At Magny-Cours, the French F4 Championship produced two races of great intensity, with multiple twists. Starting from pole position, Caio Collet dominated Race 1 on Saturday morning in front of Théo Pourchaire, dominant in Juniors. In the afternoon, Arthur Leclerc took his second victory of the season after a great attacking run. It is essential for Collet’s direct opponents in the FFSA Academy Championship to react in Sunday’s Race 3, if they don’t want to let the Brazilian get a hand on the title.
As part of the famous GT FFSA series, the French F4 Championship contributed in large part to the show on Saturday at the Magny-Cours circuit. In Race 1, poleman Caio Collet quickly found himself under pressure from Ugo De Wilde, Theo Pourchaire and Adam Eteki, his main rivals in the title race. But the Brazilian has widened the gap. “I was very happy with the pace I managed to maintain in the race. I was getting faster and faster over the laps. I had worked in this direction in testing and it paid off,” commented Collet. The Brazilian was on point with the fastest lap in the race.
Pourchaire assures points behind Collet
Only Théo Pourchaire, ranked 2nd, was able to maintain a reasonable gap, after his duel with Ugo De Wilde came to a halt following the latter’s retirement. Behind that, Ulysse De Pauw had lost several places in the clashes of the opening laps, while Arthur Leclerc was trying to make up for lost time following some problems during Qualifying. Starting 10th, Monegasque was 4th behind a consistent Adam Eteki, who achieved a new podium. The German Esteban Muth completed the top five, having observed the superb return of Ulysse De Pauw, ranked 6th with two Juniors in his wheel-tracks: O’Neill Muth and Reshad De Gerus.
Charles Leclerc hands Arthur the cup
As prescribed by the regulations, the top 10 reversed their positions for Race 2. Therefore Matéo Herrero was in pole position in front of Sacha Lehman. The latter completely missed his start and dropped quickly down the hierarchy. Herrero completed the first lap with Reshad De Gerus close behind. Théo Pourchaire returned to the pits and retired following a mechanical problem. After starting very well, Arthur Leclerc took the lead of the chasing pack ahead of Adam Eteki, Ulysse De Pauw and Esteban Muth. Caio Collet crept up to emerge in 7th place after a gain of three places. On the third lap, Shihab Al Habsi, Baptiste Moulin and Romain Boeckler had to retire following a collision, which resulted in a safety car period.
After the restart of the already very lively race, overtaking resumed more intensely than ever. By being insistent behind Herrero, De Gerus ended up finding the opening. Leclerc imitated him in his turn and chased the leader, passing on the last lap!
“It was a great race. It’s a shame to miss out in Qualifying, because I was very fast in Race 1, going from 10th to 4th place. Race 2 has been a difficult race since my 7th position on the grid. But I had a great start and I gave everything to catch De Gerus at the end of the race and pass him just before the finish. On the podium, it was great to receive the cup from my brother Charles,” said Arthur. Reshad De Gerus consoled himself with the victory in Junior and Ulysse De Pauw crossed the finish line in 3rd position. With another fastest lap to his credit, Caio Collet made a good run in the Championship by returning to 4th ahead of his Belgian rival De Wilde, who made a brilliant gain of 10 places. In difficulty during the restart, Adam Eteki was satisfied with the 8th position behind the two drivers from the front row, Herrero and Lehman.
The College of Stewards imposed a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on Ulysse De Pauw, who will have to start from last place in Sunday’s Race 3.
Schedule for Race 3: Sunday, September 9th at 10:55