F4 Italy: Maya Weug ends P8 after massive accident in Misano Race 3
Maya Weug continues to impress in Italian F4, as one of the brightest female talents in single-seaters clinched a P11 and a P8 on Sunday, as both the ladies of the championship emerged unhurt from a massive accident that brought out the red flag in Misano Race 3.
With another charging race 2, Blokhina had again gained 8 positions to finish close to the Top-20.
Saturday at Misano was a really remarkable day for both the female drivers of Italian F4: Ferrari Driver Academy member Maya Weug – who had just turned 18 a few days before – was seventh at the chequered flag from ninth on the grid in Race 1, with a outstanding pass on Marcus Amand in the closing stages.
Series rookie Victoria Blokhina, 16, is contesting her first season in single-seaters and at the Imola season opener, the PHM racer was already in the top-20. At Misano, Blokhina was back in the top-20 for the second time with a P17 from 27th on the grid, in a uber-competitive 36-car field.
Blokhina’s charging race was then repeated in Race 2, when she started from P30 and moved up the grid with good pace.
After a really strong qualifying on Saturday morning, Weug lined up in P7 in Race 2, which gave her another opportunity to score important points.
Andrea Kimi Antonelli was on pole position once again, in an all-Prema lock-out that also saw Wurz, Wharton Camara and Laursen in the front rows.
Charlie Wurz had the better start and took the lead into Turn 1, followed by Antonelli. Maya Weug had a great launch off the line but then got stuck in the battles at the first corner and lost a few places, also after going wide into Turn 8 as she tried to pass Marcus Amand around the outside.
The first couple of laps were really chaotic, with a few contacts in the second half of the pack. Ried had to pit for a new front wing, and Karlsson spun after contact with Blokhina.
Victoria, in fact, had another good start and was already recovering positions; on lap 3, she had already moved up to P25.
Maya Weug struggled a bit in the opening stages and lost tenth place to Iron Lynx teammate Domingues, but soon caught up with Barnard and battled with the Briton. In doing so, she also had to watch her mirrors from Kacper Sztuka. The Polish driver got ahead of both his rivals, but Weug was then able to make an opportunistic move on Barnard to regain P11.
Similarly, Blokhina continued her charge: she first closed the gap on a group of cars ahead, then passed Perino for P21.
With two minutes to go, Antonelli enjoyed a 5 second margin over teammate Wurz and led a Prema 1-2-3-4 in dominant style.
Maya Weug completed Race 2 in P11, showing good pace nonetheless in the final stages.
With another amazing recovery, Blokhina was P21 across the finish line, gaining 9 positions from her starting place. Unfortunately, she received a 10 second penalty for the contact, which demoted her to a still very positive P23.
The third and final race of the Misano weekend rounded out the ACI Racing Weekend in the seaside town of Romagna. Prema Powerteam was once again dominating the front rows, with Antonelli lining up alongside Camara, Wurz and Wharton. Dunne – who had lost the championship lead after an ill-fated second race – was the first of the non-Prema cars in fifth and preceded Amand and Weug on the starting grid.
Antonelli led Camara in a clean start by the whole pack, as the front-runners held positions. Maya Weug had another strong start and immediately attempted to pass Amand. Starting from P25 – her best starting position throughout the whole weekend – Victoria Blokhina had contact on the first lap and returned to the pits with a puncture. Sperandio was also back in the pits for a front wing change, and both rejoined one lap down.
Dunne and Amand both cleared Wharton, as Maya Weug also closed in. Under pressure, Amand went off at Turn 14, allowing past several drivers. All these drivers, though, had to defend from the fast charging Nikita Bedrin, who had saved a set of new tyres for Race 3. The PHM Racing driver moved ahead of Weug and Wharton – but when Maya seemed able to come home once again in seventh place, the Safety Car interrupted the action with 7 minutes to go, when Castro and Hwarang made contact and ended up in the gravel.
The restart was as hectic as it could be: Camara took the lead from Antonelli and Dunne and Bedrin were also in the mix. Maya Weug looked strong as well, but a series of contacts resulted in chaos: Bedrin and Wurz collided and the Austrian went into the gravel; Weug also lost her front wing but decided to continue and fought incredibly hard, keeping the position for almost an entire lap.
Dunne was up to second before also ending up dropping behind Amand, Sztuka, Laursen and Stenshorne.
While in a heroic eighth place, Maya Weug was hit again and, with front suspension damage, her car steered across the track into the incoming traffic. She was collected by the innocent Victoria Blokhina, who had continued to make great progress from one lap down and was lapping in P30.
The impact was terrifying and the race was immediately red flagged. From some heavily damaged cars, Weug and Blokhina emerged under their own power, unhurt.
The red flag takes the results back to one lap earlier – meaning that Rafael Camara takes the win ahead of Antonelli and Amand.
Maya Weug was therefore classified in eighth place and, despite the scary impact, she comes home with 4 more important points. She now sits 12th in the standings, with 19 points on her tally.
Victoria Blokhina had an unfortunate end of the weekend, but she has once again shown pace to battle in the midfield in one of the most competitive junior feeder series.
Italian Formula 4 will return to the track at Spa Francorchamps, for the third round of the championship in two weeks’ time.