US Racing’s Kacper Sztuka emerged as the victor of an utterly chaotic opening Euro 4 race at Monza.
Prema’s debuting Freddie Slater started on pole ahead of team-mate Tuukka Taponen and US duo Zachary David and Sztuka, with another four Prema drivers filling the grid spots behind them.
After some wheel-to-wheel action down to turn one, David and Sztuka got ahead. Slater tried to regain second at Curva Grande, then got the move done on David at the della Roggia chicane and was followed through by Taponen.
The lap finished with a huge crash for Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi at Parabolica, and the safety car then came out following further chaos. Sztuka led the way, over Taponen, Slater, points leader Ugo Ugochukwu (from eighth on the grid) and David.
The restart took place on lap five and one of the Prema drivers cut the first chicane while Ismail Akhmed retired there with no front wing and a broken front-left wheel. Niko Lacorte got himself from sixth into fourth before the safety car appeared again.
Racing resumed on lap seven and Taponen tried passing Sztuka around the outside of turn one while two of his team-mates cut the corner an moved ahead of both. They slowed at Curva Grande to relinquish their advantage, but in doing so Sztuka actually lost ground and he then had contact with Slater going into the chicane as they disputed the lead.
Slater finished the lap ahead, while Taponen dropped down the order and into retirement with damage. Lacorte did the same a lap later, and now Ugochukwu and James Wharton were fighting the top two.
Sztuka took the lead from Slater at turn one on lap 10, and Slater went off when trying to reclaim the position. He then defended aggressively from Ugochukwu to try to hold on to second, twice almost making contact while behind them Arvid Lindblad passed Wharton for fourth.
That became third as Slater became the latest Prema driver to retire with damage, but Wharton got back ahead of Lindblad. They swapped places again exiting turn two on lap 13, then Wharton passed at the chicane but cut it. Lindblad soon moved back ahead, and Akshay Bohra passed Wharton too. At Parabolica, Brando Badoer made a great move to pass both in one move.
Wharton tried to the double in return when they got to turn one but cut the chicane and it led to Badoer losing ground too. Bohra was frustrated to find Wharton would not return the place, and he ended the race defending fifth from Ivan Domginues and Rashid Al Dhaheri.
Ugochukwu pressured Sztuka for the win, and Lindblad finished third but along with Al Dhaheri is under investigation for passing under yellow flags.
Race result (15 laps)
|1||Kacper Sztuka||US Racing||32m58.076s|
|5||Akshay Bohra||US Racing||+5.983s|
|6||Ivan Domingues||Van Amersfoort Racing||+6.581s|
|7||Rashid Al Dhaheri||Prema||+6.792s|
|8||Brando Badoer||Van Amersfoort Racing||+8.692s|
|9||Gianmarco Pradel||US Racing||+8.728s|
|10||Alfio Spina||BVM Racing||+9.830s|
|11||Enzo Deligny||AKM Motorsport||+10.321s|
|12||Tina Hausmann||AKM Motorsport||+11.536s|
|13||Griffin Peebles||BVM Racing||+13.019s|
|14||Frederik Lund||Van Amersfoort Racing||+14.715s|
|16||Diego de la Torre||AKM Motorsport||+18.906s|
|17||Davide Larini||AKM Motorsport||+20.134s|
|18||Giacomo Pedrini||PHM Racing||+26.028s|
|19||Kamal Mrad||AKM Motorsport||+26.511s|
|20||Kai Daryanani||Cram Motorsport||+1 lap|
|21||Ruiqi Liu||US Racing||+2 laps|
|22||Pablo Sarrazin||Van Amersfoort Racing||+3 laps|
|23||Flavio Olivieri||Cram Motorsport||+3 laps|
|24||Freddie Slater||Prema||+4 laps|
|Ret||Rafael Modonese||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Ret||Zachary David||US Racing|
|Ret||Ismail Akhmed||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Ret||Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi||PHM Racing|
|Fastest lap: Lindblad, 1m53.084s