F3 Regional: Jamie Chadwick 9th in rain-affected Mugello first race
In a very wet Formula Regional European Championship first race at Mugello, Jamie Chadwick ended a tough day with a ninth place finish that leaves her disappointed. With two more races to go on Sunday, she looks forward to bounce back tomorrow.
While the two practice sessions were contested on a overcast but dry weather, Saturday at Mugello has proved extra-challenging for its rainy conditions.
British racing star Jamie Chadwick started ninth in the Formula Regional European Championship first race of the weekend after enduring a tough day at the Italian circuit: the Prema driver struggled for pace in the very tricky mixed conditions and couldn’t unfortunately repeat the performances shown in some of her previous rounds so far.
Due to the falling rain, the first race started behind the Safety Car, with Gillian Henrion leaving an empty grid slot just behind Chadwick.
Prema driver Oliver Rasmussen, after clinching an impressive pole position on Saturday morning, led the field behind the Safety Car, preceding Juri Vips and Konsta Lappalainen.
The green flag was finally waved on the third lap, and Arthur Leclerc, starting from fourth, immediately showed speed and attacked KIC Motorsport’s Lappalainen. The Monegasque driver then chased the leading duo, with Vips being held up by poleman Rasmussen. Leclerc, taking advantage from a half-move by Vips, quickly jumped ahead of the Estonian and started to put pressure on his Danish teammate. While Vips managed to remain in close proximity to the leaders, Lappalainen dropped back and fell into the clutches of the recovering Gianluca Petecof and Pierre-Louis Chovet.
Jamie Chadwick had a very clean race: despite losing track time to Famularo and not being able to keep up with the frontrunner’s pace, she never made any mistakes and held P9 throughout the race.
Ahead, the two Prema drivers left behind the competition: Leclerc attacked Rasmussen at Casanova corner - the two almost made contact but, after a masterful switch-back maneuvre, he could ultimately take the lead in yet another brilliant pass for position.
As soon as Leclerc could move ahead of Rasmussen, the Ferrari-supported driver quickly opened a huge gap behind him, leaving the Dane again in Vips’ sight.
The brother of the Ferrari F1 driver, though, was soon revealed to be under the stewards’ scrutiny for his overtaking move, as Andrea Cola had gone off into the gravel at Turn 8 and brought out a yellow flag just ahead of the battling Premas.
But, when Leclerc was deemed guilty of passing under yellow was and handed a 10-second time penalty, he had already accumulated enough margin to incredibly remain into the lead and lapped almost three seconds per lap faster than his struggling teammate.
In the third Prema, Petecof increased his pressure on Lappalainen and overtook the Finnish racer after a few laps of hard battles for fourth position. Chovet also tried to sneak ahead and, with approximately 10 minutes left on the clock, the KIC and Van Amersfoort drivers engaged in another exciting fight. Chovet moved out of Lappalainen’s slipestream on the long main straight but was initially denied the position, only to switch back again at Turn 2 and 3 and finally claiming fourth place.
Red Bull junior driver Juri Vips closed in again on Rasmussen and re-ignited the all-Scandinavian duel for second place.
In a similar move to Chovet’s, Vips passed Rasmussen and moved up to the runner-up place, while also Petecof had annihilated his gap to the Dane, who had no traction.
Emidio Pesce spun out on the last corner and beached his Tatuus T-318 on lap 10.
Taking advantage of Rasmussen’s struggling pace, Leclerc could continue his solitary run ahead and grew his advantage by over 20 seconds, in a seriously impressive run for the win.
In the midfield, Famularo passed Pasma and Lappalainen, with Jamie Chadwick always in ninth place.
After 14 laps around the Mugello circuit, Arthur Leclerc crossed the finish line with a 20.2 second gap from the closest pursuer, thus claiming a dominant victory in the first race of the weekend. Vips was second, as Rasmussen could hold off Petecof to finish third. Van Amersfoort’s Chovet rounded out the top 5 and preceded his teammate Famularo, at his second round in the series.
Jamie Chadwick was ninth across the line after a tough Race 1.
“Pretty terrible weekend so far” - she commented on Saturday afternoon.
“Not great race, obviously mixed conditions, not easy. The first race was very tough, I don’t know what went wrong for us but we really struggled."
"A lot to work on, but hopefully we can have a more positive day tomorrow.”
Formula Regional European Championship will be back on track tomorrow for the final two races of the Mugello weekend, with Race 2 going live at 10:45 CEST.