Kacper Sztuka has won the Italian Formula 4 championship with victory in the penultimate race of the year at Vallelunga.
The win for the US Racing driver, combined with fourth place for Ugo Ugochukwu and 11th for Arvid Lindblad, gives him a 28-point lead over the former on dropped scores, with only their 16 best scores across the season counting.
The race was red-flagged on lap one following chaos in the middle of the pack at Cimini in which Lindblad and his Prema team-mate James Wharton were caught up.
Akshay Bohra was one of eight drivers who could not continue and make the restart, and it took over half an hour for the track to be cleared and the race to get back underway.
As in race one, Ugochukwu got a great launch at the initial start but Sztuka could keep hold of the lead this time. Positions were returned to original grid order anyway for the restart, which began with two laps behind the safety car.
After the field was eventually released, Sztuka retained the lead but got tapped from behind by Tuukka Taponen in the Tornantino hairpin on the second lap of racing, and fortunately managed to avoid being spun around.
Just behind, Brando Badoer overtook Ugochukwu for third. The two McLaren-contracted drivers would keep trading places over the following laps before Badoer sealed the place.
With Taponen unable to break free of that battle, Sztuka could build a gap out front and took victory by over five seconds in the end – his seventh win in the space of eight races.
Taponen held off Badoer and Ugochukwu to finish second, with Freddie Slater beating Alex Powell to finish fifth.
Lindblad took the restart in 11th and finished in the same position. The Red Bull junior led the championship prior to Sztuka’s late surge of success, but has not finished on the podium since his hat-trick at round four at Monza.
Race result (15 laps)
|1||Kacper Sztuka||US Racing||26m51.198s|
|2||Tuukka Taponen||Prema Racing||+5.317s|
|3||Brando Badoer||Van Amersfoort Racing||+5.711s|
|4||Ugo Ugochukwu||Prema Racing||+6.081s|
|5||Freddie Slater||Van Amersfoort Racing||+6.511s|
|6||Alex Powell||Prema Racing||+7.173s|
|7||Zachary David||US Racing||+7.752s|
|8||James Wharton||Prema Racing||+9.166s|
|9||James Egozi||PHM Racing||+10.146s|
|10||Ariel Elkin||Jenzer Motorsport||+10.368s|
|11||Arvid Lindblad||Prema Racing||+11.415s|
|12||Nicola Lacorte||Prema Racing||+15.870s|
|13||Rashid Al Dhaheri||Prema Racing||+16.334s|
|14||Raphael Narac||R-ace GP||+16.991s|
|15||Matheus Ferreira||Van Amersfoort Racing||+17.726s|
|16||Alfio Spina||BVM Racing||+18.826s|
|17||Ruiqi Liu||US Racing||+19.170s|
|18||Davide Larini||PHM Racing||+20.018s|
|19||Gianmarco Pradel||US Racing||+20.535s|
|20||Aurelia Nobels||Prema Racing||+21.549s|
|21||Giacomo Pedrini||PHM Racing||+22.628s|
|22||Ethan Ischer||Jenzer Motorsport||+23.601s|
|23||Viktoria Blokhina||PHM Racing||+24.195s|
|24||Kamal Mrad||AKM Motorsport||+27.530s|
|Ret||Matteo Quintarelli||R-ace GP|
|Ret||Jack Beeton||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Ret||Kabir Anurag||US Racing|
|Ret||Akshay Bohra||US Racing|
|Ret||Finn Wiebelhaus||Jenzer Motorsport|
|Ret||Tina Hausmann||AKM Motorsport|
|Ret||Shimo Zhang||Jenzer Motorsport|
|Ret||Tom Kalender||PHM Racing|
|Ret||Guido Luchetti||Airflow Racing|
|Ret||Diego De La Torre||AKM Motorsport|
|Fastest lap: Sztuka, 1m34.188s
Championship standings (best 16 scores)