Junior Single Seater Race Round-Up – 5-7 July 2019

by Paul Hensby

The Hungaroring was the setting for three junior categories as EuroFormula Open joined with the Formula Regional European Championship and Italian Formula 4.

EuroFormula Open

Marino Sato came into the Hungaroring weekend with a sizeable advantage in the EuroFormula Open championship standings, and the Japanese driver walked away with an even bigger lead leaving Hungary after adding two more victories to his tally.

Race One

Lukas Dunner took his second pole position of the season on Saturday morning, but his advantage was short-lived as Marino Sato swept around the outside of turn one to assume the lead, a lead he was not to give up.

Teo Martin Motorsport’s Dunner put pressure on the Team Motopark driver throughout, getting one good run on Sato down the main straight, but the Japanese racer held off the Austrian and claimed his fifth victory of the season, and third in a row by 0.403 seconds.

Liam Lawson ensured there were two Motopark representatives on the podium as the New Zealander drove a lonely race to third, just ahead of his team-mate and fellow Red Bull Junior Yuki Tsunoda.

Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist took fifth after passing Carlin’s Teppei Natori, with the move also giving the Swede the final spot on the rookie podium behind Lawson and Tsunoda, while Christian Hahn took seventh for Carlin ahead of the sole Fortec Motorsports representative for the weekend, Calan Williams.

RP Motorsport’s Javier Gonzalez took ninth, while Cameron Das took the final point having made the decision to switch from Fortec to race for Motopark from this weekend.  The American held off the challenge of Teo Martin Motorsport’s Aldo Festante until the line.

Carlin’s Nicolai Kjærgaard was spun around by Julian Hanses of Motopark and was classified down in fifteenth, with Hanses taking a penalty for the incident and ending the day down in seventeenth, behind Double R Racing’s Jack Doohan, who himself was a spinner at turn one as he targeted a points finish.

Marino Sato held off the challenge of Lukas Dunner for victory in race one – Credit: GT Sport

Race Two

Nobuharu Matsushita took pole position on Sunday morning for Carlin, but Sato reassumed his position at the front of the field by turn one, converting his lead into a comfortable sixth victory of 2019 despite a mid-race safety car nullifying his advantage.

The start saw FIA Formula 2 racer Matsushita slow away and it opened the door for Sato to assume the lead, while terrible starts for Sato’s two team-mate’s Lawson and Tsunoda saw them drop towards the back of the seventeen-car field, which was down a car from Saturday after the withdrawal of RP Motorsport’s Pierre-Louis Chovet.

Sato controlled the restart superbly and took the chequered flag 0.653 seconds clear of his countryman Matsushita, who was just able to hold off the challenge of Dunner for second.  The Austrian is now Sato’s closest challenger in the championship after his third consecutive podium, although he is still searching for that elusive first victory.

Hahn enjoyed his best result of the season to take fourth for Carlin ahead of Lundqvist, who was the leading rookie in fifth.  Gonzalez was on course for fifth only to run wide at turn four and damage his front wing, resulting in a pit stop to repairs that left the Mexican outside the points in sixteenth at the chequered flag.

Natori took sixth for Carlin ahead of Doohan and Williams, while Kjærgaard took ninth ahead of Lawson, who got the better of Carlin’s Billy Monger for the final point.  Tsunoda also passed the Pau Grand Prix winner for eleventh, but the Japanese driver lost further ground in the championship due to his no-score.

The one safety car intervention came on lap nine when Hanses retired his Motopark car after catching debris from Gonzalez’s car.  The German left the Hungaroring without a point after finishing seventeenth and last in Saturday’s opener.

Sato’s domination sees him leave Hungary with a seventy-six-point advantage in the championship ahead of Dunner, who is now second, seven points ahead of Lawson. 

Marino Sato now has six victories to his name in 2019 – Credit: GT Sport

Formula Regional European Championship

Frederik Vesti took a grip on the Formula Regional European Championship after a hat trick of victories at the Hungaroring as Prema Powerteam locked out the podium places in all three races.

