Home Formula 4Euro 4 Ugochukwu passes Sztuka on last lap to win inaugural Euro 4 race

Ugochukwu passes Sztuka on last lap to win inaugural Euro 4 race

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu won the first ever Euro 4 race at Mugello after a race-long chase of US Racing’s Kacper Sztuka.

In qualifying for race one at Mugello it had been Sztuka and team-mate Akshay Bohra who had set the pace, with Prema quintet Ugochukwu, James Wharton, Arvid Lindblad, Tuukka Taponen and Niko Lacorte filling the next places on the grid.

Ugochukwu immediately passed Bohra off the line and Lindblad passed Wharton, although he got back ahead before the end of lap one.

Sztuka meanwhile built a gap of 1.2 seconds, and set a new fastest lap in each of the first four laps. However his lead only grew to 1.3s in that time, with the order behind going unchanged.

Lindblad passed Wharton again on lap five, and had almost 1.7s to make up on Bohra in third. He was shown the black-and-white flag for his dramatic side-by-side move on Wharton, but that did not deter him and he set the fastest lap as he set sight on the podium.

Ugochukwu also improved his pace and by lap eight had got Sztuka’s lead down to less than a second. It was 0.684s the next lap, 0.43s the lap after that and through the second half of the race there was then a proper victory fight.

The first attempt at passing Sztuka came on lap 12 of 18, with Ugochukwu choosing the outside line through the first proper corner. Sztuka resisted him and the gap between them fluctuated between 0.25s and 0.35s as Ugochukwu continued to attack.

On lap 14 he made a late-braking move but could not out-accelerate Sztuka out of the corner, and double-waved yellow flags at turn 13 due to Van Amersfoort Racing’s Frederik Lund crashing out there prevented any attempted overtakes at that corner for several laps.

Sztuka had to really get defensive on lap 16, which Ugochukwu started 0.184s behind, and it worked. On the next lap Ugochukwu then carried too much speed into turn four, making it look like he was lunging, but his next attempt at passing Sztuka actually came on the last lap at the same corner.

He took the outside line, which became the inside for turn five, and the lead was his. Through the rest of the lap he pulled away to win by 0.889s.

Lindblad had a few lock-ups once he caught up to Bohra, making his first serious attempt at passing on lap 13. Four laps later it looked like his chance had finally come, but Bohra used up all the road and Lindblad briefly went off. It kept Bohra ahead, but also meant he was shown the black-and-white flag, and he held off Lindblad to the finish.

Wharton fell into the clutches of Lacorte and lost fifth to him on the last lap.

There was little overtaking behind, with US Racing’s Zachary David taking seventh from Prema’s Rashid Al Dhaheri on lap 10, than Taponen and VAR’s Brando Badoer later also passing him. Al Dhaheri and Jack Beeton got 10s penalties post-race, handing Raphael Narac 10th place.

The only other drama was US’s Ruiqi Liu stopping on track on lap four, then later making it to the pits to retire.

Race result (18 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 33m27.573s
2 Kacper Sztuka US Racing +0.889s
3 Akshay Bohra US Racing +3.576s
4 Arvid Lindblad Prema +3.862s
5 Niko Lacorte Prema +8.195s
6 James Wharton Prema +10.975s
7 Zachary David US Racing +11.907s
8 Tuukka Taponen Prema +12.157s
9 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +13.066s
10 Raphael Narac R-ace GP +18.024s
11 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +18.396s
12 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing +21.947s
13 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing +24.281s
14 Rashid Al Dhaheri Prema +27.531s
15 Griffin Peebles BVM Racing +34.696s
16 Matteo Quintarelli R-ace GP +40.289s
17 Pablo Sarrazin Van Amersfoort Racing +40.392s
18 Jack Beeton Van Amersfoort Racing +41.526s
19 Aurelia Nobels Prema +41.626s
20 Davide Larini AKM Motorsport +43.565s
21 Ismail Akhmed Van Amersfoort Racing +49.055s
22 Diego de la Torre AKM Motorsport +52.317s
23 Tina Hausmann AKM Motorsport +56.643s
24 Frederik Lund Van Amersfoort Racing +6 laps
Ret Alfio Spina BVM Racing
Ret Ruiqi Liu US Racing
Fastest lap: Lindblad, 1m50.176s