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R06 Mugello - Italian Formula 4 Championship Race Report

PREMA Racing clinches 2023 Italian Formula 4 Team Championship

R06 Mugello - Italian Formula 4 Championship Race Report

Lining up for the penultimate round of the Italian Formula 4 Championship at Mugello, PREMA Racing posted multiple podium finishes to mathematically clinch the 2023 Team Championship.

The race had its fair share of challenges for the team, as P2 was the maximum it could achieve. Delivering a triple podium finish, American Ugo Ugochukwu stormed back to the championship chase with three second places. He was a contender for wins all weekend long in a convincing run.

Lining up as the championship leader before the event, Arvid Lindblad faced a tough weekend, with a jump start penalty limiting him to P5 in Race 1 and heavy contact in Race 2. Starting with a grid penalty in the third race, he rounded out the top 10.

James Wharton put together a fine progression as he worked his way up through the opening races to finish the final one in P3. Tuukka Taponen also got positive results, with two top-5 finishes and a solid qualifying effort which is promising for the future.

Rashid Al Dhaheri also secured two top-5 finishes, with his best career result of P4, in one of his most outstanding performances this year. The Emirati keeps progressing as he looks to complete his first season in single-seaters.

Qualifying was a tough challenge for Nicola Lacorte and Aurelia Nobels. Both the Italian and the Brazilian showed solid pace but had their weekend conditioned by the starting positions. That will be the main focus point for that in the final races of Italian F4 and Euro4.

Last but not least, Alex Powell made his debut in a single-seater competition. The 16-year-old Jamaican lined up at a notably technical track with pure learning as his main goal. Having limited testing experience, he got valuable insight and learned how to manage race situations.

#3 - Ugo Ugochukwu
“Overall it’s been a pretty positive weekend. We qualified in the top 3 for all three races. We were quite positive going into them to be able to pick up some good points and podiums. We managed to do so, picking up three second places and a lot of points, which overall was a good effort. We are going to be pushing for more in Vallelunga.”

#8 - Tuukka Taponen
"The weekend started much better than previous ones in qualifying. It was a bit of a shame in race 1, as I made a mistake at the start, where I stalled. After that, I was able to recover some places, but I got a 10-second penalty that dropped me out of the points again. Race 2 was a decent one, but nothing special to be done. In Race 3, I was trying to manage the tyres a bit more in the beginning, and then attack in the last laps. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to overtake here. I’m still quite happy about how the weekend went, except for Race 1. Let’s move forward to Vallelunga for the last round of the Italian Championship and try to get the maximum out of it.”

#13 - James Wharton
“All weekend we struggled a bit with the pace. I did the best I could throughout it but it was not quite good enough. We are going to Vallelunga now out of the championship chase, but we still want to fight to end the season on a high.”

#14 - Rashid Al Dhaheri
“I think we made quite a good improvement compared to the last races. We accomplished our goal which is to constantly improve throughout the season, and so far it’s going well. In the final race of the Italian Formula 4 Championship, we will try to put everything we have learned this season together and learn even more to finish the year on a high note."

#16 - Aurelia Nobels
“I had a very difficult weekend. I didn’t do the test the week before, so it was already going to be tough. I tried to get back to the car in Free Practice, and see the setups and everything. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a good qualy and we had to start all the races in the back. In the first race, I had a good start, but I had to avoid a cat that stalled, losing a few position. I still managed to catch the pack and gain a few spots in P22. Unfortunately, I was hit from behind in race 2 so I picked up a DNF. In Race 3 I had a very good start but a difficult race, with a lot of understeer. Still, I tried to fix and improve my driving which I did, and we are really looking forward to Vallelunga.”

#23 - Arvid Lindblad
“A difficult weekend here in Mugello, as qualifying didn’t go as planned and we weren’t able to get the maximum performance. As a result, we ended up with P5, P3 and P3 for the three races respectively. It wasn’t too bad, as we got good starting positions to score podiums and good points. In Race 1 I made a mistake at the start, and I got a penalty for that, otherwise I would have been P3. In race 2 I was third, but had quite a big contact in T1 towards the end of the race which put me out of contention. That was unfortunate and also got me a grid penalty for Race 3, where I struggled quite a lot for pace. Still, huge thanks to PREMA, my engineer, and my mechanics who supported me through the weekend.”

#47 - Nicola Lacorte
“We struggled since qualy where we couldn’t put together the laps we wanted. That’s why we started so far away and in Mugello, where it’s really tough to pass, that was the worst thing that could happen. I’d say that the speed was there, just missed the starting positions. I feel confident for Vallelunga. We tested there and it felt really good for me. Obviously, we are going to try to maximize qualy the most so we can start more towards the front in the races.”

#80 - Alex Powell
“It was an incredible experience to jump from go-karts to cars. From the racing standpoint, it’s about learning everything new, how to manage the race and compete with other drivers closely, especially because the dimensions are a lot different from what I’m used to. It was quite cool to experience that. Of course, it’s a big learning curve and I know it takes a lot of time to get there. I’m really proud of the progress, and how we were able to improve my driving and the feeling with the car. I’m excited and happy about how my debut went and I’m really looking forward to the next one in Vallelunga."