Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Taponen tops the times in FREC test at Paul Ricard

Taponen tops the times in FREC test at Paul Ricard

by Ida Wood

Photo: FRECA

R-ace GP’s Tuukka Taponen set the pace at Paul Ricard in the second pre-season Formula Regional European Championship test.

The two-day test was split into a morning and afternoon session on each day, and Prema’s Rafael Camara was the driver to beat on Tuesday morning. He set a 1m57.321s to lead team-mate James Wharton by 0.057 seconds, with ART Grand Prix’s Evan Giltaire 0.21s behind in third.

Race Performance Motorsport’s Noah Stromsted was also within half a second of the pace, with the top 15 covered by a second. Towards the very bottom of the timesheet was Isaac Barashi, who was driving MP Motorsport’s #11 car. The team has signed Nikita Bedrin for the season, but he is also racing in FIA Formula 3 this year which means he will miss some races and also led to him being absent from Paul Ricard since an F3 test was taking place at Barcelona.

Eight of the 32 drivers failed to improve their pace in the afternoon, and while Taponen was the quickest of those who did a new personal best he came 0.171s short of matching Camara’s morning benchmark.

This time the top three were covered by 0.088s, with Sainteloc Racing’s Theophile Nael and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer the closest to Taponen. There was a pace spread of 0.853s in the top 19.

KIC Motorsport’s Alex Sawer missed Wednesday’s action, and Barashi did not head out in the afternoon. Every single driver on track improved their pace in the morning session, with Taponen lowering the pace to 1m56.669s.

Badoer was the only other driver to lap sub-1m57s, and was 0.141s behind, with R-ace’s Zachary David third fastest and 0.38s slower than Taponen. Camara, Giltaire and R-ace’s Enzo Deligny were also within half a second of the pace.

Down in 16th place was G4 Racing’s Kanato Le, who surprised in the afternoon by topping the times. He was the only driver to improve their pace (and therefore to have got faster with each session), and his 1m57.658s effort brought him up to 14th overall.

Nael was 0.069s behind in the session, with Badoer 0.194s back. Just 0.011s split Wharton and Giltaire in fourth and fifth. Taponen was only 11th fastest, and the top 17 were covered by 0.931s. In the combined timesheet, Le was the last driver within a second of Taponen’s pace.

Test results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 1m56.669s 86
2 Brando Badoer VAR 1m56.810s +0.141s 108
3 Zachary David R-ace GP 1m57.049s +0.380s 89
4 Rafael Camara Prema 1m57.103s +0.434s 98
5 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix 1m57.132s +0.463s 105
6 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP 1m57.145s +0.476s 87
7 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 1m57.259s +0.590s 90
8 James Wharton Prema 1m57.271s +0.602s 104
9 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix 1m57.365s +0.696s 99
10 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 1m57.416s +0.747s 98
11 Noah Stromsted R-P-M 1m57.480s +0.811s 97
12 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 1m57.573s +0.904s 72
13 Costa Toparis KIC Motorsport 1m57.613s +0.944s 90
14 Kanato Le G4 Racing 1m57.658s +0.989s 98
15 Pedro Clerot VAR 1m57.692s +1.023s 108
16 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr G4 Racing 1m57.817s +1.148s 89
17 Ivan Domingues VAR 1m57.861s +1.192s 101
18 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport 1m57.940s +1.271s 68
19 Matteo de Palo Sainteloc Racing 1m57.944s +1.275s 92
20 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M 1m57.945s +1.276s 121
21 Roman Bilinski Trident 1m57.996s +1.327s 93
22 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing 1m58.021s +1.352s 92
23 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport 1m58.045s +1.376s 101
24 Niko Lacorte Trident 1m58.100s +1.431s 95
25 Edgar Pierre R-P-M 1m58.235s +1.566s 106
26 Marta Garcia Prema 1m58.308s +1.639s 101
27 Ruiqi Liu Trident 1m58.355s +1.686s 106
28 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing 1m58.480s +1.811s 93
29 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix 1m58.516s +1.847s 79
30 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix 1m58.912s +2.243s 100
31 Isaac Barashi MP Motorport 1m59.143s +2.474s 80
32 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport 1m59.209s +2.540s 58