Armstrong and Fernandez Gain Championship Momentum at Mugello


Credit: ACI Sport

Italian F4 Championship leader Marcus Armstrong extended his advantage at Mugello last weekend as the Kiwi driver finished on the podium in all three races, going into the final event with a 53 point lead over nearest rival Job Van Uitert, who was on the podium for just one race.

It was a weekend to remember for many of the regular front-runners, especially Sebastian Fernandez who picked up two wins, his first since the opening round of the season. Lorenzo Colombo and Artem Petrov would pick up one-off silverware, while Leonardo Lorandi secured the rookie title with three class wins.

While only 75 points are available at the final round, dropped scores mean that Armstrong is currently set to lose 24 points, while Van Uitert will not drop any.

Leonardo Lorandi picked up three class wins to secure the Rookie Title with a round to spare (Credit: ACI Sport)

RACE 1

Winner: Sebastian Fernandez – BhaiTech Racing

Fernandez made a strong start but Marcus Armstrong came alongside on the run down the first corner, ensuring the Venezuelan was forced into a defensive move. Fernandez kept him at bay and broke away as the race went on.

Armstrong though had his own issues, with the fast starting Lorenzo Colombo behind, soon giving him trouble in the early stages. The Italian continued to hound, ensuring it’d be an easy win for Fernandez with Armstrong consolidating second.

Behind them, Leonardo Lorandi led home the best of the rest after an impressive run from the rookie saw him break away slightly from Enzo Fittipaldi as the race went on. Rounding out the top six would be Artem Petrov after getting stuck behind the Brazilian.

Job Van Uitert’s attempts to get up the order soon diminished as he was edged onto the grass in the opening stages, with the Dutch driver eventually settling for eighth behind Lirim Zendeli who had been aggressive in the opening lap. As a result, Van Uitert drops behind in the championship fight.

RACE 2

Winner: Marcus Armstrong – Prema Powerteam

It was once again Marcus Armstrong who was present on the front row, but without Sebastian Fernandez to hold him back, rocketed off in the opening lap as Job Van Uitert defended his place from Leonardo Lorandi. Further back, Lirim Zendeli was punted through the gravel.

An early safety car was called as a result of Lorenzo Colombo’s retirement, though this would not stop Armstrong from once again breaking away. Having won the opening race, Fernandez ended his day early after Gregoire Saucy misjudged and overtake, puncturing his tyre and sending Fernandez into the gravel at turn one.

On the final lap Giacomo Bianchi ran wide, keeping the throttle in and bouncing over the escape road as he spun into the barrier. None of this would affect Armstrong though, as he kept Van Uitert at bay for his fourth win of the season.

Behind them, Lorandi found himself holding off the late charging Kush Maini until the last corner as Ian Rodriguez took fifth ahead of the recovering Zendeli. Saucy would be seventh ahead of Felipe Branquinho.

Ian Rodriguez (#45) was taken out of race three after collision with Gregoire Saucy (#17) (Credit: ACI Sport)

RACE 3

Winner: Sebastian Fernandez – BhaiTech Racing

With championship leaders Marcus Armstrong and Job Van Uitert once again on the front row, a repeat of race two was on the cards and going into the first corner the Dutch driver was all over Armstrong.

As it turned out though, Van Uitert had jumped the start, but with neither driver realising until half distance, the pair used up their tyres allowing Sebastian Fernandez to take advantage. Armstrong would fall to third as Artem Petrov took second and chased down Fernandez.

The Venezuelan won by under half a second as Petrov followed him across the line, with Armstrong third. Elsewhere, Gregoire Saucy was once again involved in an incident as he collided with Ian Rodriguez, thus helping the drivers behind.

Although he was 16 seconds off the leader, Leonardo Lorandi took a comfortable fourth to secure the rookie title with one round to go. In fifth would be Enzo Fittipaldi after a shocking weekend for the Brazilian, as he held off Aldo Festante and Lorenzo Colombo.