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Red Bull junior Lindblad takes Italian F4 lead with victory in Imola final

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: ACI Sport

Red Bull junior Arvid Lindblad made the most of a great start to take victory in the fourth and final Italian Formula 4 race at Imola.

A late safety car period left just enough time for a one-lap sprint to the flag with Prema’s Lindblad fighting off Van Amersfoort Racing duo Brando Badoer and Ivan Domingues, and with BVM Racing’s Alfio Spina looking to put them under pressure.

Entering the Villeneuve chicane on the final tour, Domingues tapped Badoer, pushing both of the track, allowing Spina to take second ahead of Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu.

The grid had been set from an accumulation of results in the first three races, where drivers were split into groups due to the high number of entries, with race four marking the first time they all raced together.

Lindblad got the drop on polesitter Niko Lacorte to take the lead into Tamburello, but Badoer and Domingues tried to go inside Lacorte, forcing the Italian off line and dropping him to seventh.

By the end of lap two, Lindblad headed Badoer by 1.8 seconds, with a five-car train behind comprising Domingues, Spina, Ugochukwu and US Racing’s Zachary David, followed by Kacper Sztuka who had demoted Lacorte to eighth.

However, before race one winner Sztuka could make any further progress he was forced into the pits and retirement with an electronics issue.

Badoer started to chip away at the gap at the front, setting the fastest lap on lap four. However, any further progress was halted by the safety car coming out.

Jesse Carrasquedo Jr had bounced off the kerb at Villeneuve, propelling him into the innocent and luckless Matheus Ferreira, with Aurelia Nobels forced to take avoiding action through the gravel.

The incident was the final straw in a disastrous weekend for Alpine junior Ferreira who was unable to maintain his practice pace after spinning off on a damp patch on his first lap of qualifying, dropping him to the back of the grid for his first two races.

At the restart following race four’s first safety car period, Lindblad had to defend from Badoer into Tamburello, earning him a warning in the process.

The race was soon neutralised for a second time after Jenzer Motorsport’s Hwarang Kim went off at Acque Minerali.

Bizarrely, Prema’s Tuukka Taponen was hit behind the safety car, the damage causing his retirement after running in 12th.

Lindblad came under pressure again at the final restart, but the coming together of the VAR team-mates behind allowed him to cruise to his first series victory by over two seconds.

Race result (13 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Arvid Lindblad Prema 27m28.778s
2 Alfio Spina BVM Racing +2.344s
3 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +2.937s
4 Niko Lacorte Prema +3.796s
5 Zachary David US Racing +4.079s
6 Valentin Kluss PHM Racing +4.634s
7 Akshay Bohra US Racing +5.002s
8 Matteo De Palo R-ace GP +5.338s
9 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing +5.598s
10 Enzo Deligny AKM Motorsport +5.971s
11 James Egozi PHM Racing +6.969s
12 Jack Beeton Van Amersfoort Racing +7.017s
13 James Wharton Prema +7.175s
14 Ariel Elkin Jenzer Motorsport +7.337s
15 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport +7.608s
16 Matteo Quintarelli R-ace GP +8.861s
17 Finn Wiebelhaus AS Motorsport +9.161s
18 Aurelia Nobels Prema +9.707s
19 Raphael Narac R-ace GP +9.939s
20 Victoria Blokhina PHM Racing +10.255s
21 Griffin Peebles AKM Motorsport +10.589s
22 Davide Larini AKM Motorsport +10.801s
23 Manuel Quondamcarlo AS Motorsport +11.062s
24 Ismail Akhmed Van Amersfoort Racing +11.553s
25 Guido Luchetti Airflow Racing +11.934s
26 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +13.574s
27 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +1 lap
28 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing +2 laps
29 Tuukka Taponen Prema +2 laps
30 Rashid Al Dhaheri Prema +2 laps
31 Kim Hwarang Jenzer Motorsport +3 laps
Ret Jesse Carrasquedo Jr BVM Racing
Ret Matheus Ferreira Van Amersfoort Racing
Ret Kacper Sztuka US Racing
Ret Tina Hausmann AKM Motorsport
Ret Ruiqi Liu US Racing
Fastest lap: Badoer, 1m45.208s

Championship standings
1 Lindblad 61   2 Lacorte 52   3 Ugochukwu 40   4 Spina 38   5 David 33   6 Badoer 30   7 Domingues 27   8 Sztuka 25   9 Kluss 24   10 Akshay Bohra 18