 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport 2m23.834s +8.188s 12
32 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix 2m29.116s +13.470s 9