Spanish F4 Season Opener at Portimao | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Spanish F4 Season Opener at Portimao

  • gb
02.05.22

In Spanish Formula 4, Hugh Barter managed to win the opening race of the season in Portimao after a frantic fight.

During Sunday’s races, it was two different drivers who claimed their first win of the season: Tasanapol Inthrapuvasak after a bumpy race & Nikola Tsolov after a dominant race from start to finish.

HUGH BARTER GETS THE FIRST WIN OF THE 2022 SEASON

The Australian driver managed to take all 25 points after a frantic fight in which up to four drivers fought for the first victory of the season.

The 2022 Spanish Formula 4 Championship season couldn't have started in a better way at Portimao, with a great race from start to finish in which the battle for the win went down to the last lap and, on this occasion, went to Australian Hugh Barter (Campos Racing).

The race had not even started and we already had the first penalty of the season: Bruno Del Pino, who qualified P10, started last for overtaking during the yellow flag period. The Drivex driver made a great comeback to finish his debut in F4 in fifteenth position.

Concerns were also raised at Campos, when Poleman Nikola Tsolov stalled his car at the start. He managed to start, but was already at the back of the pack. Nevertheless, he finished the race in fourteenth position with a good comeback, showing the great pace he had demonstrated both in practice and in the first qualifying of the year.

Up front, apart from Tsolov's mistake, everything was going normally. Hugh Barter, who started in third position, took the lead of the race, followed by Timoteusz Kucharczyk and Valerio Rinicella. The Australian, the Polish driver and the Italian gradually managed to open up a huge gap on their rivals, setting a race pace of 1:46 high.

Behind, most of the MP team held fourth, fifth and sixth positions, with Miron Pingasov, Tasanapol Inthrapuvasak and Suleiman Zanfari.

It wasn't until lap 8 that Kucharkzyk would try the overtake on Barter. He set it up on the finishing straight, to do it on the outside of turn 3. Undoubtedly the best overtake of the race, but it only lasted a few metres, as Barter regained the lead at turn 5. Meanwhile, Rinicella did not lose any ground and remained in third position, waiting for any possible mistake.

On lap 9 the race reached one of the most tense moments of the day: Kucharkzyk and Barter were in a very close battle which ended with a slight touch between the two, which did not prevent them from continuing in the race but caused the Campos driver to lose the position to the two MP Motorsport drivers.

Rinicella's joy was short-lived, as at the finish line, Barter overtook him again and his teammate Inthrapuvasak took the opportunity to overtake him as well. On that lap, the Italian driver had to pit and lost any chance of victory.

Kucharkzyk, Barter and Inthrapuvasak were left in the fight for the win with 7 minutes (+ 1 lap) to go. It looked like the Polish driver's almost two second gap would be enough to win, but Barter didn't give up, and on lap 13 he took the lead.

Kucharkzyk's tyres gave up, and Inthrapuvasak took advantage of this to tie up second place after his rival and team-mate over-braked at turn 5.

Thus, Barter would get his first victory in the Spanish Formula 4 Championship with Inthrapuvasak second and Kucharkzyk third as the best rookie of the race. Pingasov finished fourth and a great Gael Julien, who started from twelfth position, closed the top-5 of a race in which the fastest lap was for Nikola Tsolov.

TASANAPOL INTHRAPUVASAK AND NIKOLA TSOLOV SHARE SUNDAY'S VICTORIES IN PORTIMAO

The Thai driver dominated from start to finish in Sunday's feature race, while Nikola Tsolov managed to take the 15 points from a very eventful sprint race.

The first weekend of racing in the 2022 Formula 4 Championship came to an end. Portimao witnessed an exciting start to the championship, with 3 different drivers claiming victory.

Sunday was marked by a change to the usual format of the championship to adapt the schedules of the other competitions present at the Portuguese track and race 3 (25 minutes + 1 lap) was run in the morning while race 2 (18 minutes + 1 lap) was the closing race of the weekend.

After a qualifying 2 in which up to 28 drivers were within 1 second of each other and from which Tasanapol Inthrapuvasak came out with pole position, the Thai driver did not miss his chance.

After an uneventful start, 'Tern' dominated every lap of the race. At the start, Hugh Barter, Filip Jenic & Timoteusz Kucharzcyk tried to keep up with him, but the MP driver was solid throughout and did not give up the lead until the chequered flag. The first podium of the day was completed by Jenic (2nd) & Kucharczyk (3rd), who took the chequered flag in second place but was penalised 2 seconds for track limits.

The third race of the weekend was, however, a very eventful one. Coincidentally, it was the shortest race of the weekend, so the on-track action was reduced considerably. Nikola Tsolov started on pole and, although he didn't have the problems of Saturday, Timoteusz Kucharczyk got off to a good start and went through the first corner ahead of the Campos driver.

Tsolov did not give up and at the end of the straight he managed to get back into the lead, a position he would not relinquish for the rest of the race. Behind, Jef Machiels and Jorge Campos touched and both were out of the race, causing a long Safety Car period.

With 5:30 to go, the race was restarted, but a new incident on the same lap between Gael Julien and Vladislav Ryabov at turn 13, caused the safety car to appear again. It looked like the race was going to end under Safety Car, but there was time for a final lap in which Suleiman Zanfari took third place from Hugh Barter to score his first podium in the Spanish F4 Championship.

It is also worth mentioning Daniel Nogales' first point in F4 with Teo Martín Motorsport and Monlau Motorsport's first points in its debut in the category with Robert de Haan.

With these results added to those of Saturday, Tasanapol Inthrapuvasak leaves as leader (51 points), followed by Hugh Barter (45 points) and Timoteusz Kucharczyk (42 points), who leaves Portimao as the only driver to finish on the podium in the 3 races of the weekend and as leader among the rookies. In the team standings, MP Motorsport starts the title defence with 91 points ahead of Campos Racing (71).

The next round of the Spanish Formula 4 Championship will take place at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto on 28-29 May.