Junior Single Seater Race Round-Up – 7-9 June 2019

by Paul Hensby

Spa-Francorchamps played host to round four of the EuroFormula Open championship, while the ADAC Formula 4 championship was back in action for its second round of 2019 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

EuroFormula Open – Spa-Francorchamps

It was a double success at Spa-Francorchamps for championship leader Marino Sato, with the Japanese racer dominating race one before inheriting the lead in race two after another collision between Red Bull Junior drivers Liam Lawson and Yuki Tsunoda.

Race One

Sato took pole position on Saturday morning around the home of the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, leading a Team Motopark one-two ahead of fellow Japanese racer Tsunoda, while Double R Racing’s Jack Doohan was third on the grid alongside Teo Martin Motorsport’s Lukas Dunner.

A disappointing qualifying display from Motopark’s Lawson left him eighth on the grid behind Carlin Motorsport’s Christian Hahn, Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist and Carlin’s Teppei Natori.  The top ten was completed by Javier Gonzalez of the returning RP Motorsport squad, and Motopark’s Julian Hanses.

Sato got a good start to lead Tsunoda into turn one, and from there on in he was untouchable, drawing away from his team-mate to win the thirteen-lap race by 2.974 seconds.  The duo at the front were joined on the podium by another of their team-mates in Lawson, who climbed from eighth on the grid to run third by the end of the first lap, a position he would hold until the chequered flag.

Doohan took fourth, ensuring all three Red Bull-backed drivers placed inside the top four ahead of the fourth Motopark car of Hanses, while Hahn took sixth having run as high as third on the opening lap before being passed by the flying Lawson.

Gonzalez gave RP Motorsport something to cheer by securing seventh ahead of Natori and Lundqvist, while Billy Monger, the winner of the Pau Grand Prix last month took the final point on offer for Carlin ahead of Teo Martin Motorsport’s Guilherme Samaia.

Dunner’s impressive grid position was unrewarded in the race as contact on the opening lap saw him suffer a puncture that resulted in a lengthy pit stop and ultimately a race retirement.

Marino Sato took a double victory in Belgium – Credit: GT Sport

Race Two

Much like in race one, Sato took pole position for Sunday’s second race of the weekend, with Tsunoda again joining him on the front row.  Doohan was again third on the grid ahead of Dunner, while Lawson put his Motopark machine into fifth.

Calan Williams was an impressive sixth on the grid for Fortec Motorsport ahead of Hanses, while Hahn, Gonzalez and Fortec’s Cameron Das completing the top ten this time around.

A sluggish getaway relegated Sato to third on the opening lap as Lawson and Tsunoda hit the front.  However, with the Japanese racer on their tail on lap three, the two leaders clashed at Les Combes, with both drivers finding their races over in the tyre wall.

Lawson had made the move on Tsunoda heading down the Kemmel Straight and the pair went into the turn side-by-side and unwilling to yield.  This unfortunately resulted in contact and the incident promoted Sato to the lead and brought out the safety car.

The safety car was a blessing in disguise for Lundqvist, who had found himself on two wheels and facing the wrong way at the bus stop chicane after contact with Gonzalez, but the Swede was able to regroup and close the gap to those ahead of him in order to fight for points.

On the restart, Sato pulled away comfortably to take the victory, ending 6.214 seconds clear of Dunner, who pulled off a great move on Doohan around the outside of Les Combes, showing that it was possible to successfully complete a move at that turn unlike what happened between Lawson and Tsunoda.

Doohan also lost out on the final podium position to Hanses, while the Carlin duo of Hahn and Natori took fifth and sixth, ahead of Lundqvist, who gained a lot of positions in the time he had available.  He was nineteenth early after the contact with Gonzalez but drove superbly lap after lap to finish inside the top seven, ahead of the driver who spun him around in the first place!

Williams took ninth ahead of the second RP Motorsport car of Pierre-Louis Chovet, but both the Australian and the Frenchman would gain one position as Gonzalez was handed a five-second penalty post-race, relegating him outside the top ten.  Aldo Festante of Teo Martin Motorsport was the beneficiary of the final point in tenth once Gonzalez’s penalty was applied.

Sato leaves Spa-Francorchamps with a healthy fifty-four point advantage over Lawson, who in turn is six points clear of Tsunoda.  Dunner sits fourth in the championship, six points further adrift with Hanses completing the top five.

Lawson heads the rookie classification after the first four rounds, eight points clear of Tsunoda, while Doohan completes the top three, a further seven points back on the Japanese racer.  Motopark, who have four drivers inside the top five in the Drivers’ Championship, comfortably head the Teams’ classification, eighty-four points clear of closest rivals Teo Martin Motorsport.

