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Tsolov keeps on winning and safety cars keep on coming in Spanish F4

by Ida Wood

Photo: A14 Management

Campos Racing’s Nikola Tsolov has now gone two full Spanish Formula 4 rounds unbeaten after winning the third race at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Fernando Alonso protege’s eighth consecutive win came from pole position, in a race where he was rarely challenged primarily because the safety car was out for most of the time. Its first summoning came on lap two, after a multi-car collision involving several MP Motorsport drivers at the first corner of lap one.

They were all able to cotninue, but on lap two a more terminal crash occurred behind the safety car as Cram Motorsport’s Ricardo Escotto slowed down from weaving on the pit straight and he was driven straight over the back of by Sainteloc Racing’s car racing debutant Theophile Nael.

Both walked away from the track, but it meant the safety car stayed out for several more laps. Once racing resumed there was another crash between MP drivers, which again just left them dropping down the order and not retiring, then on the second restart Miron Pingasov almost ended the team’s hopes of a good result as had an incident, damaging his front wing and dropping him from the top 10 to outside the top 20.

Suleiman Zanfari was in fifth before the race was brought to an early end by a red flag-causing head-on collision between two cars at the final corner, but he had actually dropped behind Global Racing Service’s Marcos Flack and MP team-mate Timoteusz Kucharczyk to seventh place before the red flags meant the results were put back a lap.

With each restart Tsolov held off his team-mate Hugh Barter, while Monlau Motorsport’s Robert de Haan made an early pass on Campos’s Georg Kelstrup to claim his maiden podium in third place.

In the corrected results Flack and Kucharzyck came sixth and eighth, with Drivex School’s Bruno del Pino between them. The small points haul for Kucharzyck means he has dropped behind Barter as Tsolov’s closest rival in the standings.

Race result (6 laps)
Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Nikola Tsolov Campos Racing 20m58.256s
2 Hugh Barter Campos Racing +0.561s
3 Robert de Haan Monlau Motorsport +1.085s
4 Georg Kelstrup Campos Racing +1.500s
5 Suleiman Zanfari MP Motorsport +1.979s
6 Marcos Flack GRS +2.153s
7 Bruno del Pino Drivex School +2.825s
8 Timoteusz Kucharzyck MP Motorsport +3.130s
9 Manuel Espirito Santo Campos Racing +3.457s
10 Gael Julien Drivex School +3.871s
11 Filip Jenic Campos Racing +4.283s
12 Vladislav Ryabov GRS +4.642s
13 Kirill Smal MP Motorsport +4.847s
14 Max Arkhangelskiy Drivex School +5.438s
15 Ricardo Gracia GRS +5.814s
16 Max Mayer Formula de Campeones +6.022s
17 Ethan Ischer Sainteloc Racing +6.325s
18 Christian Ho MP Motorsport +6.819s
19 Sebastian Gravlund MP Motorsport +7.150s
20 Lola Lovinfosse Teo Martin Motorsport +7.786s
21 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport +8.144s
22 Alvaro Garcia GRS +8.736s
23 Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak MP Motorsport +9.030s
24 Aurelia Nobels Formula de Campeones +9.457s
25 Miron Pingasov MP Motorsport +9.771s
26 Anshul Gandhi Cram Motorsport +14.698s
Ret Jef Machiels Monlau Motorsport
Ret Nelson Neto Cram Motorsport
Ret Ricardo Escotto Cram Motorsport
Ret Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing
Fastest lap: Tsolov, 2m25.895s

Championship standings
1 Tsolov 236   2 Barter 118   3 Kucharczyk 116   4 Kelstrup 85   5 Smal 71   6 Zanfari 62   7 Inthraphuvasak 56   8 Jenic 56   9 Rinicella 54   10 Espirito Santo 48