Home Featured Taponen takes first FREC win at wet Zandvoort after Wharton spin

Taponen takes first FREC win at wet Zandvoort after Wharton spin

by Peter Allen

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Tuukka Taponen took his first Formula Regional European Championship win in a wet first race at Zandvoort after James Wharton spun from the lead.

The start of the race was delayed by a stoppage in the preceding Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux race, and heavy rain fell as the FREC grid was forming, triggering a safety car start. More than 17 of the allotted 30 minutes had passed before the field was released from behind the safety car.

Wharton led from pole position and quickly built a gap over Taponen and Rafael Camara, but team-mate Ugo Ugochukwu hit trouble when he spun in Hugenholtz while battling Pedro Clerot for fifth.

Just one lap later, Wharton would spin in the same place, having already been two seconds clear of Taponen. He dropped down to 16th place, and could be investigated for crossing the path of Ivan Domingues as he tried to rejoin.

The safety car came back out soon afterwards so that the car of Valerio Rinicella could be retrieved from the gravel trap. Matteo de Palo, who had started one place behind Rinicella, also pitted to retire with front-right damage.

Just three minutes remained on the clock at the restart. Taponen got a good jump on his Ferrari Driver Academy colleague Camara initially, but a lap later they went side-by-side on the run to Tarzan. Taponen forced them both deep, potentially opening the door for Alessandro Giusti, but positions remained unchanged.

Camara dipped a wheel into the gravel later in the lap which helped Taponen hold on through the final tour as the FRegional Middle East champion clinched his first European win at this level for R-ace GP.

Enzo Deligny passed Pedro Clerot around the outside of Tarzan at the restart to take fourth, but got shuffled back behind Clerot, Evan Giltaire and Domingues at the end of that lap. He soon got back in front of Domingues to finish sixth.

Race result (13 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 31m59.692s
2 Rafael Camara Prema +0.285s
3 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix +1.610s
4 Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing +2.731s
5 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix +3.737s
6 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP +3.822s
7 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +4.489s
8 Zachary David R-ace GP +5.131s
9 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing +5.521s
10 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +5.902s
11 Nikita Bedrin MP Motorsport +7.142s
12 Kanato Le G4 Racing +7.419s
13 James Wharton Prema +7.970s
14 Noah Stromsted RPM +8.372s
15 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport +9.539s
16 John Bennett KIC Motorsport +9.965s
17 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing +10.177s
18 Nicola Lacorte Trident +11.182s
19 Giovanni Maschio RPM +11.699s
20 Jesse Carrasquedo G4 Racing +13.358s
21 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing +13.602s
22 Edgar Pierre RPM +14.483s
23 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport +15.361s
24 Marta Garcia Iron Dames +16.434s
25 Ruiqi Liu Trident +16.523s
26 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport +17.841s
27 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix +21.673s
28 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +22.262s
29 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix +31.492s
Ret Matteo De Palo Sainteloc Racing
Ret Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport
Fastest lap: Camara, 1m42.493s

Championship standings
Camara 111   2 Taponen 55   3 Giltaire 43   4 Giusti 37   5 Domingues 31   6 Stromsted 30   7 Wharton 30   8 Badoer 28   9 Deligny 27   10 Roman Bilinski 20