The qualifying session at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza was extremely close, with tight margins that anticipate three highly contested races.
Monza - The double qualifying session of the Italian F.4 Championship at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza was full of excitement. Italian driver Brando Badoer from Van Amersfoort Racing secured his maiden pole position in the series and will start from P1 in tomorrow's race (scheduled to start at 13:20). The two races on Sunday will see British driver Arvid Lindblad, driver from Prema Racing with Red Bull livery, starting from pole position, giving him a double opportunity to strengthen his leadership in the Championship promoted by ACI Sport and WSK Promotion.
The first session on the track this evening was interrupted just over four minutes before the end due to an incident involving Davide Larini of AKM Motorsport at Turn 11. The driver is okay, but at the restart, there are only 4 minutes and 36 seconds remaining until the checkered flag, leaving no room for any driver’s mistake. Brando Badoer comes out on top in this scenario, setting a time of 1'52.962. He is followed by Kacper Sztuka, who secured his position in the final stages with a gap of 0.214. The Polish driver from US Racing will start from the front row in Saturday's race, followed by Lindblad in P3, 0.317 seconds behind. Lindblad set the fastest lap after the session resumed, being one of the first drivers back on track and having to race without the benefit of the tow at Monza. Finnish driver Tuukka Taponen performed well, finishing fourth with a gap of 0.320. The Portuguese driver Ivan Domingues from Van Amersfoort Racing took fifth place, with 0.448 seconds gap, closely followed by Australian driver James Wharton, Ferrari Driver Academy of Prema Racing, with a gap of 0.451 seconds. McLaren junior driver from Team Prema, Ugo Ugochukwu, secured the seventh position with a time of 0.484 seconds behind and is the last driver within half a second from the session leader Badoer. Gianmarco Pradel of US Racing was eighth in the first qualifying session, trailing by 0.534 seconds, while the top 10 was rounded by Nicola Lacorte from Prema Racing, with a gap of 0.558, and Akshay Bohra from US Racing, 0.615 seconds behind.
Arvid Lindblad emerged more vigorously in qualifying 2, setting a time of 1'52.522 to secure pole position. The session was more frantic and saw frequent changes in the lead, especially in the final stages. Badoer initially set the benchmark time, which was quickly bested by Lindblad. There was another exchange with Ugochukwu taking the lead from the Londoner, but Lindblad promptly claimed it back, then further improved his own lap time and secured pole position also for race 3. The final ranking of qualifying 2 saw Badoer in second place, just 0.065 seconds behind, followed by Sztuka with a gap of 0.091. The margins between the leading drivers were extremely close, with Ugochukwu also within 0.132 seconds. Bohra performed well, finishing fifth with a gap of 0.199. Wharton ended the session in sixth place, 0.281 behind, followed by Taponen with a gap of 0.367. Eighth place went to Rashid Al Dhaheri from Prema Racing, who secured the fourth row in race 2 with a gap of 0.445. Alfio Spina, Sicilian driver from BVM Racing, set the ninth fastest lap with a time of 0.544, while Domingues finished tenth in the session with a time of 0.573. In race 3, with the grid determined by the second fastest lap, Lindblad set the benchmark time of 1'52.751, with Badoer still in second place, just 5 thousandths of a second behind. Sztuka took third place with a gap of 0.065, followed by Ugochukwu, who was 0.100 seconds behind.
The action resumes tomorrow, Saturday, June 24, with the first race of the weekend, 30-minute plus one lap, starting at 13:20. The remaining two races will take place on Sunday, June 25, with race 2 opening the Sunday program of the ACI Racing Weekend Monza at 8:40 (30 minutes + one lap), followed by the final race at 14:20 (30 minutes + one lap).
All three races of the weekend will be broadcast live with English commentary on the Italian F.4 Championship's YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as on Motorsport TV (https://eu.motorsport.tv/). The races will also be broadcast with Italian commentary on ACI Sport TV (channel 228 on Sky), on www.acisport.it, and on the Facebook page @acisporttv.
Admission is free, and there is open access to the paddock for those who want to experience the excitement of the ACI Racing Weekend in person. All the information is available on the official website of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza: https://www.monzanet.it/events/aci-racing-weekend-1-2/
Brando Badoer: “It’s very special to do my first official pole position for the Italian Championship here in Monza. It’s a fantastic track, for sure one of my favorites since I was a kid. I am very happy for myself and for my Team. We have been working very hard, and now the results show that we are ready to go for the wins. Usually, here there is always a lot of traffic, as everyone try to get the best position possible. I made it in both qualifyings, in the first was pole position, in the second one a very good result. I think I managed everything very well and I’m happy.”
Arvid Lindblad: “it was a really difficult session, in Q1 I didn’t manage it very well. We had a red flag unfortunately then we went into the final part of the session with 4 minutes to go, and I didn’t have a representative lap. Then in the way that it panned out I was completely alone when I did my one push. So, to be able to go P3 in that run was really good. I was really comfortable in the car in Q2, it was really good and we had strong pace. The first push was strong and then I improved in the second push. After that, I got a bit of traffic and the tyres started to go away so I was unable to improve. 2 really good laps, P1 for Race 2 and Race 3. I’m really happy.”