Floersch ends Imola weekend with 7th in race 4
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Sophia Floersch had an unfortunate end to the Imola fourth race, after a stunning start from 3rd on the grid.
After Vallelunga third race was canceled last May after the torrential rain had hit the track, Formula Regional European Championship completed four races instead of the usual three this weekend in Imola, Italy.
Hopes were high for Sophia Floersch, as she started from third place on the grid due to her qualifying in Vallelunga. The young German had just finished in a very positive fourth place the third race of the weekend and she was increasingly confident about her pace.
At the start, in fact, Floersch had a stunning getaway and passed championship leader Vesti for second, while Isac Blomqvist kept the lead.
Caldwell had a great launch from fifth and at the end of the first lap the Brit was already up to third. He attacked on the main straight Sophia Floersch and passed her around the outside of the first corner.
Vesti then became bigger in Floersch rearview mirros, as the Danish driver tried to recover.
The Safety Car was deployed when, one lap later, David Schumacher made contact with Igor Fraga at Tamburello, taking out Enzo Fittipaldi in the process.
The winner of the second race was forced to retire, but the race neutralization brought another turning point: Blomqvist broke hard and Floersch was hit by Vesti as she slowed down, turning around the Van Amersfoort car #99. The girl from Munich rejoined the track, at the back of the field, in a very disappointing turning of events.
With 20 minutes to go, the Safety Car took the way of the pitlane and Caldwell immediately claimed the lead of the race from Blomqvist, who was also attacked by Vesti but stayed in second.
Floersch promptly found her way past Scolari and made two more positions back when Bardinon and Lappalainen made contact at Acque Minerali corner.
Frederik Vesti chased his British teammate for a couple of laps, before attempting a successful attack at the first Rivazza corner, taking the lead.
With 13 minutes left, Raul Guzman had an off at the chicane: he briefly rejoined the track but then parked his car in the run-off soon after.
Vesti opened a gap on his rivals and was relatively in control of the race when he was handed a 10 seconds penalty for overtaking Sophia Floersch under the Safety Car. After already being demoted from the top step of the podium in this morning race, Vesti pushed hard and managed to create a 10.1 gap over second-placed Caldwell. After the race though, he received a further 15 seconds penalty for hitting Sophia and eventually stripping her from the battle for the win.
Olli Caldwell took home the win after the podium ceremony, leading Blomqvist and Fraga. Sophia Floersch once again had to fight her way back through the order and finished 7th. She leaves Imola with regrets for the last race, but with a positive fourth place in this morning race.
"A driver pushed me out during the Safety Car. He got 10 seconds and won. My race was done." - wrote a visibly frustrated Floersch after the race.
Sharon Scolari finished P11 another trouble-free race, as she kept improving her pace: her progression from friday practice was indeed remarkable, considering it was her first visit to the Imola circuit and she had to miss the second practice entirely due to electrical issues.
"I'm very happy about this fourth race as well, I got to stay in the pack for a bit and didn't have any technical troubles. I'm very pleased, it was my first time here in Imola and I really loved it. It's a really technical track and I'm happy I got to race here."
"Barcelona will be hard as well, as I never drove there while the others had testing, but that's the story of my championship and I will keep pushing to improve myself."
Next Formula Regional round will be in fact in Barcelona, Spain, on 20th-22nd of September.
Ph credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com