Race One

Frederik Vesti took a dominant victory in race one at the Hungaroring, with the Dane leading home a Prema Powerteam one-two-three at the Hungarian circuit on Saturday afternoon.

Having taken pole position for all three races during Qualifying, Vesti took the lead at the start and despite early pressure from team-mate Enzo Fittipaldi, drew away from the Brazilian to win his fourth race of the year by 3.370 seconds.

Joining his team-mates on the podium was British racer Olli Caldwell, but he ended 6.818 seconds back.  Caldwell was lucky to retain his position at the start as both David Schumacher and Sophia Flörsch ran alongside him into turn one, but once ahead he was able to gap his rivals.

Marcos Siebert took advantage of Schumacher and Flörsch being delayed at turn one to claim fourth for US Racing, while Igor Fraga of DR Formula by RP Motorsport took fifth after getting ahead of both US Racing’s Schumacher and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Flörsch.

Raul Guzmán ended not too far behind Flörsch in eighth for DR Formula by RP Motorsport, while KIC Motorsport duo Isac Blomqvist and Konsta Lappalainen completed the points scorers.

Frederik Vesti led three Prema Powerteam one-two-three finishes – Credit: ACI Sport

Race Two

Vesti led from pole position on Sunday morning, and only Fittipaldi was able to keep in touch with the Dane as he went on to claim his fifth victory of the year.

Fittipaldi tried to get onto Vesti’s tail but whenever the Brazilian got closer, the gap grew again as the Dane was able to put in quick laps when it matters, and the gap was 1.314 seconds when the chequered flag fell.

The third Prema of Caldwell trailed his team-mates, ending 8.539 seconds off the race winner, but he was able to maintain the final spot on the podium despite pressure from Flörsch, while Schumacher led home US Racing team-mate Siebert in fifth and sixth.

Flörsch had started third but dropped briefly to fifth on lap one but was able to run fourth until the chequered flag, putting pressure on Caldwell early before dropping away from the Briton.

Guzmán took seventh but there was disappointment for his DR Formula by RP Motorsport team-mate Fraga, who was unable to take to the start due to a mechanical issue. 

Blomqvist and Lappalainen took eighth and ninth for KIC Motorsport, while Tom Beckhauser survived a spin to take tenth and his first point for Technorace despite an investigation for a first lap collision with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Alexandre Bardinon that put the Frenchman out of the race.

A lap down was Sharon Scolari, who had a couple of off-track moments at turns one and three respectively, with the ScoRace Team driver ending outside the points in eleventh.

Frederik Vesti was on fire again in race two – Credit: ACI Sport

Race Three

Vesti again held the lead at the start as he led away from pole position, and it looked as though the Dane was going to ease to victory, only for his suspension to break with just five corners remaining!

However, Vesti had built up enough of a lead to hold on until the chequered flag, although Caldwell came within 0.131 seconds of denying the Dane the hat trick of victories.

Caldwell is still searching for his first win of the year (he had one taken away from him at the Circuit Paul Ricard in the opening round of the season) but he took his best result of the year in second as Fittipaldi’s run of second places ended, the Brazilian claiming the final spot on the podium as Prema took all three podium spots for a third time in three races.

After missing race two, Fraga took fourth this time around after a good first lap ahead of Guzmán and Flörsch, while Schumacher, Blomqvist, Bardinon and Siebert completed the points scorers.  Siebert had been running third only for a technical fault to put him a couple of laps down, but he was still able to score the final point ahead of Scolari.

Frederik Vesti (centre) dominated to win all three races in Hungary (Credit: ACI Sport)

Italian Formula 4

Dennis Hauger is the new championship leader of the Italian Formula 4 championship after two wins out of three at the Hungaroring, while Gianluca Petecof took the final win of the weekend in mixed conditions.

Race One

Dennis Hauger survived two safety car restarts and pressure from Gianluca Petecof to claim his second victory of the season in the opening race of the weekend at the Hungaroring on Saturday.

