Home Formula 4Italian F4 VAR’s Badoer fastest in pre-event testing for Italian F4’s Imola opener

VAR’s Badoer fastest in pre-event testing for Italian F4’s Imola opener

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer topped the pre-event test day for Italian Formula 4’s Imola season opener.

The 38 drivers entered were split into three groups, with Prema and AKM Motorsport’s expansive fleets put into group one.

AKM’s trio of Griffin Peebles, Davide Larini and Enzo Deligny each spent time on top in session one before Prema’s James Wharton lapped sub-1m48s.

His team-mate Ugo Ugochukwu lowered the pace to 1m47.008s, which was the time to beat until 10 minutes later when Prema’s drivers all lapped in the 1m46s. Tuukka Taponen set a 1m46.351s which kept him on top for 15 minutes before the next flurry of improvements from Prema’s fleet.

Ugochukwu laid down the new benchmark, a 1m45.493s, with Taponen 0.094 seconds behind. Ugochukwu improved further to 1m45.419s before the finish, putting him 0.071s ahead of Taponen and 0.128s clear of Wharton in third. Prema locked out the top six, with Deligny 0.776s back in seventh.

US Racing’s Kacper Sztuka was the driver to beat in Group B, setting a 1m45.607s to top his group’s first session. Team-mates Zachary David and Akshay Bohra were 0.054s and 0.383s behind respectively, and Jenzer Motorsport’s Ethan Ischer was fourth.

R-ace GP’s Raphael Narac was fastest early in Group C’s first session, with VAR’s Ivan Domingues then taking over on top with a 1m46.190s.

He was eventually usurped by his team-mates, a 1m45.623s putting Matheus Ferreira ahead before Badoer went even faster with a 1m45.581s. Domingues was close but ended the session third, 0.077s slower than Badoer.

Wharton lowered the pace when Group A headed back out, beating the session one benchmark by 0.035s. Taponen was 0.056s slower in second place, while Ugochukwu was one of five who failed to improve their pace.

The track was wet for the next session, which Sztuka topped by 0.692s over Ischer, and it was drying during Group C’s second session which featured a lengthy red flag period caused by R-ace’s Kabir Anurag crashing at turn four. Badoer was fastest once the track dried, leading Domingues by 0.215s, but nobody set personal bests.

It was a fight between the Prema drivers again in Group A’s third session, and Taponen started on top. Wharton toppled him by breaking into the 1m45s, only for Taponen to respond with a 1m45.892s lap to reclaim first place.

Prema’s Arvid Lindblad then brought out red flags, and the order remained static for a while after the restart. But once Prema’s drivers were in competition the pace kept dropping, with Ugochukwu setting a 1m45.688s, then Wharton posting a 1m45.400s moments later.

Two laps later he set the test’s new fastest lap, a 1m45.270s. Taponen was 0.050s behind but cut the gap to 0.030s on his next lap. He found 0.006s more but remained in second, while Ugochukwu was 0.158s behind in third but still slower than his session one best.

Niko Lacorte (Prema) and Deligny improved in fourth and fifth, 0.413s and 0.522s behind Wharton respectively.

David was on top for two thirds of Group B’s final session, and the 1m45.645s he set in the first 20 minutes ended up being his fastest lap. Sztuka was the only driver to go faster, doing so three times and ending with a 0.281s advantage. His best effort, a 1m45.364s, provisionally him third on the test’s combined timesheet.

Bohra was the only driver not to set a personal best, while in the test’s last session everyone improved.

It began with Badoer and Domingues disputing top spot for 15 minutes, with the pace continually lowering until they were the fastest drivers of the day. After that there was little action until Badoer improved to 1m45.158s with just over 10 minutes remaining. It put him 0.076s ahead of Domingues and 0.112s up on Wharton’s benchmark.

Test results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 1m45.158s 52
2 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing 1m45.234s +0.076s 54
3 James Wharton Prema 1m45.270s +0.112s 55
4 Tuukka Taponen Prema 1m45.294s +0.136s 54
5 Matheus Ferreira Van Amersfoort Racing 1m45.294s +0.136s 53
6 Kacper Sztuka US Racing 1m45.364s +0.206s 45
7 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 1m45.419s +0.261s 51
8 Zachary David US Racing 1m45.645s +0.487s 47
9 Niko Lacorte Prema 1m45.683s +0.525s 55
10 Arvid Lindblad Prema 1m45.773s +0.615s 55
11 Enzo Deligny AKM Motorsport 1m45.792s +0.634s 56
12 Rashid Al Dhaheri Prema 1m45.793s +0.635s 55
13 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing 1m45.823s +0.665s 46
14 Alfio Spina BVM Racing 1m45.839s +0.681s 42
15 Jack Beeton Van Amersfoort Racing 1m45.869s +0.711s 52
16 Matteo De Palo R-ace GP 1m45.907s +0.749s 53
17 Nadhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing 1m45.924s +0.766s 50
18 Davide Larini AKM Motorsport 1m45.942s +0.784s 57
19 James Egozi PHM Racing 1m45.962s +0.804s 52
20 Akshay Bohra US Racing 1m45.990s +0.832s 50
21 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport 1m46.001s +0.843s 45
22 Ruiqi Liu US Racing 1m46.076s +0.918s 48
23 Valentin Kluss PHM Racing 1m46.155s +0.997s 61
24 Griffin Peebles AKM Motorsport 1m46.212s +1.054s 62
25 Tina Hausmann AKM Motorsport 1m46.238s +1.080s 58
26 Ariel Elkin Jenzer Motorsport 1m46.248s +1.090s 44
27 Kim Hwarang Jenzer Motorsport 1m46.394s +1.236s 39
28 Aurelia Nobels Prema 1m46.400s +1.242s 55
29 Raphael Narac R-ace GP 1m46.570s +1.412s 54
30 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr BVM Racing 1m46.588s +1.430s 34
31 Matteo Quintarelli R-ace GP 1m46.796s +1.638s 57
32 Andrea Frassineti BVM Racing 1m46.806s +1.648s 42
33 Ismail Akhmed Van Amersfoort Racing 1m47.393s +2.235s 41
34 Viktoria Blokhina PHM Racing 1m47.423s +2.265s 48
35 Kabir Anurag R-ace GP 1m47.593s +2.435s 25
36 Manuel Quondamcarlo AS Motorsport 1m48.327s +3.169s 43
37 Finn Wiebelhaus AS Motorsport 1m48.342s +3.184s 51
38 Guido Luchetti Airflow Racing 1m48.472s +3.314s 63