Floersch ends P9 in chaotic Barcelona first race
Sophia Floersch was caught in several incidents in a chaotic first F.Regional race in Barcelona, as Sharon Scolari brought home a solid 8th place.
The second day at Barcelona opened under miserable weather conditions: the qualifying sessions were contested under heavy rain early in the morning and saw Enzo Fittipaldi signing the pole position for the first race, while David Schumacher took an impressive pole for race 2.
Sophia Floersch managed to outqualify her new team-mate in the first session, the highly ranked Dan Ticktum who made his racing return after being dropped earlier this year by the Red Bull junior program. Floersch claimed a 5th place in Q1, while she will have to start the second race from 7th on the grid.
When the lights went out, Floersch had a stunning start and jumped both Vesti and Caldwell, while Fittipaldi held the lead from David Schumacher. Ticktum had a poor getaway and dropped to 9th place and third Van Amersfoort driver Alexandre Bardinon spun at the first corner. Sharon Scolari had a clean first lap and escaped the opening hectic lap in P11.
Vesti attacked Floersch at La Caixa and brought himself up to third a few corners later, with the young German seemingly struggled for grip in the very first laps of the race as the track was still damp but drying.
David Schumacher once again looked comfortable in wet and mixed weather conditions and started to put pressure on Enzo Fittipaldi ahead: the Brazilian made a mistake and went into the gravel at Repsol corner, surrendering the lead to the US Racing driver on the second lap.
Fittipaldi rejoined 4th, in front of Lappalainen and Floersch, as the only KIC Motorsport car on track had just overtaken Sophia Floersch.
The recovering Bardinon attacked Scolari al La Caixa, but the Frenchman went wide and the Swiss lady reclaimed her position at the corner exit.
Guzman and Caldwell were faster than Floersch in these opening stages and started to increase their pressure on the VAR driver. At the same time, championship leader Frederik Vesti closed in on Schumacher and on lap 7, the Dane made a move stick for the race lead.
After the first stages, Sophia's pace turned more and more competitive and she was able to catch Finn Konsta Lappalainen in front, despite always having Olli Caldwell big in her rear-view mirrors. With a slower Lappalainen ahead, Floersch went a bit wide at turn one and then had to defend from the attacks of Caldwell, determined to take advantage from this battle.
As Vesti had already checked-out in front with his usual race pace, Floersch saw a gap at turn 11 and dived on the inside of Lappalainen. The Finn closed the door and the two made contact, with both cars ending up facing the wrong way. Lappalainen was forced to retire and the Safety Car was deployed. Floersch rejoined at the back of the field and the incident was put under stewards' scrutiny.
The race resumed with two more laps to go: when all the cars picked up the pace, more drama at turn one occurred, as Caldwell and Fittipaldi pushed each other off track at turn two, while Igor Fraga ran wide at turn one and hit Bardinon as he rejoined the track. Floersch found herself at the wrong time in the wrong place and spun after being hit by her teammate. Scolari also spun in taking evasive action.
Dan Ticktum made a decisive move on Schumacher for second and saw a podium finish materializing at his racing return, with Vesti taking the chequered flag ahead of everyone once again. Guzman took an opportunistic 4th place, while Fittipaldi was 5th.
Sharon Scolari had a solid race and finished 8th in one of her best races of the season despite not being familiar with the Barcelona circuit.
Floersch completed a very chaotic race in P9 and received a 25 seconds penalty for the incident with Lappalainen after the race.
"He gave me no space and the stewards lost my onboard video" - she commented after the frustrating first race.
The second race will go live at 19:00 (local time) and not at 19:25 as per yesterday's schedule.
Ph credits: ACI Sport