Starting from pole position after dominating Qualifying, the Red Bull-backed Van Amersfoort Racing driver retained his lead at the start and despite the safety car interventions, was able to beat Prema Powerteam’s Petecof by 3.306 seconds.

An incident between Prema’s Oliver Rasmussen and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Niklas Krütten brought out the first of the safety cars, before a crash for Amna Al Qubaisi brought it out again as the Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema driver broke her front left suspension in the incident.

Paul Aron, fresh from being announced as a member of Mercedes-Benz young driver programme, completed the podium and took rookie honours in the process, finishing ahead of US Racing’s Roman Stanek and Prema Powerteam’s Alessandro Famularo.

However, Stanek and Famularo would both take post-race penalties for yellow flag offences (as well as nine other drivers) to drop outside the points, promoting BWT Mücke Motorsport’s William Atatalo to fourth and his team-mate Joshua Dürksen to fifth.

Van Amersfoort Racing’s Ido Cohen was sixth ahead of Bhaitech’s SMP Racing-backed Russian Mikhael Belov, with Jenzer Motorsport’s Giorgio Carrara, Van Amersfoort Racing’s Roy Lucas Allecco and DRZ Benelli’s Ivan Beret completing the points scorers.

Dennis Hauger was the man to beat at the Hungaroring – Credit: ACI Sport

Race Two

Hauger survived a red flag and another safety car intervention to win race two, with the Norwegian clinching the win by 1.741 seconds from Belov, with Aron completing the podium once more.

The original race began with Jesse Salmenautio stalling on the line but the incident to cause the red flag occurred at turn three, with Antonelli Motorsport’s Lorenzo Ferrari finding himself hitting the back of another car, causing him to go airborne before hitting the barriers hard nose first.  The race was red flagged as the barriers needed some repair, while Ferrari was taken to hospital.

The race was restarted as a brand-new race, but it wasn’t long before the safety car was needed, with Famularo and Roy collided, and it wasn’t until lap six that racing got underway again, and Hauger pulling a gap to his rivals.

Belov ended second ahead of Aron and the Estonian’s Prema team-mate Petecof, while Jenzer Motorsport’s Jonny Edgar will take some confidence after taking an excellent fifth ahead of Rasmussen, Stanek, Krütten and Dürksen, while Bhaitech’s Umberto Laganella claimed the final point ahead of Cohen and Salmenautio, who was able to take the restart despite his earlier stall.

Hauger was the winner again in race two – Credit: ACI Sport

Race Three

Another red flag affected the final race of the weekend, with Jenzer Motorsport’s Axel Gnos finding himself upside down on lap two, which was a saving grace for Petecof, who had spun down to twentieth.

The race was restarted, allowing Petecof to regain his position on the front row alongside Hauger, but by the restart the track was wetter and it was declared a wet race, although many started on slick tyres, including Petecof, who took the lead as Hauger was slow away.

At turn two, Belov made a mistake and locked up, pushing Krütten off track and forcing Stanek to retire, with the Russian later penalised for his mistake, putting him out of contention for the points.

Petecof was under pressure from Hauger throughout the remainder of the race, with the Brazilian also surviving yet another safety car intervention, caused by Cram Motorsport’s Emilio Cipriani hitting Antonelli Motorsport’s Andrea Rosso.

Petecof finally saw the chequered flag first, 0.260 seconds ahead of Hauger who was denied a hat trick of victories across the weekend, while Cohen gave Van Amersfoort Racing even more to cheer by claiming the final spot on the podium, just ahead of Mücke duo Dürksen and Alatalo.

Rasmussen took sixth ahead of Edgar, while Lagnaella, Famularo and Krütten took the final points on offer as Belov took a ten-second penalty to relegate him from ninth on the road to eighteenth, while Aron and Salmenautio collided at the final corner on the final lap, both hitting the barriers while going for the points.

Gianluca Petecof denied Hauger a hat trick by claiming the win in race three – Credit: ACI Sport

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