Home Formula 4Italian F4 Sztuka sails to triple Italian F4 pole in Mugello qualifying

Sztuka sails to triple Italian F4 pole in Mugello qualifying

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

US Racing’s Kacper Sztuka claimed pole for all three Italian Formula 4 races at Mugello by topping Saturday morning’s two qualifying sessions.

The first laptime of the day was set six minutes into Q1, which was 15 minutes long, and Prema’s debuting Alex Powell could technically say he was on provisional pole for half a minute.

His team-mate Niko Lacorte then brought the pace down into the 1m55s, before US Racing’s Ruiqi Liu set a 1m53.334s that stood as the benchmark laptime until Sztuka posted a 1m50.660s at the session’s halfway point.

Less than a minute-and-a-half later the pace had been lowered to 1m48.403s by PHM Racing’s James Egozi, and Sztuka was shuffled down to sixth. He responded with a 1m47.544s laptime with four-and-a-half minutes to go, with Prema trio Ugo Ugochukwu, Tuukka Taponen and Rashid Al Dhaheri also lapping sup-1m48s.

Sztuka was briefly usurped in surprise fashion by his team-mate Gianmarco Pradel, who set a 1m47.403s, but Sztuka reclaimed top spot with a 1m47.191s. That would end up being the session’s fastest lap, with Taponen getting within 0.006 seconds of Sztuka just 10 seconds later and then later Ugochukwu returning to third place with a lap 0.188s off the pole time.

Pradel qualified fourth, ahead of Prema’s Arvid Lindblad and Al Dhaheri. Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Powell qualified 12th for his car racing debut, 0.719s off pole, and the top 20 were covered by 0.992s.

Q2 was pretty similar, with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Freddie Slater initially setting the pace. Lacorte and then US Racing’s Zachary David spent time on top before the first truly representative laptime came in from Sztuka with just under seven minutes to go.

A 1m47.641s put him 0.257s ahead of Lindblad, with Lacorte the only other driver within a second of the pace at that point. David reduced Sztuka’s advantage to 0.209s, but Sztuka then improved to 1m47.224s to sit 0.214s ahead of VAR’s Brando Badoer.

Taponen got within 0.143s of Sztuka with three minutes still to go, then Ugochukwu put himself on the front row by lapping jut 0.038s slower than Sztuka. Lindblad was 0.091s off the pace in third, and this time Powell was 17th fastest.

Sztuka made it three poles out of three as the second-best laptimes of each driver from the two sessions was taken to determine the third race’s grid.

This time Ugochukwu was just 0.023s short of denying Sztuka, and points leader Lindblad was 0.256s back in third.

Qualifying round-up
Race 1 grid
1 Kacper Sztuka US Racing 1m47.191s
2 Tuukka Taponen Prema +0.006s
3 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +0.188s
4 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing +0.212s
5 Arvid Lindblad Prema +0.295s
6 Rashid Al Dhaheri Prema +0.404s
7 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +0.465s
8 James Wharton Prema +0.509s
9 Akshay Bohra US Racing +0.638s
10 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +0.689s

Race 2 grid
1 Sztuka 1m47.224s
2 Ugochukwu +0.038s
3 Lindblad +0.091s
4 Taponen +0.143s
5 Badoer +0.214s
6 Bohra +0.298s
7 Al Dhahei +0.301s
8 Wharton +0.380s
9 Zachary David US Racing +0.511s
10 Domingues +0.587s

Race 3 grid
1 Sztuka 1m47.239s
2 Ugochukwu +0.023s
3 Lindblad +0.256s
4 Wharton +0.406s
5 Badoer +0.457s
6 Taponen +0.466s
7 Bohra +0.576s
8 David +0.611s
9 Al Dhaheri +0.677s
10 Matheus Ferreira Van Amersfoort Racing +0.692s