Junior Single Seater Race Weekend Round-up – 20-22 September 2019

by Paul Hensby

EuroFormula Open – Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona

Race One

Liam Lawson was made to work hard but the Red Bull-backed New Zealander took his third victory of the 2019 EuroFormula Open season in tricky conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Qualifying was washed out due to torrential rain, meaning the grid was set by the times set in Friday’s free practice sessions, with Carlin’s Billy Monger occupying pole position, with team-mate Nicolai Kjaergaard alongside him on the front row.

Kjaergaard took the lead early on and looked like he was to secure his maiden victory ahead of Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist, with Monger dropping to third.  Lawson moved up to fifth on the opening lap before passing both Christian Hahn and Monger to run third.  The Motopark driver then tailed Lundqvist for a number of laps before working his way through into second.

On a wet track, Lawson had a lot of confidence in his car and was able to close the gap to race leader Kjaergaard, but it was only as they were starting their final lap that the New Zealander was able to get a run on the Dane to take over the lead.

Kjaergaard held on to finish second ahead of Lundqvist, while Hahn found a way to get ahead of Monger to claim fourth.  Lukas Dunner ended sixth for Teo Martin Motorsport, but his failure to win and secure the pole position and fastest lap bonus points ensured Marino Sato became the 2019 champion, despite the Japanese racer finishing only tenth after struggling with the conditions.

Debutant Ido Cohen took seventh for Carlin ahead of Motopark’s Cameron Das, while Carlin’s Teppei Natori ended the race in ninth ahead of new champion Sato.  Mistakes by Yuki Tsunoda and Jack Doohan ended their chances of points despite both showing good pace early on.

Liam Lawson mastered the conditions to win race one – Credit: GT Sport

Race Two

Weather conditions were completely different for race two on Sunday, and it was a first EuroFormula Open victory of the year for Japanese racer Natori, with the Japanese driver dominating proceedings from pole position.

It was a little bit of a surprise to see Natori on pole position and dominating in such a fashion, with the Carlin racer ending 5.563 seconds clear of the field.  His previous best result of the season had been a quartet of sixth place finishes!

The podium was a Carlin lock-out, with Kjaergaard again occupying second position, while Monger claimed only his second podium of the year, his third place adding to his Pau Grand Prix victory back in May.  Hahn finished fourth to give Carlin an incredible one-two-three-four finish.

Sato gave chase to Hahn early on but was forced to settle for fifth, with the newly crowned champion holding off the challenge of Motopark team-mates Lawson and Tsunoda, while Lundqvist, Dunner and Doohan completed the top ten and the point’s scorers. 

For Dunner, it was a case of what might have been as a good start went unrewarded.  He jumped to sixth but was crowded out at turn two to fall back to where he started.  Niklas Krütten just missed out on the points in eleventh ahead of Cohen.

Teppei Natori led a Carlin one-two-three-four in race two – Credit: GT Sport

Formula Regional European Championship – Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona

Race One

Frederik Vesti continues to be the driver to beat in 2019 as the Norwegian took his tenth victory of the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, although he was made to work hard for the win.

Enzo Fittipaldi had started from pole position and led the first couple of laps but a mistake from the Prema Powerteam driver allowed David Schumacher and Vesti through into first and second.  Vesti kept Schumacher close before taking the lead away from the US Racing driver after half distance.

A safety car period closed up the pack, with Vesti’s six second gap nullified as Van Amersfoort Racing’s Sophia Flörsch and KIC Motorsport’s Konsta Lappalainen collided at turn eleven, and on the restart Olli Caldwell attempted to pass Prema team-mate Fittipaldi for third, only for both to run off track at turn two, with the mess allowing Daniel Ticktum to jump into the podium positions.

Ticktum was making his first race appearance since being dropped by the Red Bull Junior Team earlier this year, and racing for Van Amersfoort Racing, he had the bit between his teeth, seeking to impress.  He made further inroads on the field to move ahead of Schumacher for second on the penultimate lap, ultimately ending 1.816 seconds behind race winner Vesti.

Raul Guzman ultimately claimed fourth for DR Formula ahead of Fittipaldi, while Matteo Nannini of Scuderia DF Corse by Corbetta was sixth ahead of Caldwell and Sharon Scolari and Flörsch.

Scolari was able to capitalise on a late race incident that involved Flörsch, Igor Fraga (DR Formula) and Alexandre Bardinon (Van Amersfoort Racing) to claim eighth.  Fraga hit the kerbs at turn two and collected both Flörsch and Bardinon, the latter retiring from the race on the spot.  Fraga failed to finish the final lap due to the damage (although still took the final point for being classified tenth), while Flörsch was able to get to the chequered flag, albeit down in ninth.

Frederik Vesti took his tenth victory of 2019 in race one – Credit: Formula Regional European Championship

Race Two

Schumacher held off a spirited challenge from Fittipaldi to claim victory in the second race of the weekend in Barcelona, which was his second win of the 2019 campaign.

The US Racing driver had taken pole position and held onto the lead at the start, and despite pressure from Fittipaldi, was able to stride home for the win, albeit by only 0.697 seconds as the Brazilian closed the gap over the closing laps.

Initially it was Ticktum who held third, but the British racer was unable to match the pace of the two up front and was a moving roadblock for some of those behind, with Caldwell, Vesti and Fraga amongst those challenging the Briton.

Caldwell couldn’t find a way ahead and then lost positions on consecutive laps to Vesti and Fraga, before the championship leader did manage to jump Ticktum on lap sixteen, with Fraga following through. 

Ticktum did hold on to fifth despite losing more than three and a half seconds to those ahead in the final few laps, while Caldwell claimed sixth despite initially falling to seventh behind Guzman.  Flörsch, Lappalainen and Nannini completed the points scorers with Bardinon and Scolari missing out.

David Schumacher took his second win of the season in race two – Credit: Formula Regional European Championship

Race Three

Schumacher made it a double victory in the final race of the weekend, the German holding off a much improved Ticktum for his third win of 2019.

Ticktum jumped into second place at the start and hounded Schumacher throughout the race but was unable to make a move stick on the German, with 1.791 seconds separating the duo at the chequered flag. 

Fittipaldi completed the podium and had one good shot at passing Ticktum for second, getting alongside the Briton on the pit straight on lap fourteen, but the Van Amersfoort Racing driver held off the Brazilian, with the Prema driver unable to get close enough again to mount another challenge.

Vesti ran fourth but found himself spun around by Nannini late in the day, with the Norwegian finding himself ending the day tenth, not what the championship leader was hoping for.  However, Vesti has a seventy-three-point advantage at the top of the championship with six races remaining.

Nannini was handed a twenty-five-second time penalty for his part in the Vesti incident, which relegated him to ninth at the chequered flag.  This enabled Caldwell to claim fourth ahead of Flörsch and Guzman, with Fraga and Lappalainen seventh and eighth.

David Schumacher rounded off the weekend with victory in race three – Credit: Formula Regional European Championship

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