Home Formula 4French F4 Stevenheydens takes lights-to-flag win in French F4 opener at Nogaro

Stevenheydens takes lights-to-flag win in French F4 opener at Nogaro

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: FFSA Academy

Yani Stevenheydens took a comfortable victory in the opening race of the French Formula 4 season at Nogaro.

The Belgian sophomore’s third series win came from his first pole, with his two wins in 2023 having been in reversed-grid races.

Stevenheydens jumped into an immediate lead, and Honda protege Taito Kato passed Jules Caranta for second at the end of lap one. The top two exchanged fastest laps as Kato sought to reduce Stevenheydens’ two-second advantage, their pace at the front pulling them over six seconds clear of Caranta after six laps.

A queue of cars had formed behind the 15-year-old Caranta, and it was headed by Dylan Estre, younger brother of Porsche factory driver Kevin. In his wake Jason Leung, Rayan Caretti and Leonardo Megna were in a close battle for fifth.

From fifth on the grid Montego Maassen, son of Macau Grand Prix winner Sascha, dropped to 15th after two laps before another off left him running last.

Another pre-season favourite, Artur Dorison, dropped out of 12th after spinning at turn eight on lap seven, before returning to the pits to retire a lap later.

Up front, two fastest laps in succession had brought Kato to within 0.7s of Stevenheydens but he was unable to challenge the leader, who quickly reasserted himself to cruise to the flag. Stevenheydens set the only sub-1m26s lap of the race on lap 13 of 15 to underline his advantage.

Caranta held onto third, finishing 9.4s adrift of Kato, with Estre still on his tail.

Caretti had demoted Leung for fifth on lap eight, with Maretti following him through two laps later.

Gabriel Doyle-Parfait was running just outside the top 10 when a spin dropped him to 22nd place, then a pit stop left him two laps down at the finish.

Pacome Weisenburger, who was fastest in practice, managed to climb up to 11th after a disappointing qualifying session had left him 16th on the grid.

Race results (15 laps)
Pos Driver Time
1 Yani Stevenheydens 21m49.391s
2 Taito Kato +1.087s
3 Jules Caranta +10.481s
4 Dylan Estre +11.147s
5 Rayan Caretti +16.416s
6 Leonardo Megna +19.345s
7 Jason Leung +22.546s
8 Karel Schulz +23.205s
9 Jules Roussel +24.592s
10 Chester Kieffer +25.000s
11 Pacome Weisenburger +28.570s
12 Alex O’Grady +30.716s
13 Romeo Leurs +42.724s
14 Louis Schlesser +43.300s
15 Augustin Bernier +44.178s
16 Enzo Caldaras +47.039s
17 Edouard Borgna +47.436s
18 Arjun Chheda +49.256s
19 Mathilda Paatz +50.249s
20 Paul Roques +56.501s
21 Montego Maassen +58.853s
22 Tom Le Brech +1m15.072s
Ret Gabriel Doyle-Parfait
Ret Arthur Dorison
Ret Frank Porte Ruiz
Fastest lap: Stevenheydens, 1m25.929s