Home Formula 4Brazilian F4 Three different drivers win in Brazilian F4 season opener at Velo Citta

Three different drivers win in Brazilian F4 season opener at Velo Citta

by Luis Ferrari

Photo: Luca Bassani

Brazilian Formula 4 began its 2024 season at Autodromo Velo Citta this weekend with 11 cars and a mix of dry and wet conditions.

Three drivers from three different teams took the wins in the triple-header, making it the most competitive opening event in the series’ three-season history.

In his third year with TMG Racing, Alvaro Cho took both poles in Friday’s qualifying session with slick tyres. Cavaleiro Sports’ Lucca Zucchini, also in his third season, put himself on the front row for races one and three and 2023 championship runner-up Matheus Comparatto qualified third for Bassani Racing.

When lights went out for race one on Saturday morning, Cho was dominant. He led all 22 laps and set the fastest lap too on his way to the chequered flag. Zucchini was just under five seconds behind in second, and TMG’s Rafaela Ferreira finished third.

Comparatto did not get going when the lights went out at the start and had to climb back from last place. He finished fourth, one position ahead of rookie Ethan Nobels (the younger brother of Ferrari junior and F1 Academy driver Aurelia Nobels).

Rookies Ciro Sobral and Rogerio Grotta had a fierce battle for the lead during the first corners of the reversed-grid race two. But Nobels had the advantage, with a clever move on the outside line to claim the lead.

The safety car was later deployed, and Nobels kept his nerves and the lead on the restart, with Sobral and Cecilia Rabelo chasing. Cho, who started last, also was climbing up the field.

Nobels controlled the gap to Sobral in the remaining laps to win. Cho’s charge took him all the way up to third, ahead of Rabelo and Grotta.

Race three on Sunday morning race was held under heavy rain and the cars were sent to track equipped with wet tyres from Pirelli, since the series’ official supplier Hankook failed to provide anything other than slicks.

The race started under yellow flag conditions, and poleman Cho was called to the pits as his car’s rear rainlight was not working. Zucchini spun, and Comparatto inherited the lead with no passing required. He than kept the position until the end.

Argentinian-born rookie Gino Trappa and Ferreira fought for second over some laps when green flags were out, with Ferreira prevailing. Trappa then lost ground and came under attack from both Grotta and Nobels, who also overtook him.

In the final stage of the race, Grotta missed a turn and Trappa took back fourth place. Nobels than tried a move on Ferreira for second place, but the safety car was deployed once more. Trappa claimed the last podium spot, as Grotta and Sobral rounded up the top five.

Fve points split the top three after three races, with Cho leading on 40 and with Comparatto on 38 and Ferreira having scored 35. Nobels, Sobral and Zucchini are tied on 26 points. Round two takes place at Interlagos on April 19-21.

Results round-up
Race 1 (22 laps)
1 Alvaro Cho TMG Racing 32m23.640s
2 Lucca Zucchini Cavaleiro Sports +4.968s
3 Rafaela Ferreira TMG Racing +7.064s
4 Matheus Comparatto Bassani Racing +11.738s
5 Ethan Nobels Cavaleiro Sports +21.848s
6 Cecilia Rabelo Bassani Racing +22.571s
7 Rogerio Grotta Cavaleiro Sports +31.582s
8 Ciro Sobral TMG Racing +31.754s
9 Guilherme Favarete TMG Racing +34.570s
10 Joao Pedro Souza Cavaleiro Sports +36.100s
Pole: Cho, 1m26.670s
Fastest lap: Cho, 1m27.364s

Race 2 (14 laps)
1 Nobels 21m37.305s
2 Sobral +1.970s
3 Cho +6.404s
4 Rabelo +11.514s
5 Grotta +14.830s
6 Zucchini +15.335s
7 Ferreira +18.058s
8 Comparatto +19.185s
9 Genaro Trappa Bassani Racing +20.518s
10 Pedro Souza +28.696
FL: Nobels, 1m27.418s

Race 3 (15 laps)
1 Comparatto 31m34.507s
2 Ferreira +1.342s
3 Trappa +2.488s
4 Grotta +5.712s
5 Sobral +6.353s
6 Pedro Souza +7.331s
7 Favarete +8.363s
8 Zucchini +9.610s
9 Rabelo +1 lap
10 Cho +1 lap
P: Cho, 1m26.817s
FL: Cho, 1m40.107s

Championship standings
1 Cho 40   2 Comparatto 38   3 Ferreira 35   4 Nobels 26   5 Zucchini 26   6 Sobral 26   7 Grotta 24   8 Rabelo 18   9 Trapa 15   10 Pedro Souza 9