Liam Lawson and Yuki Tsunoda collided and crashed out of race two – Credit: GT Sport

ADAC Formula 4 – Red Bull Ring

It should have been a double success for Dennis Hauger at the Red Bull Ring but a penalty in race two prevented him from adding to his race one win, with Théo Pourchaire and Paul Aron both taking their maiden victories in races two and three.

Race One

Red Bull Junior Dennis Hauger took his first ADAC Formula 4 victory of the season after dominating race one at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.  Having started from pole position, the Van Amersfoort Racing driver had pulled out a big gap on the rest of the field before the race concluded behind the safety car.

The safety car was needed after Giorgio Carrara of Jenzer Motorsport and Paul Aron of Prema Powerteam collided on the penultimate lap, putting them both out of the race.

Behind Hauger, Sauber Junior Alessandro Ghiretti of the US Racing-CHRS squad, finished an equally impressive second, gapping the following pack that was ultimately led by Mücke Motorsport’s William Alatalo, who had started eighth and moved up the order before capitalising on a mistake by Prema Powerteam’s Alessandro Famularo.

Famularo also lost a place to team-mate Gianluca Petacof but regained that fourth place again before the chequered flag ahead of the Ferrari Driver Academy star, while sixth went the way of Arthur Leclerc, the US Racing-CHRS driver coming out on top of a great battle that also involved team-mate Roman Staněk and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Niklas Krütten.

Prema Powerteam’s Oliver Rasmussen took ninth ahead of Van Amersfoort Racing’s Ido Cohen and Sebastian Estner, while Sauber junior Théo Pourchaire was only twelfth having started the race up in fifth.

Aside from the late safety car period that saw the race end behind it, it had been needed earlier in the race as well as Joshua Dürksen crashed out.  The restart saw an aggressive move by Petacof to jump from eighth to fifth before he attacked team-mate Famularo for fourth.

Dennis Hauger took race one victory in Austria – Credit: Gruppe C Photography

Race Two

Hauger was at it again in race two, dominating at the front, but a penalty post-race for ignoring yellow flags handed the victory to Pourchaire.

Again starting from pole position, Hauger judged the start to perfection to lead into turn one, a position he would hold until the chequered flag despite a safety car intervention, caused by a spin for Nico Göhler.

However, the Norwegian was penalised for ignoring yellow flags, promoting Pourchaire to the top spot, the Frenchman having come out on top of a great battle against Alatalo, with the Finn taking his second podium position of the weekend.

Famularo was also involved in the battle for second but made an error to spin out of contention, the Venezuelan driver ultimately missing out on points in eleventh as Leclerc secured the final spot on the podium ahead of Petacof, who climbed from twenty-third on the grid to claim what initially was fifth on the road, which became fourth after Hauger’s penalty relegated him to fourteenth.

Cohen took fifth ahead of leading rookie Aron, with Carrara securing his first points of the season in seventh ahead of Krütten, Dürksen and Rasmussen, the Dane rounding out the points scorers despite initially finishing the race down in eleventh.

Theo Pourchaire inherited race two victory after a penalty for Dennis Hauger – Credit: Gruppe C Photography

Race Three

Aron was victorious in the final race of the weekend, with the Estonian being in the right place at the right time despite not being the fastest car on track.

In a race that was interrupted three times by the safety car, Aron was able to capitalise on mistakes and other drivers battling for position to take over the lead, eventually taking the chequered flag first by 0.641 seconds.

Krütten had been leading up until the penultimate lap and was battling with a charging Hauger when they both deposed by Aron.  Hauger, who had started fourteenth on the grid, was challenging for the win only to suffer a puncture in that scrap, with the Norwegian retiring in the pits as a result.

Krütten retained second ahead of Pourchaire, who ended the weekend as the new championship leader, while Leclerc took fourth on the final lap from Alatalo in another consistent weekend for the Monegasque racer.  Pourchaire had passed both Leclerc and Alatalo to run fourth, then found himself on the bottom step of the podium thanks to Hauger’s unfortunate puncture.

Ghiretti, who had retired from race two and had been forced to start race three from twenty-fourth on the grid, drove superbly to secure an excellent sixth place ahead of Staněk, while Rasmussen, DRZ Benelli’s Jesse Salmenautio and R-ace GP’s Grégoire Saucy completed the points scorers.

Twice the safety car was deployed for debris on the track, but the one between those two was caused by a collision between Petacof and Carrara as the duo battled for second.  The pair collided at turn three, with the latter’s car ending on top of the former’s, although both drivers were able to emerge unscathed.

Paul Aron was victorious in race three – Credit: Gruppe C Photography

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