Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Wharton pips Camara as Prema dominates FREC qualifying at Zandvoort

Wharton pips Camara as Prema dominates FREC qualifying at Zandvoort

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

A stunning lap from James Wharton denied runaway championship leader Rafael Camara pole for Formula Regional Europe race one at Zandvoort.

Allocated to the same qualifying group, the Prema team-mates traded best times with Wharton nabbing pole on his final lap.

R-ace GP’s Tuukka Taponen will line up alongside Wharton after topping a rain-affected Group B, with fellow Ferrari junior Camara starting on the second row alongside Williams junior Alessandro Giusti.

Camara and Wharton dominated Group A, with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Pedro Clerot almost 0.7 seconds behind in third.

Wharton had been the first to set a sub-1m30s lap with the fastest splits in each of the three sectors. His team-mate improved next time around but still lagged Wharton by 0.223s, despite going fastest in the final sector.

R-ace GP’s Enzo Deligny had moved up to third, 0.45s behind Camara, with Ivan Domingues taking fourth from team-mate Clerot. KIC Motorsport’s John Bennett was lapping impressively on his series debut, moving up to sixth.

Clerot and Deligny were trading third on each lap as the track got faster, with Clerot taking the position at the end by 0.027s.

Camara had moved to the front with just over a minute remaining, setting new sector one and three benchmarks to edge past Wharton by just 0.002s.

However, Wharton was not to be denied. Timing the start of his final flying lap perfectly he flew to a 1m29.856s after the chequered flag fell, while Camara did not improve.

Light rain affecting parts of the circuit prevented Group B from challenging Wharton’s pace, with most drivers recording their best times on their first run.

Taponen topped the group’s timesheet on his fifth lap, setting a 1m30.277s, then made sure of first place as he improved by 0.172s three laps later, one of the few drivers to find more pace in the final minutes.

ART Grand Prix’s Giusti had been just 0.007s shy of Taponen after their first runs, but was unable to match his imrovement and ended qualifying 0.179s behind.

Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu was unable to replicate his team-mates’ pace but moved up to third midway through Group B’s session. However, the McLaren junior lost the car on entry to turn 11 on his final lap, ending up in the gravel and bringing out yellow flegs which prevented others from improving. Behind him was ART GP’s Evan Giltaire, who had a 0.014s gap to R-ace’s Zachary David in fifth.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Group A Group B
1 James Wharton Prema 1m29.856s
2 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 1m30.105s
3 Rafael Camara Prema 1m29.923s
4 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix 1m30.284s
5 Pedro Clerot Van Amersfoort Racing 1m30.524s
6 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 1m30.475s
7 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP 1m30.551s
8 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix 1m30.502s
9 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing 1m30.643s
10 Zachary David R-ace GP 1m30.516s
11 John Bennett KIC Motorsport 1m30.756s
12 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing 1m30.686s
13 Nikita Bedrin MP Motorsport 1m30.770s
14 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 1m30.801s
15 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport 1m30.936s
16 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 1m30.974s
17 Noah Stromsted R-P-M 1m30.939s
18 Kanato Le G4 Racing 1m31.072s
19 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 1m30.997s
20 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport 1m31.250s
21 Matteo De Palo Sainteloc Racing 1m31.040s
22 Ruiqi Liu Trident 1m31.329s
23 Jesse Carrasquedo G4 Racing 1m32.220s
24 Niko Lacorte Trident 1m31.430s
25 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing 1m31.292s
26 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M 1m31.537s
27 Edgar Pierre R-P-M 1m31.549s
28 Alex Sawer KIC Motorsport 1m32.015s
29 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix 1m31.659s
30 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix 1m32.602s
31 Marta Garcia Iron Dames 1m31.809s