Home News US F4 starts new era with Gen2 cars as its old machinery puts on a show

US F4 starts new era with Gen2 cars as its old machinery puts on a show

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

United States Formula 4’s switch to second-generation chassis began at Road America last weekend, but the old cars remained in action in the sister Ligier JS F4 Series.

Delays in car deliveries meant US F4 cancelled its planned season opener at NOLA Motorsports Park, and when action finally got underway with the new Ligier design there were only seven on track.

Nicolas Stati led practice and the red-flagged qualifying, a 2m13.488s earning him pole by 0.226 seconds over Daniel Quimby. Alex Crosbie was a further 0.004s behind.

Race control opted for rolling starts (while LJSF4S used standing starts), and in race one Stati immediately streaked away. Crosbie spun, and Quimby had no answer to Stati’s pace so finished 10.806s behind in second. He was 4.178s ahead of third-placed Connor Roberts, who resisted eight laps of intense pressure from Pablo Benites Jr.

The fastest laps set race two’s grid, putting Stati on pole ahead of Crosbie and Quimby. On lap one Quimby took the lead, then handled Stati’s turn one attacks multiple times before suddenly pulling away on lap eight of 14 and winning by 7.931s with fastest lap. Roberts hunted down Stati and passed him late on.

Quimby, Roberts, Crosbie and Stati were the top four starters for the overtake-filled race three. Roberts and Benites traded the lead before Stati moved in front on lap seven, then he traded it with Benites for several laps. A last-lap pass earned Benites victory by 0.205s over Roberts, with Stati third.

LJSF4S had 12 entrants. Tuddy Musella, the star at NOLA, set a 2m19.173s in qualifying to take pole by 0.25s over Brad Majman. Bacon Zelenka was third, and won race one.

Zelenka went straight into second at the start, but Majman reclaimed the place after some lap one side-by-side action. There was later a caution period due to a collision, and after the restart Majman took the lead in in a three-wide move. Musella dropped to fourth then reclaimed third as the top two pulled away.

On lap six Zelenka comandeered the lead, but Musella then snatched it exiting turn one next time by. A diving move later in the lap put Zelenka back ahead, then Majman repeated Musella’s move on lap eight. Zelenka overtook him at turn five, as it became a six-car fight.

Majman did the turn one move again on lap 10, and on the last lap Zelenka came out of his slipstream as late as possible to steal victory by 0.018s. Musella was 0.884s behind and claimed race two pole, and Kekai Hauanio was fourth. He then won race two from last on the grid.

Musella had a big lead and Hauanio was fifth at the end of race two’s opening lap. Two laps later Hauanio and Zelenka were second and third, but trailing by five seconds.

That gap suddenly decreased on lap 10, and Hauanio passed Musella on the penultimate lap. Zelenka’s turn one attempt next time by put Musella out and copped him a 30s penalty, demoting him to eighth as the race ended under yellow flag conditions. Setting the fastest lap put Drew Scuch on race three pole, with Musella last after getting a 10-place penalty.

Zelenka took the lead into turn five but lost it later in lap one to Hauanio. After a brief caution period, the pair fought again as Musella got into third before going off. Maite Caceres and Majman passed Zelenka on lap six, then a five-car lead group formed. Majman briefly led, and in a three-wide photo finish Zelenka won by 0.15s as he was spun off. Majman finished second and Hauanio pipped Caceres to third by 0.018s.

US F4 results round-up
Race 1 (14 laps)
1 Nicolas Stati Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport
2 Daniel Quimby Atlantic Racing Team +10.806s
3 Connor Roberts Team Roberts Racing +14.984s
4 Pablo Benites Jr Scuderia Buell +15.221s
5 Lincoln Day MLT Motorsports +54.772s
6 Alex Crosbie Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +56.162s
7 Barrett Wolfe Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +2m11.560s
Pole: Stati, 2m13.488s
Fastest lap: Stati, 2m14.295s

Race 2 (14 laps)
1 Quimby 31m24.066s
2 Roberts +7.931s
3 Stati +8.917s
4 Crosbie +9.322s
5 Benites +23.081s
6 Day +25.970s
7 Wolfe +1m57.797s
FL: Quimby, 2m13.190s

Rac 3 (12 laps)
1 Benites 27m07.663s
2 Roberts +0.205s
3 Stati +1.571s
4 Crosbie +1.779s
5 Day +19.770s
6 Wolfe +19.889s
7 Quimby +52.166s
FL: Crosbie, 2m13.601s

Championship standings
1 Stati 55   2 Roberts 51   3 Quimby 49   4 Benites 47   5 Crosbie 32   6 Day 28   7 Wolfe 20