US Racing’s Kacper Sztuka led the way in Italian Formula 4 practice at Paul Ricard.
The F4 drivers were on track early on Friday morning, and it was a busy 40-minute session with 36 cars on track. Absent for most of the session was Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer.
He had a new team-mate in Pablo Sarrazin, who has already driven for VAR in the new Euro 4 series. Other additions to the grid include Griffin Peebles at Jenzer Motorsport, Singaporean shifter karter Kabir Anurag, who is debuting with R-ace GP after doing six tests with them, and Gabriel Holguin at Maffi Racing. Holguin has previously been entered into a F4 series in the USA.
R-ace’s Raphael Narac was the early pacesetter in FP1 with a 2m08.167s, but did not stay on top for long as laptimes improved. US Racing’s Akhay Bohra set a 2m07.801s, then team-mate Zachary David bettered that by 0.022 seconds before Prema’s James Wharton knocked 0.636s off the benchmark pace.
David responded by going 0.093s faster than him, but then Wharton went fastest by 0.683s with the first sub-2m07s lap.
US’s Kacper Sztuka reduced Wharton’s advantage to 0.387s, then knocked him off top spot by 0.057s. A third successive improvement, in the 2m05s, put him 0.433s clear while Prema duo Arvid Lindblad and Niko Lacorte, as well as David, got into the 2m06s.
Following that, most drivers were pit-bound to change tyres before their second runs. There were fewer improvements once everyone returned to track, although Wharton got within 0.088s of Sztuka and Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu went third fastest at the very end. In total 13 drivers lapped sub-2m07s.
Bohra was first to the top in FP2 in the afternoon, setting a 2m08.510s. After almost eight minutes he was toppled, with AKM Motorsport’s Frederik Lund lapping in 2m07.922s.
Gianmarco Pradel (US) and Tina Hausmann (AKM) also beat Bohra, and a minute later he was eighth as Lacorte lowered the pace to 2m07.613s to lead AKM’s Enzo Deligny.
Prema’s Rashid Al Dhaheri set a 2m07.587s soon after, and PHM Racing’s James Egozi went third fastest.
Bohra reclaimed first with a 2m07.460s, and Wharton was 0.035s slower to slot into second. But 40s later they were fifth and sixth, as Badoer became first in the session to lap in the 2m06s. Prema’s Tuukka Taponen went second fastest, and Pradel and Egozi were the only others within half a second of Badoer’s pace.
But even Badoer could not stay ahead for long, as half a minute later Sztuka – on his second flying lap – set a 2m07.837s to go fastest by 0.048s.
Badoer responded with a 2m06.435s, and Wharton also bettered Sztuka who was unable to improve on his next lap but returned to first place the lap after with a 2m06.179s. Badoer got within 0.121s of it, then Sztuka improved again before everyone headed to the pits to change tyres.
Sztuka set FP2’s first sub-2m06s lap with nine minutes remaining, and 90s later Wharton set a 2m05.363s. Badoer got within 0.022s of it, and Sztuka within 0.029s during a flurry of continual improvements in the top 12, but Wharton’s lap appeared unbeatable until Sztuka set a 2m05.251s with half a minute to go.
Taponen was fourth fastest, 0.285s behind and 0.002s ahead of Ugochukwu.
Free practice results
|1||Kacper Sztuka||US Racing||2m05.251s||28|
|3||Brando Badoer||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m05.385s||+0.134s||25|
|6||Rashid Al Dhaheri||Prema||2m05.755s||+0.504s||30|
|7||Zachary David||US Racing||2m05.818s||+0.567s||28|
|8||Akshay Bohra||US Racing||2m05.928s||+0.677s||31|
|9||James Egozi||PHM Racing||2m05.931s||+0.680s||29|
|10||Ivan Domingues||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m06.080s||+0.829s||31|
|11||Pablo Sarrazin||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m06.082s||+0.831s||28|
|13||Gianmarco Pradel||US Racing||2m06.202s||+0.951s||31|
|14||Alfio Spina||BVM Racing||2m06.232s||+0.981s||31|
|16||Valentin Kluss||PHM Racing||2m06.256s||+1.005s||31|
|17||Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi||PHM Racing||2m06.285s||+1.034s||29|
|18||Jack Beeton||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m06.310s||+1.059s||31|
|19||Tina Hausmann||AKM Motorsport||2m06.360s||+1.109s||35|
|20||Ruiqi Liu||US Racing||2m06.433s||+1.182s||33|
|21||Raphael Narac||R-ace GP||2m06.454s||+1.203s||27|
|22||Ariel Elkin||Jenzer Motorsport||2m06.473s||+1.222s||29|
|23||Enzo Deligny||AKM Motorsport||2m06.543s||+1.292s||31|
|24||Ethan Ischer||Jenzer Motorsport||2m06.601s||+1.350s||29|
|25||Griffin Peebles||Jenzer Motorsport||2m06.614s||+1.363s||30|
|27||Frederik Lund||AKM Motorsport||2m06.724s||+1.473s||31|
|28||Alvise Rodella||BVM Racing||2m06.774s||+1.523s||30|
|29||Matheus Ferreira||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m06.842s||+1.591s||34|
|30||Viktoria Blokhina||PHM Racing||2m06.931s||+1.680s||29|
|31||Matteo Quintarelli||R-ace GP||2m07.009s||+1.758s||24|
|32||Kabir Anurag||R-ace GP||2m07.033s||+1.782s||28|
|33||Kim Hwarang||Jenzer Motorsport||2m07.141s||+1.890s||30|
|34||Diego de la Torre||AKM Motorsport||2m07.807s||+2.556s||30|
|35||Ismail Akhmed||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m07.947s||+2.696s||31|
|36||Guido Luchetti||Airflow Racing||2m08.880s||+3.629s||32|
|37||Gabriel Holguin||Maffi Racing||2m11.162s||+5.911s||28|