2017 F4 SMP NEZ Championship – Honours to Haapalainen and Lundgaard

Victory Shared Between Haapalainen and Lundgaard

The final day of Round 5 started with clear skies at Moscow Raceway. Friday showed Christian Lundgaard largely dominating the day, but with today’s Race 2 starting position, the series was expecting to have a new winner.

 

Qualifying 2

The day started with the second fifteen-minute session of qualifying. MP Motorsport cars were the first ones to hit the track, followed by Pujeu and Lloveras from FA Racing, the Russians from SMP Racing, the Finns from AKK Academy and ALM Motorsport’s Sten Dorian Piirimagi was the last one to leave the pits.

Lundgaard was an early leader with Michael Belov and Piirimagi on his tail. Bent Viscaal closed the gap to Lundgaard snatching P2 with a 0.7 second gap to the Dane until Nikita Volegov leaped into P1 with a 1:38.810, the first driver in the 1:38 window.

However Juuso Puhakka improved to take the lead in 1:38.644. 17 drivers out of 19 were penalised for not respecting track limits and it was finally Christian Lundgaard who again set the fastest lap making it three pole positions so far for the young Renault Sport Academy driver.

Marta Garcia set a fantastic P7 lap, while Juuso Puhakka from the Lappalainen Team took P5 after a disastrous Q1 and Haapalainen, who got a provisional pole, had his best lap deleted, which dropped the Finn to P4.

On the Championship side, Xavier Lloveras qualified in P16, while his teammate got P12 and better chances to score valuable points.

 

Race 2

As the drivers were on their outlap, heading to the grid, SMP Racing driver Nikita Volegov had a technical failure and stopped on track, forcing the Russian to retire from P2. As the lights went off, Alexander Smolyar made a clean start and kept his lead on the first lap but was soon challenged by a very fast Tuomas Haapalainen who finally led the pack. Christian Lundgaard who got a very good start, overtook Sami-Matti Trogen and came into P4, right behind teammate Bent Viscaal. In one swift move, the Dane took P3 and then set his sights on Smolyar, who could not hold out long against the Danish bullet. Lundgaard finally passed Haapalainen and pulled away.

At the back, Abdullayev, in an attempt to overtake Dunner, and crashed straight into Milen Ponomarenko, destroying his front right wheel against the SMP Racing driver’s car and retiring from the race. Juuso Puhakka, whom Ponomarenko took out in Q1, started from P18 and made his way through the field up to P9, right behind Guillem Pujeu.

Marta Garcia retired from the 18 minute (+ 1 lap) race due to mechanical issues.

At the finish flag, Lundgaard celebrated his 7th win of the season, with Haapalainen and Smolyar sharing the podium. While Lundgaard extended his lead, Alexander Smolyar is now P2 in the general classification after Race 2.

Christian Lundgaard: “I had a good start and a good pace on this race! I was just thinking to score as much points as possible as my starting position was not ideal. But during the race, I saw that I could go for the win so I pushed. I am very happy to have scored my 7th win of the season.”

Race 3

Christian Lundgaard started again from pole position for the last race of the day, and the Dane was going for a hat-trick this weekend in Moscow Raceway. However, after the fiasco in Parnu Race 3, the driver wanted to play it safe, and unfortunately did not get a great start. Tuomas Haapalainen who started P4 took advantage of the Dane being blocked by another car and fought for the lead together with Juuso Puhakka who started P5.

It was Haapalainen who finally got the upper hand in the situation and the two Finns pulled away from the pack followed by Nikita Volegov in P3.

Meanwhile Bent Viscaal had his hands full as Christian Lundgaard was attacking his MP Motorsport teammate for P4 and eventually passed Viscaal. But Viscaal was not done with the drama as Marta Garcia overtook the Dutchman as well to finish a fantastic race onto P6.

Nikita Volegov crossed the finish line in P3 but got penalized after investigation for blocking Lundgaard and finally lost one position on the final classification.

At the end of the weekend Lundgaard increased his lead in the general classification with 215 points, with Smolyar 2nd with 162 points andLloveras 3rd with 154 points. With two rounds remaining, the fight for the crown is now on.

The next round will be the penultimate one, and will be held on Moscow Raceway again together with the Russian Touring Car Championship on 18th-20th of August. Meanwhile the SMP F4 NEZ Championship will take a deserved four week break.

Tuomas Haapalainen: “Everything was sealed at the start. Lundgaard was blocked on one side, so I took my chance and it paid off. Keeping the lead during the race was fine, but at the end Puhakka started to catch me, so it was a bit more intense. I am looking forward now to the next round in Moscow Raceway.”

Qualifying 2 results

1. C. Lundgaard 1.38.133

  1. N. Volegov +0.033

  2. M. Belov +0.060

  3. T. Haapalainen +0.139

  4. J. Puhakka +0.234

  5. B. Viscaal +0.357

  6. M. Garcia +0.373

  7. A. Smolyar +0.472

  8. S. D. Piirimagi +0.538

  9. SM. Trogen +0.572

  10. L. Dunner +0.713

  11. G. Pujeu +0.810

  12. I. Berets +0.894

  13. V. Tziortzis +1.006

  14. I. Shvetsov +1.135

  15. X. Lloveras +1.286

  16. E. Niskanen +1.451

  17. G. Abdullayev +1.745

  18. M. Ponomarenko +1.915

 

Race 2 Results

1. C. Lundgaard

  1. T. Haapalainen +4.562

  2. A. Smolyar +5.604

  3. B. Viscaal +6.447

  4. SM. Trogen +8.661

  5. M. Belov +9.009

  6. X. Lloveras +9.588

  7. G. Pujeu +11.421

  8. J. Puhakka +9.796

  9. I. Berets +12.559

  10. V. Tziortzis +12.975

  11. L. Dunner +13.274

  12. S.D. Piirimagi +15.106

  13. E. Niskanen +18.212

  14. I. Shvetsov +42.794

  15. M. Ponomarenko +1:08.169

  16. M. Garcia -9laps-

 

No Classified

DNS N. Volegov

DNC G. Abdullayev

 

Race 3 Results

1. T. Haapalainen

  1. J. Puhakka +0.516

  2. C. Lundgaard +4.404

  3. N. Volegov +4.248

  4. M. Belov +5.555

  5. M. Garcia +10.572

  6. B. Viscaal +10.709

  7. A. Smolyar +10.911

  8. SM. Trogen +16.081

  9. L. Dunner +17.317

  10. I. Berets +17.813

  11. S. D. Piirimagi +19.206

  12. G. Pujeu +18.072

  13. V. Tziortzis +19.814

  14. X. Lloveras +20.770

  15. G. Abdullayev +34.066

  16. E. Niskanen +34.066

  17. I. Shvetsov +1:02.253

 

Not Classified

M. Ponomarenko

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