Home Formula 4Euro 4 Sztuka and sensational Slater take Euro 4 poles at Monza

Sztuka and sensational Slater take Euro 4 poles at Monza

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: ACI Sport

Prema’s Freddie Slater took pole for his Euro 4 debut in the first qualifying session at Monza, while US Racing’s Kacper Sztuka picked up pole for races two and three.

As times dropped in the opening session, it was Prema’s Tuukka Taponen who set the early pace, a time of 1m53.222s on his third lap putting him top of the timesheet before he improved again on each of his next three laps.

Slater was immediately on his heels, going into second place before being pushed down by Prema team-mate and Red Bull junior Arvid Lindblad.

In the closing seconds, Sztuka posted a 1m52.344s on his penultimate lap before Slater crossed the line in 1m52.227s.

With Sztuka, Taponen and Lindblad unable to improve on their final laps, Slater took a incredible first ever pole in just his second weekend of single-seater racing.

Championship leader Ugo Ugochukwu could only go sixth fastest, with his nearest title rivals James Wharton and Akshay Bohra qualifying ninth and 10th.

Lindblad was into the 1m52s on only his second lap in Q2, but was almost instantly demoted to fourth by Slater, Sztuka and Bohra.

With just under four minutes remaining, Sztuka became the first driver to lap sub-1m52s, putting in a 1m51.824s to go to the top. The Pole was flying, improving to 1m51.715s next time around, 0.356 seconds ahead of Lindblad who had moved up to second ahead of Slater.

With no later improvements, Sztuka secured pole position for race two and, courtesy of his second-fastest lap, for race three.

US Racing’s Bohra and Zachary David were fourth and fifth in the session, with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer leaping ahead of the fourth US Racing entry of Ruiqi Liu with a last-lap improvement to qualify sixth for race two.

Ugochukwu headed a Prema train followed by Wharton, Taponen, Rashid Al Dhaheri and Niko Lacorte in eighth to 12th place.

Slater’s second-best laptime in Q2 put him second on the race three grid ahead of Bohra and Lindblad.

Qualifying round-up
Race 1 grid
1 Freddie Slater Prema 1m52.227s
2 Kacper Sztuka US Racing +0.117s
3 Tuukka Taponen Prema +0.197s
4 Arvid Lindblad Prema +0.233s
5 Zachary David US Racing +0.275s
6 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +0.371s
7 Niko Lacorte Prema +0.546s
8 Rashid Al Dhaheri Prema +0.689s
9 James Wharton Prema +0.734s
10 Akshay Bohra US Racing +0.825s

Race 2 grid
1 Sztuka 1m51.715s
2 Lindblad +0.356s
3 Slater +0.504s
4 Bohra +0.578s
5 David +0.592s
6 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +0.607s
7 Ruiqi Liu US Racing +0.647s
8 Ugochukwu +0.667s
9 Wharton +0.692s
10 Taponen +0.697s

Race 3 grid
1 Sztuka 1m51.824s
2 Slater +0.427s
3 Bohra +0.577s
4 Lindblad +0.577s
5 Wharton +0.639s
6 Ugochukwu +0.755s
7 Badoer +0.760s
8 Taponen +0.776s
9 Lacorte +0.786s
10 Al Dhaheri +0.834s