F.Regional: Floersch recovers, then ends 10th after penalty
Following a stunning start in Monza's second race, Sophia Floersch reached the top-5, but was later demoted to 10th after a penalty.
The inaugural season of the FIA Formula Regional European Championship has reached its final day of the season: under more menacing clouds and scattered showers, the second race of the weekend started in very damp conditions for the 13 cars on the grid.
Weekend dominator Igor Fraga had a good getaway, just like Sophia Floersch, who sprinted past Estner and Schumacher. She went slightly deep into the first chicane, but gave the positions back to the Premas ahead and settled in 5th after the first lap. Newcomer Andreas Estner cut the first chicane and rejoined in sixth.
Mexican Raul Guzman, author of a very competitive weekend so far, moved up to second, while David Schumacher and Tom Beckhauser had the worst of the starts and ended up at the back of the field.
Floersch overtook Caldwell at the second chicane and, one lap later, the Brit left the door open at Parabolica for Nico Kari to dive in, as he took 6th away from the Prema driver. Meanwhile, race leader Fraga had already opened a small gap from his teammate and the rest of the pack. In clear air and with better visibility, the Brazilian lapped consistently faster than his opponents, signing fastest lap after fastest lap.
After the first laps, Floersch slightly slipped back and Nico Kari got dangerously close. The young German lady started to drive on defensive mode, allowing the Vesti and Fittipaldi to gain some more space. On the fifth lap, Kari ultimately passed Floersch for 5th under braking at the first chicane.
The race entered its second half with Guzman coming under pressure of Frederik Vesti and Enzo Fittipaldi, but the DR Formula driver always managed to defend his runner-up position. The early-crowned Formula Regional champion Vesti attempted several moves at Parabolica and at turn one, but the Dane also had to watch his mirrors from the attacks of his teammate Fittipaldi.
This battle benefitted Fraga, who executed a perfect race with always increasing advantage.
Andreas Estner quickly caught Floersch, whose race pace had dropped in the second half of the race. With ten minutes left on the clock, the former FIA Formula 3 driver made a move stick on Sophia for 6th.
Soon after, the lady from Munich appeared to be under the steward's scrutiny: no official communication was released to the team, but replays showed Floersch cutting the Roggia chicane and rejoining, going around the bollard without gaining positions.
A controversial five seconds penalty was indeed confirmed with 7 minutes to go, and the 18-year old girl found herself defending from the comeback of Caldwell and Schumacher.
In the closing minutes, Fittipaldi tried to strip his Danish teammate of the last podium position, but Vesti defended well.
After 16 laps, Igor Fraga crossed the line for his second win of the weekend. With his masterful drive under the rain, he accumulated a 13-seconds advantage over his DR Formula teammate Raul Guzman, who took second, ahead of Frederik Vesti and Enzo Fittipaldi. Nico Kari rounded out the top-5, while Sophia Floersch crossed the line in 7th, gaining one place from her starting position. Unfortunately, the penalty demoted her to 10th, behind Schumacher, Caldwell and Lappalainan.
US Racing David Schumacher managed in fact to overtake Olli Caldwell on the outside of Parabolica.
Swiss Sharon Scolari completed the race in P13. In extremely tricky track conditions, Sharon struggled for grip and drove cautiously, error-free. With no prior testing, Scolari's final seasonal round has been made extra-difficult from the lack of track time in rainy conditions on Friday.
The final race of the 2019 Formula Regional European Championship season at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza will get underway today at 15:30 CET.
Ph credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com