F4 Italy: Maya Weug recovers 10 places in Austrian Race 2
Updated: Sep 13
Iron Dames' Maya Weug had a remarkable second race in Italian F4 at Red Bull Ring, where she gained 10 positions from the starting grid to finish 14th overall and P6 among the rookies.
The second race of the Austrian round - fifth meeting of the Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth - was contested on Sunday morning, in sunny conditions. Following a remarkable second qualifying session on Saturday, Leonardo Fornaroli (Iron Lynx) scored pole position, ahead of Tim Tramnitz (US Racing), Joshua Dufek (VAR) and Sebastian Montoya (Prema Powerteam). Emirati young racing talent Hamda Al Qubaisi had a positive first race on Saturday, where she made up positions after a difficult Q1 and fought her way up to P19 despite a big tyre flatspot that made her life difficult on the fast straights of the Red Bull Ring. Maya Weug (Iron Lynx) also had challenging qualifying sessions, but managed to cross the finish line in P17, gaining three positions from the starting grid. Weug had good pace in the first race, but most of the drivers struggled to follow the cars in front while in close battles. At the start of Race 2, Fornaroli had a good getaway but the Italian racer soon lost the first place to Tim Tramnitz, who then never looked under threat from the return of the #72 Iron Lynx Tatuus. Third placed on the grid, Joshua Dufek had his chances quickly ruined by a turn 1 contact that left him without front wing; there was trouble also for Montoya, also likely involved in the contact as he limped back to the pits with a puncture before retiring. Tramnitz preceded Fornaroli, Bearman, Braschi and Wurz in the opening lap, with Hamda Al Qubaisi gaining one position and slotting into 17th. She would quickly move into 15th place, as also Maya Weug was making progress and moved into P21 from P24 on the grid. Lorenzo Patrese was off in the gravel at the tricky Turn 4, but rejoined having lost a few positions. Nikita Bedrin advanced into fourth and started to put pressure on his VAR's teammate and championship leader Oliver Bearman: the two collided on the straight heading to Turn 3, with the Russian having the worst out of it and having to retire. In a lucky escape, Bearman didn't pick up damage and continued. Al Qubaisi and Weug were consistently climbing the field: just one position ahead of the Ferrari Driver Academy racer, Hamda was having another solid race in P17 when she was hit by another driver and went off in the gravel with a puncture, triggering the first Safety Car of the day. Unfortunately, that was the end of Al Qubaisi's second race.
"In race 2, we had a good pace and I was able to run in the top-15, but I got hit by another driver and got a puncture so I couldn't finish." - said Hamda.
At the restart, which came with 12 minutes left on the clock, Maya Weug had moved into 14th position after a stunning recovery. But the action wasn't long-lived, as a tangle at Turn 4 saw Garciarce, Markogiannis and Cenyu Han making contact and bringing out another Safety Car. Only the VAR driver could continue. Meanwhile, Eron Rexhepi had also retired after returning to the pits with front wing damage in an unrelated incident. The green flag waved again with 4 minutes to go: Tramnitz had a great restart and wasn't challenged by Fornaroli, as many cars went wide into the tarmac runoffs. Antonelli - making his single seater debut, fought with Zuniga for the final point-paying position, but eventually dropped to P12. On the final corner, though, Samir Ben and Pietro Armanni collided and both cars were significantly damaged but drivers unhurt. The pace car was promptly out again, though, and the race finished under the neutralization. Tim Tramnitz took victory from Fornaroli - who also set the fastest lap - Oliver Bearman and Kiril Smal. Joshua Durksen (Mucke Motorsport), Francesco Braschi and Francesco Simonazzi had another strong race to finish fifth, sixth and seventh. Braschi took his first rookie victory. Maya Weug completed the race in 14th position, having recovered 10th positions from the starting grid. The sixth place among the rookies continues to put Weug as one of the most consistent drivers in their first formula season. The third and final Italian F4 race of the weekend will get underway on Sunday 12 September at 17:15 CEST.