Home Formula 4Italian F4 Wharton wins at Spa in opening Italian F4 race that is twice red-flagged

Wharton wins at Spa in opening Italian F4 race that is twice red-flagged

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Prema’s James Wharton led lights-to-flag in a shortened opening Italian Formula 4 race at Spa-Francorchamps.

A great start meant he went unchallenged from pole position on lap one, while Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer passed US Racing duo Kacper Sztuka and Zachary David with the power of the two down the Kemmel Straight.

Wharton finished the opening lap 1.15 seconds clear, but his gap had been reduced to 0.682s by the end of lap two. The race was then stopped not long after due to a scary incident involving Airflow Racing’s Guido Luchetti and PHM Racing’s Viktoria Blokhin on the Kemmel Straight. Blokhina’s car rolled several times, and both drivers thankfully emerged unharmed.

After a lengthy delay the race was restarted behind the safety car with a shortened distance from 30 to 25 minutes, and also using the order from the end of lap one. The race distance was shortened even more to 23m20s (plus one lap) before the restart actually occurred, and the safety car ended up leading the field for three laps rather than one.

Wharton made the most of the rolloing start to put himself out of trouble again, while David was under attack after providing a tow to the cars behind.

Although the group near the front ran very closely together, most of the overtaking was actually happening far further down the field. Outside of the points, BVM Racing’s Alfio Spina made a great move on lap six of the restarted encounter around the outside of PHM Racing’s Valentin Kluss at Bruxelles but ended up cutting across him as he went to the racing line for the next corner and ended up breaking off Kluss’s front wing.

Prema’s Ugo Ugochukwu passed Badoer for third on the outside just before Les Combes on lap seven, but then the move ended up being for nothing as the race was red-flagged and the final classification was taken from two laps prior.

The cause of the second stoppage was an incident that put both Davide Larini (AKM Motorsport) and Ruiqi Liu (US Racing) into the barriers after turn 11.

The reversal of Ugochukwu’s move on Badoer was the only change to the top 10 positions, while Kluss was classified 11th despite having retired before the red flags were out.

Race result (5 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 James Wharton Prema 17m27.576s
2 Zachary David US Racing +0.751s
3 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +1.292s
4 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema +1.847s
5 Arvid Lindblad Prema +2.757s
6 Kacper Sztuka US Racing +3.179s
7 Tuukka Taponen Prema +3.839s
8 Akshay Bohra US Racing +4.967s
9 Rashid Al Dhaheri BVM Racing +5.352s
10 Matheus Ferreira Van Amersfoort Racing +5.800s
11 Valentin Klus PHM Racing +6.836s
12 Alfio Spina BVM Racing +7.003s
13 Ariel Elkin Jenzer Motorsport +7.583s
14 James Egozi PHM Racing +8.404s
15 Ruiqu Liu US Racing +8.794s
16 Niko Lacorte Prema +9.302s
17 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport +9.734s
18 Davide Larini AKM Motorsport +10.236s
19 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi PHM Racing +10.836s
20 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing +11.296s
21 Jack Beeton Van Amersfoort Racing +12.383s
22 Matteo Quintarelli R-ace GP +12.668s
23 Kim Hwarang Jenzer Motorsport +12.963s
24 Frederik Lund AKM Motorsport +13.763s
25 Tina Hausmann AKM Motorsport +14.292s
26 Bianca Bustamante Prema +14.874s
27 Raphael Narac R-ace GP +14.996s
28 Ismail Akhmed Van Amersfoort Racing +16.118s
29 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing +30.627s
Ret Guido Luchetti Aitflow Racing
Ret Viktoria Blokhina PHM Racing
Fastest lap: Lindblad, 2m23.194s

Championship standings
Lindblad 139   2 Ugochukwu 93   3 David 74   4 Wharton 68   5 Lacorte 60   6 Badoer 59   7 Taponen 57   8 Sztuka 57   9 Domingues 43    10 Spina 42