Home Formula 4FAcademy Finland World Karting champion Tuukka Taponen takes triple win on F4 return

World Karting champion Tuukka Taponen takes triple win on F4 return

by Ida Wood

CIK-FIA World Karting champion Tuukka Taponen won all three races in round two of the Formula Academy Finland season at Botniaring.

The factory Tony Kart driver made his car racing debut in the series last August, winning both races at Kymiring, then didn’t appear again until signing to race with Koiranen Kemppi Motorsport for this weekend.

He claimed pole for the Formula 4 series by 0.625 seconds over team-mate Iker Oikarinen, then won by 0.443 seconds in race one.

Fellow Koiranen driver Leevi Vappula had passed Taponen early in the 14-lap race, and held on in front until lap 10 when Taponen finally got back past. He then stayed on his tail as they lapped two Formula Historic cars they were sharing the grid with, but couldn’t find a place to make a move back.

Koiranen’s fourth driver Alexi Jalava rounded out the podium, almost 14s back, while Oikarinen retired on lap seven.

Taponen started on F4 pole and fourth overall on the grid in race two, as there were three of Formula Open Finland’s Formula 3 cars ahead, and a mega start by Vappula from fifth on the grid put him into the lead ahead of Jalava, while Taponen dropped back behind Oikarinen.

Vappula comfortably led the race’s first half, but once Taponen had clear air in second place he closed in by a few tenths of a second per lap until lap eight where Vappula upped his pace in response. That wasn’t enough, as Taponen got by on lap nine and had brought Oikarinen with him.

The top three ran closely to the end, with Taponen victorious by 0.320s and Oikarinen only 0.428s off second place. Jalava was a few seconds back in fourth, and Joonas Jaaskelainen, driving for the Koiranen-supported J.O.E Racing Team, was a very distant fifth.

Oikarinen and Jalava were the top two F4 cars on the race three grid, followed by Vappula and Taponen.

A slow start for Oikarinen meant Jalava went straight past and Taponen latched onto his rear at the first corner. In the middle of lap one however, Oikarinen was able to reclaim top spot.

Taponen passed Jalava down the inside of the turn 12 hairpin on lap five, and had a 1.557s gap to make up on the leader. That margin didn’t initially decrease, but as Oikarinen got lapped by FOpen leader Jussi Kuivakangas it enabled Taponen to rapdily close in. On the penultimate lap he had the better run through the fast turn 10 but there wasn’t room to make a move at turn 11.

He then tried the dummy at turn 12, but at the turn 13 kink Oikarinen came across the front of Taponen and spun into the grass. He was able to continue far back in third, while Taponen wrapped up his third win.

Results round-up
Race 1 (14 laps)
1 Tuukka Taponen Koiranen Kemppi Motorsport 22m30.061s
2 Leevi Vappula Koiranen Kemppi Motorsport +0.443s
3 Alexi Jalava Koiranen Kemppi Motorsport +13.715s
4 Joonas Jaaskelainen J.O.E Racing Team +28.737s
5 Nestori Virtala privateer +1 lap
Ret Iker Oikarinen Koiranen Kemppi Motorsport
Pole: Taponen, 1m34.293s
Fastest lap: Taponen, 1m34.627s

Race 2 (12 laps)
1 Taponen 19m21.054s
2 Vappula +0.320s
3 Oikarinen +0.748s
4 Jalava +3.103s
5 Jaaskelainen +29.270s
6 Virtala +41.107s
FL: Oikarinen, 1m35.024s

Race 3 (12 laps)
1 Taponen 19m19.133s
2 Jalava +1.999s
3 Oikarinen +8.316s
4 Vappula +21.590s
5 Jaaskelainen +26.036s
6 Virtala +40.120s
FL: Taponen, 1m34.903s

Championship standings
1 Vappula 109   2 Jalava 100   3 Oikarinen 88   4 Taponen 75   5 Jaaskelainen 68   6 Virtala 26