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Taponen soaks up Lindblad pressure for first Italian F4 win

by Peter Allen

Photo: ACI Sport

Tuukka Taponen resisted sustained pressure from Prema team-mate Arvid Lindblad to clinch his first Italian Formula 4 win in race one at Misano.

Ferrari junior Taponen scored just four points in a complicated series debut at Imola last month, but held onto pole position at the start of the race and ended the first lap almost one second clear as Lindblad defended from James Wharton. Behind, Ugo Ugochukwu got the jump on Brando Badoer for fourth.

Lindblad closed back up before the safety car was required on lap three after a high-speed roll for Tina Hausmann following contact. Hausmann was able to walk away from the wreckage, which was quickly cleared in time for a restart on lap five.

The restart played out similarly to the first lap, with Taponen again given some brief breathing space as Lindblad went defensive on Wharton. Ugochukwu in turn took a look at Wharton, but found himself repassed around the outside of the final corner by Badoer, and then by Kacper Sztuka.

Lindblad again quickly closed back up on Taponen but could not find a way past, the Red Bull junior finishing 0.413 seconds adrift as he nonetheless strengthened his championship lead to 23 points.

Wharton dropped back in the final laps, almost into the clutches of Sztuka, who found a way by Badoer for fourth.

Rashid Al Dhaheri finished on the tail of Prema team-mate Ugochukwu at the rear of what was a seven-car train for most of the race.

Niko Lacorte was a lonely eighth, while Gianmarco Pradel won a late duel with Valentin Kluss for ninth.

Ivan Domingues fought back to 11th after losing his front wing in a first-lap skirmish that eliminated Zachary David.

Race result (19 laps)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Tuukka Taponen Prema 32m02.072s
2 Arvid Lindblad Prema +0.413s
3 James Wharton Prema +1.780s
4 Kacper Sztuka US Racing +2.308s
5 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +3.675s
6 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +3.725s
7 Rashid Al Dhaheri Prema +4.050s
8 Niko Lacorte Prema +9.256s
9 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing +17.511s
10 Valentin Kluss PHM Racing +17.762s
11 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +17.928s
12 Alfio Spina BVM Racing +18.859s
13 James Egozi PHM Racing +19.368s
14 Jack Beeton Van Amersfoort Racing +22.293s
15 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing +24.697s
16 Andrea Frassineti BVM Racing +26.794s
17 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport +26.894s
18 Davide Larini AKM Motorsport +27.221s
19 Viktoria Blokhina PHM Racing +28.466s
20 Manuel Quondamcarlo AS Motorport +30.763s
21 Ismail Akhmed Van Amersfoort Racing +32.851s
22 Matteo Quintarelli R-ace GP +33.596s
23 Ariel Elkin Jenzer Motorsport +35.874s
24 Guido Luchetti Airflow Racing +42.203s
25 Kim Hwarang Jenzer Motorsport +2 laps
26 Matheus Ferreira Van Amersfoort Racing +3 laps
27 Ruiqi Liu US Racing +5 laps
28 Aurelia Nobels Prema +5 laps
Ret Akshay Bohra US Racing
Ret Raphael Narac R-ace GP
Ret Frederik Lund AKM Motorsport
Ret Tina Hausmann AKM Motorsport
Ret Zachary David US Racing
Fastest lap: Sztuka, 1m35.281s

Championship standings
 Lindblad 79   2 Lacorte 56   3 Ugochukwu 48   4 Badoer 40   5 Spina 38   6 Sztuka 37   7 David 33   8 Taponen 29   9 Domingues 27   10 Wharton 25