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)
|2||Alfio Spina||BVM Racing||+2.344s|
|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|
|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|
|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