Aurelia Nobels shows potential on Euro 4 Championship debut
"It was a very good preparation for the next race of the Italian Championship" - with a strong race 3, Aurelia Nobels got to show her potential in a hard-fought Euro 4 Championship season opener at Mugello.
Ferrari Academy driver Aurelia Nobels displayed her potential following a hard-fought Euro 4 Championship season opener at Mugello. A best result of 19th across the three races did not reflect the speed the Prema Racing driver showed, with Nobels enjoying a number of close battles throughout the weekend. Her quickest lap in race three was within a second of the fastest lap of the race, highlighting the progress Aurelia made across the weekend.
This weekend marked the debut of the new Euro 4 Championship, organised by ACI Sport and run in conjunction with the Italian F4 Championship providing drivers with three further rounds in order to hone their skills in a separate series. The format follows that of the Italian F4 Championship with a pair of qualifying sessions, followed by three 30 minute races of close competition.
Friday brought two forty-minute free practice sessions for the Prema Racing driver to gain familiarisation with the challenging Mugello circuit. Aurelia ended session one in 24th before improving her time in the second session to finish 18th fastest. This progress brought encouragement ahead of qualifying with Nobels aiming to push further towards the front.
Qualifying one was disrupted by a late red flag which halted the progress of Nobels in the closing stages, finishing the session in 24th. Nonetheless, she was determined to improve in the second session and did just that to qualify in 20th, setting a time which was nine tenths of a second quicker than her previous fastest lap of the day.
Aiming to make progress in race one, Aurelia made a clean start and began to make inroads on the drivers ahead, passing Davide Larini on lap three to move into 23rd, before gaining a further position a lap later. Nobels’ pace was encouraging as she set about chasing Tina Hausmann to become the leading ladies trophy driver, making the move on the AKM Motorsport driver on lap eight.
As the race passed halfway, Aurelia continued to gain on the drivers ahead and moved inside the top-20 on lap 10. Gaining one more position a lap later, the Prema Racing driver was then engaged in a brilliant three-way battle with Pablo Sarrazin and Matteo Quintarelli, a fight which continued into the closing stages. Crossing the line in 19th, it was a successful opening race in the Euro 4 Championship for Aurelia who gained valuable experience while progressing nicely through the field and collecting the ladies trophy prize.
Lining up 20th for race two, Aurelia made a brilliant start and gained five positions on the opening lap to move into 15th. After losing out to Griffin Peebles on lap three, Nobels was engaged a close battle in the following laps which led to her pitting for a new front wing on lap five. This dropped the Prema Racing driver to 24th, but she remained on the lead lap and her pace was strong in clean air as she hoped for a safety car period in order to catch the field. Although it was a lonely second half of the race, Aurelia gained valuable experience dealing with high track temperatures and was able to gain two positions in the closing stages to finish the second race in 22nd position.
Aurelia’s pace was encouraging during the opening two races and she was looking to make progress from 20th in race three. Once again making a clean start, Nobels gained positions on the opening two laps to move into 18th. Closing in on Pablo Sarrazin for 17th, the Prema Racing driver made a nice move to gain the position on Sarrazin before passing Raphael Narac for 16th on lap eight.
After an off-track moment while fighting for position, Aurelia fell back to 23rd but knew her pace was strong to regain lost time. Once again charging hard in the closing stages, Aurelia moved back inside the top-20 and missed out on 19th by less than one hundredth of a second in a thrilling finish with Matteo Quintarelli. Nobels’ fastest lap in the closing stages was also within one second of the quickest overall, further underlining her potential.
Despite not achieving the results she deserved across the weekend, Aurelia should be encouraged by her progress across the weekend. Making up six positions across the opening laps of the three races combined should be a further positive and will serve her well in the upcoming races.
"It was a very good preparation for the next race of the Italian Championship", Aurelia said. "It was a tough weekend with a lot of learning, but the last race was really good. We had a positive start and I was catching the drivers ahead of me so the pace was great."
"Unfortunately, I made a little mistake in the last corner, I went a little bit on the gravel and lost the car. However, we made great improvements during the weekend and I'm happy about it. Now we will focus on the next race."
Her race pace in the final race at Mugello was particularly strong and she will be looking to take this forward into her next scheduled event, the fifth round of the Italian F4 Championship at Paul Ricard in less than two weeks’ time.