Home Formula 4Euro 4 Sztuka wins chaotic opening Euro 4 race at Monza

Sztuka wins chaotic opening Euro 4 race at Monza

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

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)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Kacper Sztuka US Racing 32m58.076s
2 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +0.363s
3 Arvid Lindblad Prema +2.460s
4 James Wharton Prema +5.080s
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
15 Aurelia Nobels Prema +15.371s
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 Niko Lacorte Prema
Ret Rafael Modonese Van Amersfoort Racing
Ret Zachary David US Racing
Ret Tuukka Taponen Prema
Ret Ismail Akhmed Van Amersfoort Racing
Ret Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing
Fastest lap: Lindblad, 1m53.084s

Championship standings
1 Ugochukwu 86   2 Wharton 60   3 Sztuka 59   4 Lindblad 54   5 Bohra 51   6 Domingues 18   7 David 16   8 Lacorte 16   9 Al Dhaheri 14   10 Taponen 8