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Smal starts Italian F4 season with Paul Ricard victory

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Prema’s Kirill Smal won the first race of the Italian Formula 4 season from pole at a damp Paul Ricard, although a late safety car almost denied him.

Pre-race rain meant the race began with two laps behind the safety car, but no drivers opted for grooved tyres and there was a clean start when racing got underway on lap three.

Smal simply pulled away with every lap, building up a lead of over five second before the safety car came back out with two laps to go as DR Formula’s Pedro Perino spun and stalled at the chicane.

The battle for second had been heating up before that intervention, with US Racing’ Tim Tramnitz holding off continued pressure from Van Amersfoort Racing’s Ollie Bearman. The safety car then returned to the pits for one lap of green flag running, although the result was confusingly then declared several corners into that final lap while Tramnitz was on Smal’s tail.

Prema’s Conrad Laursen was initially fourth, but lost out to team-mate Sebastian Montoya and US’s Vlad Lomko early on. Montoya and Lomko battled until the former made an error that brought R-ace GP’s Victor Bernier close, and after passing Lomko too the Russian went back into Montoya’s clutches. That got messy and resulted in Montoya pitting, and Lomko finishing fifth ahead of Laursen, Iron Lynx’s Leonardo Fornaroli and US’s Luke Browning.

Joshua Duerksen held off a long train of cars to finish ninth for Mucke Motorsport, with Joshua Dufek taking the final point for VAR. AKM Motorsport’s Lorenzo Patrese exited that battle early after a pitstop and then retirement.

Outside of the points there was frantic battles between several of VAR’s drivers, and BVM Racing’s Leonardo Bizzotto was the top single-seater debutant in 16th.

Race results (14 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Kirill Smal Prema 32m36.013s
2 Tim Tramnitz US Racing +0.506s
3 Ollie Bearman Van Amersfoort Racing +0.770s
4 Victor Bernier R-ace GP +1.285s
5 Vlad Lomko US Racing +1.698s
6 Conrad Laursen Prema +2.256s
7 Leonardo Fornaroli Iron Lynx +2.582s
8 Luke Browning US Racing +2.821s
9 Joshua Duerksen Mucke Motorsport +3.164s
10 Joshua Dufek Van Amersfoort Racing +3.688s
11 Sami Meguetounif R-ace GP +4.052s
12 Santiago Ramos Jenzer Motorsport +4.440s
13 Nikita Bedrin Van Amersfoort Racing +4.850s
14 Francesco Simonazzi BVM Racing +5.439s
15 Cenyu Han Van Amersfoort Racing +6.222s
16 Leonardo Bizzotto BVM Racing +6.559s
17 Erick Zuniga Mucke Motorsport +6.908s
18 Jonas Ried Mucke Motorsport +7.378s
19 Maya Weug Iron Lynx +8.182s
20 Francesco Braschi Jenzer Motorsport +9.446s
21 Bence Valint Van Amersfoort Racing +10.891s
22 Marcus Amand R-ace GP +11.186s
23 Kacper Sztuka AS Motorsport +11.390s
24 Georgios Markogiannis Cram Motorsport +11.824s
25 Eron Rexhepi BVM Racing +12.267s
26 Suleiman Zanfari Cram Motorsport +12.636s
27 Piotr Wisnicki Jenzer Motorsport +12.896s
28 Levente Revesz AKM Motorsport +13.895s
29 Nicolas Baptiste Cram Motorsport +14.152s
30 Hamda Al Qubaisi Prema +14.746s
31 Vittorio Catino Cram Motorsport +15.366s
32 Jorge Garciarce Jenzer Motorsport +16.089s
33 Samir Ben Jenzer Motorsport +16.505s
34 Pietro Armanni Iron Lynx +56.949s
35 Sebastian Montoya Prema +2 laps
Ret Samir Ben Jenzer Motorsport
Ret Lorenzo Patrese AKM Motorsport
Fastest lap: Smal, 2m04.878s