Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Taponen takes pole at Hungaroring in soaking wet FREC qualifying

Taponen takes pole at Hungaroring in soaking wet FREC qualifying

by Ida Wood

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

R-ace GP’s Tuukka Taponen claimed pole for the first Formula Regional European Championship race at the Hungaroring in a soaking wet qualifying.

The first group of drivers was on track for less than a minute-and-a-half before red flags waved due to torrential rain and near-zero visibility once spray was kicked up.

It took 25 minutes, during which time marshals worked to clear water off the track, before it became dry enough for race control to restart the 15-minute session.

Prema duo Rafael Camara and Ugo Ugochukwu were fastest when the first flying laps were completed, while ART Grand Prix’s Evan Giltaire left it far later to leave the pits and on a clearer track beat both of them as he broke the two-minute barrier.

Ugochukwu reclaimed top spot on his next lap, setting a 1m58.114s, then on the lap after Giltaire went fastest again by 0.099 seconds. Leaving it even later to post laptimes on a drying track was his team-mate Alessandro Giusti, who lowered the pace to 1m57.510s on his fourth lap.

Yellow flags appeared in the final three minutes as MP Motorsport’s Valerio Rinicella went off, but he was able to rejoin, and with 70s left on the clock R-ace’s Zachary David put himself on provisional pole with a 1m57.202s. Ugochukwu improved in third, and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Pedro Clerot rose to fifth place in the group ahead of points leader Camara.

Several drivers were denied the chance to set personal bests as MP’s debuting Isaac Barashi spun exiting the chicane and led to more yellow flags being waved, but the improving conditions still left room for some to post personal bests and after the chequered flag waved Camara went third fastest.

He was knocked back down to fourth by Giltaire getting within 0.294s of David’s benchmark in second place, then Giusti just missed out on top spot with his final lap as he came 0.029s short of David’s pace.

Although Group B started off with a drier track, there was still early drama as KIC Motorsport’s debutant Yujia Gao went off.

Prema’s James Wharton set a 1m59.726s to lead the way at first, with R-ace’s Enzo Deligny lowering the pace to 1m58.889s on the second flying laps. After the third laps, his team-mate Taponen was top by 0.488s with a 1m57.184s and with pole all but secured as he had beaten the Group A benchmark and rain was also returning.

VAR’s Brando Badoer and Trident’s Ruiqi Liu were second and third with five minutes to go, but a minute later Liu was in sixth behind Sainteloc Racing’s Enzo Peugeot, Deligny and Wharton.

Taponen spun before pitting, while everyone else (bar Wharton) took the chequered flah but could not improve as the track got wetter.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Group A Group B
1 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 1m57.184s
2 Zachary David R-ace GP 1m57.202s
3 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 1m57.470s
4 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix 1m57.231s
5 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing 1m57.819s
6 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix 1m57.496s
7 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP 1m58.000s
8 Rafael Camara Prema 1m57.755s
9 James Wharton Prema 1m58.092s
10 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 1m57.851s
11 Ruiqi Liu Trident 1m58.295s
12 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing 1m58.017s
13 Noah Stromsted R-P-M 1m58.360s
14 Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing 1m58.169s
15 Matteo de Palo Sainteloc Racing 1m58.449s
16 Niko Lacorte Trident 1m58.520s
17 Kanato Le G4 Racing 1m58.512s
18 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 1m58.763s
19 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport 1m58.619s
20 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport 1m58.849s
21 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing 1m58.638s
22 Edgar Pierre R-P-M 1m59.167s
23 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport 1m59.032s
24 Jesse Carrasquedo G4 Racing 1m59.229s
25 Michael Belov Trident 2m00.458s
26 Marta Garcia Iron Dames 1m59.661s
27 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix 2m00.905s
28 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 2m00.419s
29 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M 2m01.965s
30 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix 2m00.871s
31 Yujia Gao KIC Motorsport 2m02.886s
32 Isaac Barashi MP Motorsport 2m01.695s