With the victory in Race 3 in Barcelona, the American, Ugo Ugochukwu secures the title in the new series promoted by ACI Sport and WSK Promotion.
Barcelona, Sunday, October 22nd, 2023 - It's official: the Euro 4 Championship has its first Champion in history. American McLaren junior driver Ugo Ugochukwu claimed the title with a flawless victory in the year's final race in Barcelona. Starting from pole position, Ugochukwu led the race from the very beginning, showcasing exceptional pace that propelled him towards victory. He concludes the 2023 season, securing the title with 193 points, including 3 wins and two podiums in 9 races.
The only contender on the track capable of challenging Ugochukwu's final win of the year was the thunder-fast Italian driver from Van Amersfoort Racing, Brando Badoer. Badoer showcased his skills by chasing his first triumph in the series, sticking to Ugochukwu's exhaust throughout the race, while the rest of the pack crossed the finish line with over 12 seconds of a gap. Badoer attempted his first attack in the latter half of the race, but the Champion skillfully defended his position. The final stages of the lengthy pursuit were particularly thrilling, with Badoer managing to stay in contention after briefly putting the rear tire off-track on the penultimate lap. Despite the setback, he didn't lose ground, allowing him to prepare for a final assault. A potential P2 would have only denied Ugochukwu the joy of celebrating on the top step of the podium but wouldn't have affected his Championship title, which he would have secured regardless. However, this scenario did not materialize; the Venetian driver finished second in Race 3, obtaining his third podium in the series.
The third position went to Tuukka Taponen, Ferrari Driver Academy driver from Prema Racing, who, having previously demonstrated remarkable speed, also showcased exceptional skills in racing line management during the last weekend of the season. In the final race, Taponen, right from the start, prevailed in the battle with Wharton for the third position, in a chaotic phase involving several Prema drivers. He then had to resist fierce attacks from behind, led by teammate Arvid Lindblad. However, the Red Bull junior driver from London, eager to join the front battle, found no way to surpass the Finnish wall. Lindblad crossed the finish line in P4 but slipped down the standings due to a 10-second penalty imposed for a jump start. This penalty dashed his hopes of winning the Rookie Trophy, which instead rewarded Akshay Bohra for his season-long efforts.
Fourth place went to James Wharton, Australian Ferrari Driver Academy driver from Prema Racing, who finished the season as the vice-Champion in the Euro 4 Championship with a total of 169 points. Fifth was Zachary David, securing the position in a fierce battle with Nicola Lacorte. The Maltese-Filipino driver from US Racing gained the spotlight due to the intense clash, which also involved multiple position exchanges. The Tuscan driver from Prema Racing finished the season's last race in P6, followed by his British teammate Freddie Slater. Eighth in Race 3 was Akshay Bohra. The American-Singaporean driver thus concluded an intense debut season, coming close in this final round to delivering the second overall title to the Team US Racing. For Bohra, the season ended with the title of the best Rookie of the Euro 4 Championship 2023 and the third position in the overall drivers' standings, with 145 points. Ninth place went to Prema Racing's Emirati driver with Yas Heat livery, Rashid Al Dhaheri, followed in the Top 10 by Australian Gianmarco Pradel from US Racing.
A better ending for the inaugural season of the new series promoted by ACI Sport and WSK Promotion couldn't have been envisioned. The final round of the Euro 4 Championship kept fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish, with four different leaders alternating in the last three days before definitively crowning Ugo Ugochukwu as the Champion. The fight in the women's trophy was also intense, with Tina Hausmann emerging victorious, securing her second seasonal Trophy with a win in Race 3. For Aurelia Nobels, Ferrari Driver Academy driver from Prema Racing, a puncture during the race was decisive, forcing her into a pit stop before returning to the track.
Ugo Ugochukwu: "It went very well. We started the Championship on a strong note. Round 2 was a bit tougher. I knew coming here that consistency would be key in winning the Championship, especially with double points. In the first two races, our pace wasn't that great, but I remained consistent and waited for Race 3, where I knew I would start from pole. I had to do my best and win the race. I want to thank the entire Prema Team for their hard work throughout the year. It has been a great year, and finishing it by winning the race and the Championship it’s a great feeling."
Brando Badoer: "It's nice to finish the season on the podium, although I'm not happy, of course. In the last race of the year, I wanted the win. I did everything I could to try and take it. From the first to the last lap, Ugo and I were very fast. We pulled away from the rest of the group. I tried to put pressure on him in every possible way to pass him, but he did well. I go home with a second-place finish, which is still a good result."
Tuukka Taponen: “The last race was only defending. I had no tires left. I was trying to just hold my position and take a good start, which I did. I’m really happy for that, I think it’s a good way to end the season. I think the second half of the season was pretty good. I can be really happy of how it ended.”
Tina Hausmann: “The win in the Euro 4 Championship feels awesome. I’m really happy and proud of the teamwork we did this season.”