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R07 Vallelunga - Italian Formula 4 Championship Race Report

PREMA Racing wraps up 2023 Italian Formula 4 season

R07 Vallelunga - Italian Formula 4 Championship Race Report

Two weeks after securing the Italian Formula 4 Team Championship at Mugello, PREMA Racing wrapped up its 2023 Italian season with one win and multiple podiums at Vallelunga.

American racer Ugo Ugochukw ended up as the best-placed PREMA Racing driver in the series by claiming victory in race 1 and two podiums in races 2 and 3. The 16-year-old McLaren Driver Development stalwart completed a positive 2023 progression. Ending up third in the standings, Red Bull Junior driver Arvid Lindblad was off to a challenging finale. Still, he won the Rookie Trophy for the year.

Tuukka Taponen was another highly consistent performer throughout the weekend. The Finnish Ferrari Driver Academy racer got off to a competitive qualifying and then delivered two second places and a P3 overall, with three rookie wins. Not far from him, fellow FDA driver James Wharton put up a solid improvement throughout the weekend to end up with three podium finishes and P4 in the series.

Nicola Lacorte and Rashid Al Dhaheri also had a tough start at the twisty Italian circuit but still managed to cap off their Italian seasons with points finishes. Making only his second start in single-seaters, Alex Powell showed high potential and fought at the front end of the pack since qualifying. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team Junior driver also got his first points finish as he continued to gain experience in race conditions.

Aurelia Nobels capped her Italian F4 season with a triple win in the Women's trophy, experiencing a solid run in a tight and hard-fighting pack. She, as well as the PREMA F4 team, will be back racing for the Euro4 series finale at Circuit de Catalunya next weekend.

#3 - Ugo Ugochukwu
"Overall, it was a decent weekend in Vallelunga. We won race 1 and finished P4 in race 2 before taking another podium in race 3 with P2. We scored great points, and I was able to finish the season as the vice-champion. I'd like to thank everybody in PREMA for all the hard work this year. It's been a really positive season, and I'm happy to finish on a high."

#8 - Tuukka Taponen
"The weekend was quite good. P2 and P2 in qualifyings were quite solid results. The races weren't bad at all as well. I got the maximum that I was able to do this weekend. It was also quite good for the team because overall we were a bit struggling for speed. I want to thank PREMA for all the help this season in the Italian Championship, and I thank Ferrari and all my sponsors for their great support. We still have one race left in Barcelona for Euro4, and I want to fight for the win."

#13 - James Wharton
"It was quite a difficult weekend from practice, where we didn't have the pace. Qualy was not what we expected as we were not quite there, but in the races, we fought back a little. We still finished P4 in the championship which was all we could have hoped with the problems we had. I'm happy with the weekend but still, the pace isn't quite where we want it to be."

#14 - Rashid Al Dhaheri
"It was an interesting weekend to close off the Italian Championship. This year we learned a lot, and we were able to improve over the final races. The results weren't as good as expected here but from every mistake we make, we always try to learn and come back better and stronger for the next races, which will be at Barcelona."

16 - Aurelia Nobels
"It was quite a positive weekend. We had a test before the event, which was good, and it helped us a lot. Then, in qualy, we did P20 and P22. Not the positions we were expecting, but in all three races we had very, very good starts managing to gain some spots. In Race 1, we finished in P22. After a few laps, we went back to P26, but we fought back and we had the pace. I finished P22 and was very close in the lap times. In race 2, we started P20 and finished P22. Once again, we had the speed, we were three tens off from P2. The pace was there again in Race 3, where we finished P24. We learned a lot during this championship, It was a good year so far with PREMA, everyone is helping me and I'm quite happy, quite satisfied. Now we have the last race in Barcelona so we keep pushing, and big thanks to everyone."

#23 - Arvid Lindblad
"A really difficult weekend here at Vallelunga, not sure what happened. We struggled from the first moment to the end for pace. We just couldn't get close as we had big issues we couldn't resolve. I'm really grateful to the team for all the hard work and effort. They worked flat out all weekend to try to give me the best opportunity, and it's unfortunate that we struggled so much."

47 - Nicola Lacorte
"It wasn't an easy weekend since qualifying as we struggled a bit to find the right pace. In race 1 I still managed to finish in the points, while in race 2 we had the pace but were a bit unlucky with contact in the middle of the race. In race 3 I lost a lot of time battling for the point zone at the start. In the end, not the best weekend, but we were able to finish the championship in P9 overall and P5 rookies. The championship went beyond expectations from the start. I'm quite happy about it and about the work we have done with the team."

#80 - Alex Powell
"A good step forward from the last race weekend. In general, I think it was a very positive weekend. We were fast in practice and in the collective test. In qualifying it wasn't ideal but we were still able to do a pretty solid job to be in a good starting position for all three races. From the racing aspect, it was a learning experience for sure, being comfortable being around so many cars with dimensions that are a lot different compared to what I'm used to. The positives to take from the weekend are that the pace in general was quite strong, considering where we started. I'm satisfied with the weekend. I think we could have got more but in the end, it's about learning and taking everything we can out of it."