The poleman Ugo De Wilde fulfilled his mission perfectly by winning the first race of the fourth meeting of the French F4 Championship in late afternoon Saturday on the Dijon-Prenois track. While the heat was still significant, tyre management remained a concern for all drivers. Adam Eteki recovered his 2nd position at the end of the race thanks to his pass on Pierre-Louis Chovet. There was a beautiful performance from Théo Pourchaire, the top Junior, who finished in front of Caio Collet. Although the race was not exciting in terms of the amount of overtaking, the drivers’ work was no less remarkable. On the abrasive surface of the circuit of Dijon and still in very high temperatures, they had to combine performance and tyre management to address the next meeting in the best conditions.
The Belgian Ugo De Wilde was formidable at this game.”I absolutely had to use my pole position to take a major Championship win,” he explained. “So I attacked as soon as the lights went out to give me a small lead, which allowed me to manage the pressure from my rivals“.
Still, it was not obvious in the early laps. Pierre-Louis Chovet had indeed immediately overtaken Adam Eteki to stay in the wake of the leader. The performances could sometimes vary according to the sectors, but the difference between the two was maintained around 6 to 7 tenths, which is little compared to the slipstream phenomena. Meanwhile, Eteki was making the most of his car to get back to the frontmen. While Chovet was expected to score over De Wilde, it was Eteki who made the situation change by overtaking his compatriot three laps from the finish. De Wilde took the opportunity to take off and win more than a second ahead of Eteki, while Chovet was satisfied with 3rd position by a few lengths. The battle was also very close for the places of honour. Immediately on the pace, Théo Pourchaire (FRA) overtook Caio Collet (BRA) on the first lap to gain 4th place. The Brazilian tried to get closer on several occasions, and scored the fastest lap in the race, but nothing helped. After Eteki’s manoeuvre on Chovet, Pourchaire and Collet joined them, but preferred to secure their positions in the top five.
Further back, Ulysse De Pauw (BEL) was not worried in 6th position, at a distance from Arthur Leclerc (MON), while Esteban Muh (DEU) managed to take 8th place at the expense of Theo Nouet (FRA) on the penultimate lap. Shihab Al Habsi (OMN) drove an intelligent race in 10th position, resisting the threat of Matéo Herrero (FRA). Pole position for the start of Race 2 was in play because of the reverse grid procedure for the top 10. Al Habsi will share the front row with Nouet on Sunday morning.
Sunday, 15th July
Race 2 from 10:25 to 10:50
Race 3 from 16:35 to 17:00.