2017 F4 SMP NEZ Championship – Lundgaard Dominant Again

Total Walkover for Lundgaard in Moscow Day 1

A big action day was waiting for the drivers when they reached Moscow Raceway this morning. With two Free Practice sessions held at 10:00 and 13:00, drivers could experience both slick and wet Hankook tires. Both sessions were dominated by Renault Sport Academy driver Christian Lundgaard, who had a one-second gap to the second best driver Juuso Puhakka in rainy conditions.

 

Qualifying 1

The skies cleared as the time for qualifying came up but the track was still too damp to go on slicks for the young drivers so the field left with wet weather tyres mounted. As the track got drier, the times got worse and the cars began to be difficult to drive for the apprentice drivers.

A few seconds after the green flag was waved, Milen Ponomarenko spun in T10 and took Juuso Puhakka out, forcing the Finn to retire from the session. It was a tough blow for Puhakka who will have to start both Race 1 and Race 2 from the back of the grid.

17 laps were deleted across 11 drivers for not respecting track limits, which resulted in Christian Lundgaard snatching pole position for Race 1 in 1:44.725, while Alexander Smolyar took P2 and pole position for Race 2 on Saturday. A very clean and good drive from AKK driver Sami-Matti Trogen was rewarded with P3 on the starting grid of Race 1.

FA Racing drivers Xavier Lloveras and Guillem Pujeu both qualified in the top 10, leaving a very disappointed Lloveras, who is just 8 points shy of Lundgaard in the general standings but who has got Smolyar verly close behind him.

MP Motorsport driver Marta Garcia who started in the F4 NEZ for the first time today ended the 15-minute session holding onto P14 while teammate Bent Viscaal got P5 with no less than 4 laptimes deleted, and Austrian Lukas Dunner snatched P9.

Christian Lundgaard: “I am very happy with my lap time, especially in these very tricky conditions, the day is going good so far!”

Alexander Smolyar: “P2 in Race 1 and pole position for Race 2, it’s not perfect of course, but it is very good. I will go for maximum points this weekend”

 

Race 1

The first race of the weekend, came at the end of a very long day for the 19 SMP F4 NEZ drivers who went through FP1, FP2 and Q1 on the same day. The track dried out and allowed the drivers to mount slick Hankook tires for the 25 minute (+ 1 lap) race.

Christian Lundgaard started on pole position, and got a clear start, as did the rest of the field, everyone getting through the first lap with no incident. Alexander Smolyar and Sami-Matti Trogen held onto their positions throughout the race. But behind the trio, things were heating up. Abdullayev and Shvetsov bumped into each other, and the latter lost his front wing and had to pit to fix it before coming out again.

Haapalainen got a good start and gained several places, only to lose them again a few corners later and the reclaim them a few laps later. It was a dramatic race for Bent Viscaal who had to defend his P4 position for half the race with Nikita Volegov trying to overtake him from all sides, and Haapalainen, Belov and Piirimagi just waiting in ambush for the Dutch and Russian pair to make a mistake. However, Dutchman Viscaal kept his calm and took the chequered flag holding onto P4, keeping the train behind him, and scoring important points in the Championship.

Juuso Puhakka, who started last due to his qualifying accident, had amazing pace, setting the fastest lap in 1:38.932 and going from P19 to P10 and scoring a bitter-feeling point for the Championship.

Juuso Puhakka: “I did my best to gain some valuable points in the Championship. Starting from the back and reaching P10 was the best I could do today, but tomorrow, I have another chance with Q2.”

Mid-Race Elias Niskanen made a mistake which saw him hit Spaniard Marta Garcia. The Finn retired from the race, while Garcia was able to rejoin but finished last.

Christian Lundgaard with a 4.3 second gap to Alexander Smolyar took his 6th victory of the season, extending his lead in the championship by 33 points over Xavier Lloveras.

Thanks to this result, Alexander Smolyar is only 6 points behind the Spaniard.

Tomorrow the action resumes at 11am with Quali 2, followed by Race 2 at 13:30 and Race 3 at 17:05! With the weather forecaste to be capricious again, some action will be expected!

 

Qualifying 1 results

1. C. Lundgaard 1.44.282

  1. A. Smolyar +0.545

  2. SM. Trogen +0.840

  3. N. Volegov +0.911

  4. B. Viscaal +0.971

  5. T. Haapalainen +1.005

  6. M. Belov +1.049

  7. X. Lloveras +1.233

  8. L. Dunner +1.600

  9. G. Pujeu +1.610

  10. S. D. Piirimagi +2.174

  11. I. Berets +2.191

  12. I. Shvetsov +2.600

  13. M. Garcia +2.601

  14. G. Abdullayev +2.731

  15. V. Tziortzis +2.844

  16. M. Ponomarenko +2.913

  17. E. Niskanen +2.976

 

Not classified

J. Puhakka

 

Race 1 Results

1. C. Lundgaard

  1. A. Smolyar +4.309

  2. SM. Trogen +6.501

  3. B. Viscaal +14.316

  4. N. Volegov +14.563

  5. T. Haapalainen +14.925

  6. M. Belov +15.271

  7. S. D. Piirimagi +20.675

  8. L. Dunner +23.741

  9. J. Puhakka +24.181

  10. X. Lloveras +25.939

  11. G. Pujeu +29.760

  12. I. Berets +31.786

  13. V. Tziortzis +32.285

  14. G. Abdullayev +54.435

  15. M. Ponomarenko +1:00.871

  16. M. Garcia +1:20.614

 

Not Classified

E. Niskanen

I. Shvetsov

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