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Jul 17, 2016

Italian Formula 4 Championship, Mugello

Unseasonal rain early on Friday morning meant the 32 Formula 4 drivers competing at Mugello this weekend had limited track time before heading into qualifying. The first fifteen-minute session set the grid for Saturday’s race and it was Italian Simone Cunati who came out on top of the VSR drivers, claiming a place on row four. Marino Sato and Jaden Conwright qualified on the 11th and 12th rows respectively.

A brace of podiums saw Simone Cunati back on top in the Rookie Championship (photo by Photo4)
On Saturday normal service was resumed as far as the weather was concerned and the drivers lined up on the grid for race one in bright sunshine. Amid much jostling for position Cunati held on to 7th place but lost out to fellow rookie Vips on the second lap. For the rest of the race he headed a group of seven drivers all hungry for the final points scoring places. As the race entered its final third Cunati reclaimed 7th from Vips and hung on to take the flag as the 2nd highest placed rookie, moving back to the lead of the Rookie Championship. Sato and Conwright were involved early on in a battle with ex-VSR driver Baiz. Both got the better of the Venezuelan and then diced hard with Ciantini and Kratz before the former threw it off the road on lap eight. Conwright passed Sato for 14th on the last lap and was classified 5th in the Rookie Championship.

A disappointing qualifying for Sunday morning’s race left the VSR drivers with everything to do. A brutal start-line crash, which eliminated amongst others Conwright, caused the race to be red-flagged and then postponed. Cunati and Sato both made up a handful of places before the Safety Car came out and the race was eventually red-flagged. They were classified 12th and 16th and Cunati was again the 3rd rookie home.

The VSR mechanics did a miraculous job repairing Conwright’s car in time for Sunday evening’s sprint race. Cunati started from row six, Sato from nine and Conwright from the back of the grid. A rare mistake from Cunati saw him slip down the order early on and it was Sato who threatened to break into the top ten, dicing with Bertonelli for much of the race. When the flag fell he was 12th with Cunati 23rd and Conwright 29th.

The Formula 4 Championship now takes a two month break and will be back on track at Vallelunga in September.