Home Formula 4Euro 4 Slater wins after huge crash and safety car confusion at Monza

Slater wins after huge crash and safety car confusion at Monza

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Freddie Slater became a winner in just his fifth single-seater race in an utterly chaotic Euro 4 encounter at Monza.

Poleman Kacper Sztuka held the lead into turn one by quickly moving to the inside down the pit straight, while Brando Badoer passed Zachary David and then moved ahead of Akshay Bohra into Parabolica to move from sixth to fourth.

Arvid Lindblad cleanly overtook Sztuka around the outside of turn one on lap two, and Sztuka tried reclaiming first place at the della Roggia chicane. He had the outside line and slightly cut the second part of the chicane but held position.

Behind them, Tuukka Taponen passed David at the chicane and then went down the inside of Bohra at Parabolica to rise to fifth and Badoer set the fastest lap as he caught up with the top three.

Bohra moved back past Taponen into turn one on lap three, and Badoer got himself into a podium position by passing Slater down the inside of Parabolica.

Giacomo Pedrini pitted for a new front wing on lap four after going off at Lesmo 1, then the race erupted into chaos on lap five.

Sztuka retook the lead down the pit straight, and not long after the safety car was out following a huge multi-car crash.

Alfio Spina had contact at turn two that broke his rear-right wheel and left him crabbing across the track, and he had just come to a halt when Enzo Deligny ploughed into him from the side. Deligny had cut the first two corners entirely and rejoined the circuit by driving into Spina. His front-right wheel rode over Spina’s front-left and sent him bouncing into the rear wing of Flavio Olivieri.

That sent Olivieri spinning down the straight with a broken rear-left wheel and rear wing, and when Davide Larini slowed down behind to avoid striking any of the already destroyed cars it led to further chaos. Aurelia Nobels exited turn two and rode straight over Larini’s rear-left wheel and then over the rear wing of Spina, leading to her car rolling and then landing on top of Deligny’s sideways.

Several drivers took to the grass to avoid joining the attrition, and the safety car had to lead the field through the escape road between the pit straight and Curva Grande for the next three laps.

Racing resumed on lap nine and Badoer went to the inside as he tried to pass Lindblad. But Lindblad braked late and he ended up actually passing Sztuka as although he ran deep he managed to keep his car on track at turn one.

At Curva Grande a marshal post was displaying a safety car board and waving a yellow flag, but none of the posts before or after were doing the same. Lindblad started weaving and was passed by Slater, James Wharton, Ugo Ugochukwu and David, while Badoer and Sztuka joined him in slowing down and dropped to sixth and eighth.

Race control confirmed the board had been erronously shown, but because of the confusion that had already been caused decided to summon the safety car once more. Slater led, with Ugochukwu and Wharton’s fight for eighth now for second.

Sztuka moved past Bohra for seventh before the lap 10 restart, where Slater raced away and David cut the first chicane to briefly hold second before dropping back behind the two Prema drivers he had passed.

Tuukka Taponen had to retire in the pits after an incident at Lesmo 2, and Bohra passed Badoer into the Ascari chicane. Sztuka and Bohra almost collided on the straight and corner after, with Sztuka losing seventh.

There was more drama on the next lap as Wharton locked up and turn one but held second, then locked up again at della Roggia and collided with Ugochukwu, leading to both cutting the chicane and Ugochukwu getting ahead.

Slater ended up winning by 1.946 seconds over Ugochukwu, with Badoer taking fifth from Lindblad around the outside of Parabolica and Rashid Al Dhaheri demoting Sztuka to ninth.

Race result (12 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Freddie Slater Prema 32m24.518s
2 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +1.946s
3 James Wharton Prema +2.604s
4 Zachary David US Racing +2.845s
5 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +3.365s
6 Arvid Lindblad Prema +3.446s
7 Akshay Bohra US Racing +3.652s
8 Rashid Al Dhaheri Prema +4.240s
9 Kacper Sztuka US Racing +4.524s
10 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing +6.406s
11 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +6.956s
12 Diego de la Torre AKM Motorsport +11.694s
13 Rafael Modonese Van Amersfoort Racing +12.191s
14 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing +13.119s
15 Kai Daryanani Cram Motorsport +14.042s
16 Tina Hausmann AKM Motorsport +14.543s
17 Niko Lacorte Prema +15.216s
18 Pablo Sarrazin Van Amersfoort Racing +15.422s
19 Ruiqi Liu US Racing +15.507s
20 Ismail Akhmed Van Amersfoort Racing +15.794s
21 Frederik Lund Van Amersfoort Racing +16.091s
22 Kamal Mrad AKM Motorsport +16.094s
23 Griffin Peebles BVM Racing +16.265s
24 Tuukka Taponen Prema +1 lap
25 Giacomo Pedrini PHM Racing +1 lap
Ret Alfio Spina BVM Racing
Ret Enzo Deligny AKM Motorsport
Ret Flavio Olivieri Cram Motorsport
Ret Davide Larini AKM Motorsport
Ret Aurelia Nobels Prema
Fastest lap: Sztuka, 1m53.158s

Championship standings
1 Ugochukwu 98   2 Wharton 78   3 Sztuka 64   4 Lindblad 60   5 Bohra 57   6 David 28   7 Slater 25   8 Domingues 20   9 Al Dhaheri 18   10 Lacorte 16