Macéo Capietto and Elliott Vayron, who have been in the limelight over the last few meetings, continued their winning streak by sharing victories in the two Saturday races on the Paul Ricard circuit, in a French F4 Championship that is still very much in contention.
The FFSA Academy’s Formula 4 cars played an important role in the first day of competition at the meeting organised on the French F1 Grand Prix circuit. In Race 1, the two candidates for the title, Macéo Capietto and Esteban Masson, battled it out, suggesting that the end of the French Championship would be explosive. Especially considering the many spoilers in F4, such as Elliott Vayron, winner of Race 2. The suspense also remains in Junior between the Swiss driver Dario Cabanelas and Alessandro Giusti, who have won once each!
Macéo Capietto in full confidence
Esteban Masson started from pole position for Race 1 and made a perfect start, while Macéo Capietto quickly took the lead over Alessandro Giusti for 2nd place. The duel between the two leaders of the Championship could start. Behind them, Daniel Ligier moved up two places from the start of the race. Following a contact which caused a steering problem, Elliott Vayron found himself in difficulty and dropped back, as did Cabanelas. Noah Andy had also started well, gaining three places in the first lap, but had just been passed by Enzo Géraci, before a collision between the two drivers eliminated them for good. Pierre-Alexandre Provost was added to the list of retirement.
At the front, Capietto set the fastest lap and put Masson under pressure. On the sixth lap the positions were reversed. “I didn’t manage the Qualifying session well, but I knew I could fight for the win in Race 1, even if I started from 3rd,” said Macéo. “I came back to Esteban quite quickly and I was able to take the lead at the halfway point…” following a great battle, the winner could have added! Masson was then surprised by Daniel Ligier, but managed to regain his position with a lot of skill. Behind the leading trio, the Australian Hugh Barter made good progress from 8th to 4th place in front of Alessandro Giusti, a little bit less at ease at the end of the race but nevertheless a brilliant winner in Junior. Gaël Julien and Owen Tangavelou also made good progress, respectively by three and four places, to cross the finish line in 6th and 7th positions.
High intensity in Race 2, with Vayron leading the way
Race 2 got off to a fiery start in the magnificent grid of 19 cars, which gave us one of the best races of the season. After his two successes in Monza, Elliott Vayron managed to isolate himself in the lead, while his rivals explained themselves behind him. “I was able to hold on to 2nd place at the start and soon found myself in the slipstream of Thanapongpan Sutumno, who was starting on pole with the reverse grid system for the top 10 in Race 1. I was faster than him and managed to take the lead on the second lap, before extending the gap,” said Elliott.
Behind, no one did anyone any favours and multiple overtaking moves enlivened the race on every lap. Owen Tangavelou was first worried by Esteban Masson at the beginning of the race, then he took action and passed Cabanelas and Sutumno to take the podium again, while Daniel Ligier came back brilliantly from the 9th place he occupied in the first lap. In the F4 Junior class, Cabanelas added another success to his list of achievements. “It was important to win in the Junior class, but I’m a bit disappointed that I missed the podium on the last lap. When I passed Sutumno at the halfway point, we touched and my front wing shifted, making the car difficult to drive in the last few laps,” said Dario.
A dramatic turn of events occurred at the end of the race, with Esteban Masson giving up his 5th place by entering the pits just before the finish. He let Macéo Capietto, holder of the fastest lap in the race, recover 5th place and score very important points in the Championship. Hugh Barter was 6th ahead of Gaël Julien and a determined Noah Andy. The driver from Reunion Island came back from 17th to 8th position! Alessandro Giusti and Enzo Geraci completed the top 10, the latter having gained nine places in a group where seven drivers finished in less than a second and a half. Sutumno fell in 12th position behind Pierre-Alexandre Provost.
Continuation of the programme (Sunday 3rd October): Race 3 from 10:35 to 11:05
1 Macéo Capietto (France) with 11 laps
2 Esteban Masson (France) at 2″958
3 Daniel Ligier (France) at 3″892
4 Hugh Barter (Australia) at 4″020
5 Alessandro Giusti (France) at 4″791
6 Gaël Julien (France) at 6″610
7 Owen Tangavelou (France) at 8″264
8 Dario Cabanelas (Switzerland) at 8″731
9 Elliott Vayron (France) at 10″659
10 Thanapongpan Sutumno (Thailand) at 22″650
11 Romain Andriolo (France) at 24″914
12 Enzo Richer (France) at 34″543
13 Louis Pelet (France) at 35″059
14 Luciano Morano (USA) at 35″363
15 Paul Jerome (France) at 45″899
16 Angélina Favario (France) at 2 laps
17 Noah Andy (France) at 7 laps
18 Pierre-Alexandre Provost (France) at 8 laps
19 Enzo Geraci (France) at 8 laps
Best lap: Capietto in 2’08″751 (avg. 162,7 km/h)
Race 2 classification
1 Elliott Vayron (France) with 11 laps
2 Owen Tangavelou (France) at 10″037
3 Daniel Ligier (France) at 10″280
4 Dario Cabanelas (Switzerland) at 10″488
5 Macéo Capietto (France) at 15″504
6 Hugh Barter (Australia) at 15″789
7 Gaël Julien (France) at “15”921
8 Noah Andy (France) at 16″043
9 Alessandro Giusti (France) at 16″352
10 Enzo Geraci (France) at 16″547
11 Pierre-Alexandre Provost (France) at 16″859
12 Thanapongpan Sutumno (Thailand) at 17″837
13 Romain Andriolo (France) at 18″733
14 Louis Pelet (France) at 32″654
15 Paul Jerome (France) at 42″215
16 Luciano Morano (USA) at 47″206
17 Angélina Favario (France) at 53″529
18 Esteban Masson (France) at 1 lap
19 Enzo Richer (France) at 3 laps
Best lap: Tangavelou in 2’09″242 (avg. 162,1 km/h)