After starting on pole, Chinese driver Ye Yifei controlled the opening French F4 races of the year to win in style around Paul Ricard in the morning and afternoon event. The victories are his third and fourth of the series after a strong end to 2015 saw him pick up his first two wins.
In the first race he lead from lights to flag, even picking up the fastest lap along the way. It proved to be an all experienced podium as Hugo Chevalier took second after a quick start from him and American Michael Benyahia saw them challenge Ye upfront.
Rookie Tristan Charpentier, who had started second, found himself in trouble at the start, dropping quickly to ninth. Despite his poor getaway, the young French protagonist worked his way back through the field in the second half of the race to finish fifth behind the well regarded Javier Cobian.
As always in French F4, the real battles were in the midfield as it was another rookie, Casper Roes who took sixth place, leaving the rest of the field behind him.
The second race saw the top 10 drivers in the field reversed, but that seemed no obstacle for the unstoppable Ye, who stormed through for back to back victories in front of the French crowd. He wasn’t the only driver to improve though, as Chevalier and Benyahia took second and third ensuring that the podium for the second race remained the same.
Ye was not prepared to hold back at the start, gaining all ten spaces in the opening five laps. After a brief safety car, he was not to be caught as he quickly built up a lead, of eight seconds by the time the flag fell.
Jean-Baptise Mela had held onto second position for the majority of the race, but was not able to hold off the advancing Chevalier and Benyahia, falling to fourth as a result. Enzo Samon had started third and, like Mela, was determined to salvage a strong result, but was forced to settle for fifth as he was not able to get past the resilient Mela.
Other than Ye, one driver stood out for the afternoon race, as Gilles Magnus worked his way up to sixth after being forced to start at the back of the grid due his first round incident. He wasn’t the only driver to make improvements though as Arthur Rougier and Marvin Klein both squeezed into the top eight after starting outside the top ten.
Ye will once again line up on pole for race three, thanks to a superb qualifying, but he’ll have to be wary of the field behind him, as they look to stop his run of victories.