At the second round of the Spanish Formula 4 championship, Lola Lovinfosse and Emely de Heus continued their learning process in single-seaters and had their best weekend to date. The French driver leads the "Female Trophy" standings after Navarra.
Spanish Formula 4 returned to the track for its second round of the 2021 season at Circuit de Navarra, after contesting the season opener at the Belgian track of Spa Francorchamps exactly one month ago.
French karting sensation Lola Lovinfosse and young Dutchwoman Emely de Heus are among the rookies in the almost 30-car field, as Spanish F4 has really grown into one of the most competitive Formula 4 series in Europe.
16-year old Lovinfosse finished the Belgian round on top of the Female Trophy, with de Heus enduring some rough couple of races due unfortunate incidents. Both the ladies, having completed few laps in pre-season testing, continued their learning process.
At Navarra, championship leader Dilano Van't Hoff (MP Motorsport) started off with another pole position, followed by Daniel Maciá (Formula de Campeones) on the front row for Race 1. Lovinfosse qualified P25, just one position behind De Heus.
Maciá had a very slow start off the line and almost stalled on the grid, while the rest of the pack flew past him. The pole sitter also fell to fifth, as Enric Bordás inherited the lead of the race. Further down the field, Emely de Heus managed to gain some positions and moved up to 21st, while Lovinfosse held her starting place. In the opening stages, though, Lovinfosse found pace and gained a position - overtaking De Heus, who had dropped back after a good start.
MP Motorsport's Georg Kelstrup was right behind Bordás, but the leading duo was soon joined by Van't Hoff, who could quickly recover to third. Another driver that was surely trying to cut his way through the field after the start was Maciá: the Formula de Campeones' driver managed to complete several moves and moved into 16th position.
Even though four cars were in contention for the lead, the race was rather uneventful until one of the Campos cars spun after contact with Emely de Heus. Lovinfosse also lost places in the process.
Alejandro García and Gil Molina - two of the three Mexicans on track - also had contact and the incident was later investigated by the stewards. Both the accidents resulted in no further action taken.
Positions at the front changed again when the rain started to fall at Turn 3: Van't Hoff overtook Kelstrup for second, just as Abramczyk and Ryabov collided, bringing out a yellow flag. Formula De Campeones' Bordás secured his first victory of the season, Lola Lovinfosse finished in P20 and Emely de Heus in P22.
Race 2 was delayed due to a support series incident. When cars made it onto the grid, Bordás led teammate Maciá and Degnbol. The Safety Car, though, interrupted the action early, when an accident involved four cars, including Santiago Trisini and Alejandro Garcia who retired. Emely de Heus came out from the chaos in 19th place, while Lola Lovinfosse pitted with damage. She revealed to have hurt her hand in the accident, but still managed to continue and finished the race.
The Safety Car was back in the pits for the final five minutes of racing: championship leader Van't Hoff had a difficult restart and was fourth, while there was more trouble for Ukranian Oleksandr Partyshev, who had to pit and retire. De Heus was down to P21.
Positions remained unchanged throughout the chequered flag, with Enric Bordás taking a back-to-back victory ahead of Daniel Maciá - in a Formula de Campeones 1-2 - and Noah Degnbol in third. Van't Hoff couldn't finish higher than fourth - his worst result of the season so far and preceded Maniel Espirito-Santo (MP Motorsport), who, on the other hand, scored his best finish to date.
De Heus finished ahead of Lovinfosse and thus stepped on the podium for the Trofeo Feminino for the second time this year.
Wekend dominator Enric Bordás lined up on pole for Race 3, and led Van't Hoff off the line - the latter having a difficult start. From 25th on the grid, Lola Lovinfosse made a few passes, while Emely de Heus had issues at the start and followed the pack. She would later complete two passes as well, as the 17-year old Dutchwoman tried to make up for the lost time.
Bordás kept Van't Hoff, and Degnbol at bay and was looking confident for a third win - which would have gained him a perfect weekend.
Partyshev and Garcia made contact, and Oliveira was spun around by Ryabov - causing him to lose a few positions.
When Kelstrup stopped on the track, bringing out the yellow flag and later a Safety Car, Lola Lovinfosse had recovered to 18th place, just one position ahead of de Heus in 19th.
The race could finally resume with 3 minutes left on the clock, and Lovinfosse had a good restart, gaining one more position.
But there was more drama on the penultimate lap when the race leader Bordás dramatically slowed down and had to retire due to a technical problem - hainding Van't Hoff a surprising lead. Degnbol and Øgaard followed.
The action was then ultimately halted by a red flag, caused by the accident of Ryabov and Abramczyk: the two cars collided on the straight, blocking the track. With the red flag effectively ending the race, the result from the previous lap saw Abramczyk and Ryabov still classified in tenth and eleventh respectively.
Dilano Van't Hoff saw his championship lead extending and added a third victory to his name in 2021, followed by a MP Motorsport 1-2-3 with Degnbol and Øgaard to round out the podium finishers.
Lola Lovinfosse had a very solid race and was 17th, scoring her best result of the season so far and showing good pace improvements in the final race. She now leads Emely de Heus in the Female Trophy by 14 points after the opening six races of the season.
"After the two first rounds I am feeling a lot more comfortable in the car and I know we can still improve a lot." - commented Lovinfosse.
"In race 2, I had a crash at the strand and broke my hand. I did finish race 2 and all race 3 with the injury and in pain", she added.
"I have learned a lot this weekend and loved the track." - explained 17-year old de Heus.
"I feel like I am getting more and more close to the other guys, which is really good. I am looking forward towards the next weekend in Portimao, I am completely focusing on that now!"
The next Spanish F4 round will be held at Autodromo do Algarve, Portimao, on 16/17 July, supporting the 24H of Algarve.