FRECA: More points for Maya Weug at Paul Ricard
In yet another outstanding weekend, Maya Weug was back in front running positions in qualifying and moved up in the Paul Ricard races to score points for the fifth time in the last six FRECA races.
Ferrari Driver Academy member Maya Weug continued her outstanding rookie season in Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine with two further point-scoring results at Circuit Paul Ricard, sixth round of the 2023 campaign.
19-year-old Weug, at her third season as part of the FDA programme, is delivering exceptional performances after stepping up to arguably one of the most competitive junior championships on the single-seater ladder and featuring a traditionally very physically demanding car.
After a few learning weekends - where she often collected top-20 finishes in the +34 car field - Weug had a breakthrough performance at Spa Francorchamps, where she qualified for the first time in the top third and fifth in her group. In the Belgian weekend, Weug scored her first points with two remarkable races that resulted in a seventh and a sixth place. The achievement was shadowed by the tragic accident of race 2 - where on-track results lost significance. Weug's performance, though, was not a one-off and she proved she had made a leap forward at Mugello: on one of the most demanding circuits for formula cars, Maya was back in the front-running positions in qualifying and would eventually score more points in race 1.
The Spanish-Belgian-Dutch driver climbed the drivers' standings and aimed to carry momentum in the South of France, returning to the circuit where she had made her single-seater debut in 2021. She built up speed in the two practice sessions and then proceeded to put the #64 KIC Motorsport's Tatuus in fifth and sixth place in the Q1 and Q2 - in yet another extraordinary effort.
Weug's pace in qualifying is yet another testament of the step forward shown by the rookie from the fourth round onwards.
G4 Racing's Alessandro Giusti took a surprise pole position for race 1, preceding Martinius Stenshorne and Sami Meguetounif. Weug lined up in P12.
At lights out, Giusti had a good launch and could clear Stenshorne, who had to defend from Meguetounif; the latter took over second place at turn 1. Maya Weug had a strong start and battled for positions around the top 10 - she completed a brilliant pass and slotted into P11 just before the safety car was deployed, when Niels Koolen and Enzo Scionti made contact at turn 3.
G4 Racing's Giusti perfectly managed the restart, holding the lead from Meguetounif, Stenshorne, Tramnitz and Antonelli - all fighting closely for the top spots. Maya Weug could break in the top ten with another spectacular pass around the outside of turn 1 over Esteban Masson on lap 5, and soon started to put pressure on Prema's Rafael Camara. While she had to back out of an attempt on lap 6, Maya remained solidly in tenth place, with a safe gap to Fluxa and Haverkort who had leapfrogged Masson.
Giusti was unchallenged in the lead, as the Frenchman extended his gap to over 2 seconds. Positions settled down throughout the field and G4 Racing took its first win in Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine since 2021 thanks to a brilliant performance by Alessandro Giusti.
With P10 in race 1, Maya Weug scored her fourth top-10 in five races and added one more point to her tally.
Championship contender Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Prema Racing) took pole position in Q2, ahead of Estaban Masson, who led the second qualifying group on Sunday morning. With another extraordinary performance, Maya Weug lined up once again in the top 10, with a P6 in group B that gave the KIC Motorsport driver tenth on the grid for the second race.
Niels Koolen and Rafael Camara stalled on the grid but were avoided by the whole pack, led by Kimi Antonelli and Esteban Masson in an action packed first lap that also saw Maya Weug battling with Maceo Capietto. Weug held on and, on the following lap, she tried to take on Owen Tangavelou. She would join a 4-car battle for sixth place that also included Van Hoepen and race 1 winner Giusti. After some pressure, Weug made a move stick on Tangavelou on lap 6.
Once in clean air, Maya chased Giusti - but the latter found a way past both Durksen and Van Hoepen, who had collided on the main straight but continued. Weug also tried to seize the opportunity to pass Durksen, having moved up to eighth after the retirement of Van Hoepen.
An outstanding 10-car battle entertained the audience in the final 5 minutes of the race, with Capietto having to defend from a Haverkort, Camara and a train of cars all fighting for the final point.
Weug had no intention to give up on seventh place and kept the pressure on Durksen, also setting a 2:00.976 that was the fifth fastest lap of the race.
While Antonelli checked out and won with an over 4 second gap, Esteban Masson survived a late charge by Tim Tramnitz to take a great second place for Sainteloc Racing.
Having crossed the line in P8, Maya Weug was then promoted to seventh after a post-race penalty for Joshua Durksen following his contact with Van Hoepen.
Maya scored points for the fifth time in six races this year - continuing an outstanding progression. At Paul Ricard, Weug finished ahead of all Trident, VAR and ART cars - with Antonelli being the only Prema driver to finish ahead. Certainly an extraordinary result for Finnish team KIC Motorsport.
With her 25 points, Maya now sits 12th in the championship standings, as the series will return to the track after a summer break: Red Bull Ring will host the seventh round on 9-10 September.