In Magny-Cours, the two races on Saturday gave rise to an intense show, with constant overtaking. Macéo Capietto was the winner of a magnificent battle, before Esteban Masson took his revenge in Race 2.
Organised as part of the GT World Challenge Europe, the second round of the French F4 Championship kept all of its promises. The ranking changed regularly during the first two races, confirming the quality of the field for the 2021 vintage within the competition managed by the FFSA Academy. Although Esteban Masson remains a formidable contender for the title, the gaps are very tight in the field and the Championship is definitely undecided.
Race 1: Macéo Capietto opens his score
Saturday morning, the first race of the meeting started with a dominant Esteban Masson. After a perfect start, the Frenchman took advantage of the first laps to open up a gap that could have been decisive. But a technical problem with his car forced him to reduce his pace. After a breathtaking duel with the Australian Hugh Barter at the beginning of the race, Macéo Capietto suddenly had a glimpse of victory. “When I saw that I could keep Barter behind me, I started to adopt a slower pace to save tyres for the next two races,” admitted Macéo. “But when I saw that Esteban was in trouble, I started to believe in my chances of winning. It wasn’t easy, because I had Hugh Barter and Daniel Ligier right behind me, we were four abreast at the Adelaide breaking point, but I managed to take the lead!“
Macéo was then able to take his first victory in a single-seater ahead of Barter and Ligier, who was happy to be on the podium after a start in 7th position. Masson saved his 4th place at the last moment against Dario Cabanelas. The Swiss driver won his first Junior race where he also made a good comeback, as he was only 10th on the starting grid. The Juniors also showed great potential, with Alessandro Giusti and Enzo Geraci finishing 6th and 8th respectively, while Gaël Julien managed to get in between the two. Owen Tangavelou and Aiden Neate had to retire, although some good positions had been within reach.
Race 2: Esteban Masson takes his revenge
The reversed grid for the top 10 of Race 1 reshuffled the cards for the second confrontation of the weekend, especially as penalties imposed on Pierre-Alexandre Provost and the Polish driver Adam Szydlowski finally put Noah Andy and Enzo Geraci on the front row. Andy didn’t hesitate when the lights went out and quickly took a substantial lead in the first laps. But an incident involving Szydlowski, who was decidedly unlucky, led to the safety car coming out. On the restart, Andy found himself under pressure from Esteban Masson, who had started the race in 7th place. After an unstoppable pass, he was able to take the lead.
“After the disillusionment of the morning, I really wanted to score big points in Race 2, especially as I knew that my level of performance would allow me to move up,” said Esteban. “I managed to overtake several cars on the first lap, which allowed me to get into the slipstream of the frontrunners when the safety car episode occurred.” Once the race started again, Masson soon took the lead and logically won with, once again, the fastest lap in the race.
Noah Andy, who drove a clean race, secured his first ever F4 podium in his second year in the discipline. The top three was completed by Australian Hugh Barter after a magnificent overtake of Daniel Ligier at the very end of the race. Swiss driver Dario Cabanelas took his second consecutive victory in the Junior category, this time ahead of Enzo Geraci who kept a small lead over Alessandro Giusti. Gaël Julien scored the points for 6th place.
Continuation of the programme at Magny-Cours: Race 3, Sunday 9th May from 10.40 to 11.10
Race 1 ranking
1 Macéo Capietto (France) with 13 laps
2 Hugh Barter (Australia) at 0″519
3 Daniel Ligier (France) at 1″082
4 Esteban Masson (France) at 7″983
5 Dario Cabanelas (Switzerland) at 8″238, 1st Junior
6 Alessandro Giusti (France) at 8″938, 2nd Junior
7 Gaël Julien (France) at 9″462
8 Enzo Geraci (France) at 29″896, 3rd Junior
9 Noah Andy (France) at 33″229
10 Pierre-Alexandre Provost (France) at 35″358, 4th Junior
11 Vignesh Kadarabad (India) at 50″190
12 Adam Szydlowski (Poland) at 50″499
13 Angélina Favario (France) at 1’07″785
14 Owen Tangavelou (France) at 5 laps
15 Aiden Neate (UK) at 5 laps, 5th Junior
Fastest lap: Esteban Masson in 1’39″960 (avg. 158,8 km/h)
Race 2 ranking
1 Esteban Masson (France) with 12 laps
2 Noah Andy (France) at 3″368
3 Hugh Barter (Australia) at 5″992
4 Daniel Ligier (France) at 6″399
5 Dario Cabanelas (Switzerland) at 7″306, 1st Junior
6 Gaël Julien (France) at 11″136
7 Enzo Geraci (France) at 16″240, 2nd Junior
8 Alessandro Giusti (France) at 16″785, 3rd Junior
9 Aiden Neate (United Kingdom) at 17″509, 4th Junior
10 Owen Tangavelou (France) at 19″382
11 Angélina Favario (France) at 32″923
12 Pierre-Alexandre Provost (France) at 47″170, 5th Junior
13 Macéo Capietto (France) at 50″182
14 Vignesh Kadarabad (India) at 58″631
15 Adam Szydlowski (Poland) at 11 laps
Fastest lap: Esteban Masson in 1’40″178 (average speed 158,5 km/h)