New season, new cars, new squad and new winners for the FFSA Academy French F4 Championship! Starting from pole position, the Belgian Ugo De Wilde controlled his opponents to win Race 1 against Adam Eteki and Caio Collet. On the circuit of Nogaro, this time bathed by the sun, Race 2 showcased the Monegasque Arthur Leclerc. The younger brother of the F1 driver Charles Leclerc won despite pressure from Théo Pourchaire, indisputably the best Junior of the day.
The difficult grip conditions on Saturday gave way to a dry track for the first two races of the French F4 Championship of 2018 contested on Easter Sunday. Even though the line was still a little wet in places, none of the leading men were caught out and they produced a first race undecided to the end, as the top three crossed the chequered flag grouped in less than a second!
At the start, the promising Ugo De Wilde fully exploited his pole position before leading the race from start to finish. “My start to the race was really good, it allowed me to build up a gap. Subsequently, I was not completely satisfied with the braking balance between the front and the back, so my opponents put a lot of pressure on me. But I managed to keep them behind me until the end. To start with the fastest time of the Qualifying session and a win, I could not wish for better.”
Adam Eteki pushes against Ugo De Wilde, 1st in Race 1
Behind the 15-year-old Belgian, the Frenchman Adam Eteki and the Brazilian Caio Collet were not intimidated by the terrain. “Halfway through, I was faster than the leader along with Collet,” Adam confirms. “On the penultimate lap, I was very close to him, but there was a yellow flag where I wanted to overtake. He closed the doors on the last lap and I preferred to make sure of significant points for the Championship.”
“Starting from 5th position, it’s a great satisfaction to get on the podium,” admitted Caio Collet. “I was fast, but the track was still a little wet in places and it was risky to attempt a pass on De Wilde and Eteki.”
Like Eteki and Collet, the Frenchman Théo Pourchaire managed to get the better of the Belgian Ulysses De Pauw, but the top three had already created a gap too big to hope to recover. Behind Théo, the top Junior in Race 1, De Pauw remained focused until the end to keep a solid pack of Pierre-Louis Chovet, Arthur Leclerc and Matéo Herrero behind him.
Muth brothers on the front row of Race 2
With the grid reversed for the top 10, the Germans O’Neill Muth and his brother Esteban had the honour of sharing the front row of Race 2. O’Neill was a little slower off the mark, leaving Esteban to take the lead of the race in front of Matéo Herrero and Arthur Leclerc. Only a few corners later, the two leaders crashed! There followed a magnificent duel between Arthur Leclerc, O’Neill Muth and Théo Pourchaire. “I was first surprised by O’Neill, but he made a small mistake and I got the lead back,” said Arthur. “Then, Theo was very pressing throughout the second half of the race. I did not give up, because I knew victory was there at the end of the effort.” Despite much less karting experience than many of his rivals, Arthur demonstrated a great strength of character.
Arthur Leclerc wins, Théo Pourchaire the top Junior
“I suffered a slight understeer, perhaps because of a somewhat exaggerated pass on a kerb, and I could not get out of the turns as well as I would have liked to attempt an attack,” confessed Theo Pourchaire, who nevertheless produced an excellent record of his performance: fastest lap in the race, first podium in F4 and the new top Junior.
3rd place was decided on the final lap when Caio Collet passed O’Neill Muth. “It was an exciting race with several overtakes to come back from 8th to 3rd place and get on the podium, like I did this morning,” commented the Brazilian, in the colours of All Road Management and Winfield since his victory in the Volant.
Behind Muth in 4th, Pierre-Louis Chovet made a solid run to keep the two Belgians Ulysse De Pauw and Ugo De Wilde behind him. After a bad start, Adam Eteki was satisfied with 8th position in front of the Omani driver Shihab Al Habsi and Théo Nouet, in a progression of nine places!
Starting grid for Race 3
Organised on Easter Monday, the last race of the meeting will start according to the order of the second best lap by each driver during the Qualifying session, with Eteki on pole position ahead of Pourchaire and De Wilde.
Race 1 Result
1 DE WILDE Ugo (BEL) with 14 laps
2 ETEKI Adam (FRA) at 0.309
3 COLLET Caio (BRE) at 0.895
4 POURCHAIRE Theo (FRA) at 3.101
5 DE PAUW Ulysse (BEL) at 15.448
6 CHOVET Pierre-Louis (FRA) at 15,974
7 LECLERC Arthur (MON) at 16.326
8 HERRERO Matéo (FRA) at 18.328
9 MUTH Esteban (DEU) at 25.483
10 MUTH O’Neill (DEU) at 29.935
11 WHITE Stuart (ZAF) at 35.469
12 AL HABSI Shihab (OMA) to 42,647
13 DE GERUS Reshad (FRA) at 44.390
14 LEHMANN Sacha (FRA) at 47,169
15 AIMABLE Gavin (FRA) at 47.354
16 MOULIN Baptiste (BEL) at 1: 29.244
17 BOECKLER Romain (FRA) at 1: 33.278
18 BERTHELOT Baptiste (FRA) at 1 lap
19 NOUET Théo (FRA) 2 laps
Best lap: Adam Eteki (FRA) in 1: 31.555 (average 142.9 km / h)
Race 2 Result
1 LECLERC Arthur (MON) with 13 laps
2 Theo THEO (FRA) at 0.308
3 COLLET Caio (BRE) at 1,748
4 MUTH O’Neill (DEU) at 2.397
5 CHOVET Pierre-Louis (FRA) for 3.085
6 DE PAUW Ulysse (BEL) at 3.286
7 DE WILDE Ugo (BEL) 0 3.587
8 ETEKI Adam (FRA) at 3,779
9 AL HABSI Shihab (OMA) at 3.960
10 NOUET Theo (FRA) at 4.337
11 DE GERUS Reshad (FRA) at 11.146
12 AIMABLE Gavin (FRA) at 15.423
13 BOECKLER Romain (FRA) at 26,815
14 MOULIN Baptiste (BEL) at 27.251
15 BERTHELOT Baptiste (FRA) at 34,263
16 LEHMANN Sacha (FRA) at 3 turns
17 WHITE Stuart (ZAF) at 8 laps
18 MUTH Esteban (DEU) at 13 laps
19 HERRERO Matéo (FRA) at 13 laps
Best lap: Theo Pourchaire in 1: 32.131 (average 142.0 km / h)