Fuel pump problem makes for difficult Brazilian F4 weekend for Rafaela Ferreira
The Brazilian F4 series held its third round last weekend and mechanical issues brought some difficulties for the only female racer on the track, Rafaela Ferreira.
Last weekend, the Brazilian F4 returned to the track and concluded the first half of the 2023 season at the Velocittá Circuit, in Mogi-Mirim. As in the previous round, only 13 of the 14 drivers that make up the grid took part in the activities. Unfortunately, Cecília Rabelo – who is still recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in the first round, remained out of the weekend.
"We try to do the extra-training on Thursday. I'm still recovering my shoulder, I don't feel any more pain, however, because of the injury I've completely lost strength. Now we are trying to get back to training little by little, so who knows we can be back in the next round. And maybe try to hold on to driving."- she said.
But the female presence was ensured by Rafaela Ferreira. Outside the race tracks, in the weeks leading up to the third round, Brazilian F4 promoted a competition on its social networks to choose the most beautiful helmet on the grid, and Ferreira's lid was acclaimed as the winner.
"I was very happy to know that it's the helmet that the public liked the most! I always used these colors: blue, white and pink, and for this season I added purple. Behind it there's a phrase that I really like: 'Because of Him, through Him and for Him are all things'. It's a phrase that I have kept with me and I take it with me throughout my career.
Now I hope I can make it shine more at the front of the grid."
However, the TMG Racing driver did not have an easy weekend at Velocittá. On Friday, August 4th, two free practice sessions and qualifying for races 1 and 3 were held. In both FP1 and FP2 Ferreira was 13th, but she showed improvement in the times recorded between sessions as the team worked hard to get the car in the best set-up. In qualifying, Matheus Comparatto - from Bassani F4 - was the pole sitter for both races and Rafaela Ferreira was in P12 for the starting grid ahead of both contests.
Races 1 - 2
Unexpectedly, race 1 ended for Rafaela Ferreira before it even started. During the formation lap, the team detected a problem in the fuel pump through telemetry and the car had to return to the pit lane, retiring from the race. Matheus Comparatto was the winner and the podium was completed by Luan Lopes and Lucca Zucchini.
With the formation determined by the reverse grid system - considering the result of race 1 - the second race of the day had Mateus Callejas in first and due to the retirement a few hours before, Rafaela Ferreira had to start from 13th position. When the lights went out Ferreira had problems with her car again, which briefly stopped on the track for a few seconds. But she managed to get it moving and start the race.
Despite the difficulties, she quickly caught the other drivers, even had the chance of battling for positions with João Tesser and Carl Bennett in the first laps. But ultimately she couldn't make a pass.
Vinicius Tessaro took the lead on lap 4 and opened up a gap over the drivers behind him, until he secured the victory. One of the main battles on track was between Mateus Callejas and Fefo Barrichello - who came out on top and took second place. Callejas completed the podium, with Rafaela Ferreira 13th across the line.
On Sunday the drivers returned to the Velocittá Circuit track for the last activity of the weekend. Matheus Comparatto was back on pole position and Rafaela Ferreira would line up in 12th place. "It was a difficult week, we didn't start in the first race and now we have to start from behind, but we'll try to reach a better position and try to score points for the championship." - said Ferreira before the race, showing optimism in trying to limit damage from the unfortunate round.
At the start, once again a car came to a halt on track - it was Alexandre Machado this time, who started from P11. Vinicius Tessaro, who was positioned right behind, took evasive action and Rafaela Ferreira also gained a position. However, later on the first lap, Tessaro had was back up to tenth.
For much of the race Ferreira tried to stay as close to Pavie as possible and maintained a steady pace to reach the 11th position. When on lap 10 he lost control of the car and entered the pit lane, Rafaela Ferreira then gained the spot and continued to push, now trying to reach the top 10.
She managed to close the gap to Mateus Callejas - who was in 10th place, but she didn't have enough time to attempt a move. Thus, she finished the race in P11, just outside the points zone. Matheus Comparatto led from start to finish and achieved his second win of the weekend.
With the two wins obtained at Velocittá Circuit, Comparatto rose to second place in the championship – which still has Vinicius Tessaro at the top, with 128 points. Rafaela Ferreira kept the 7 points collected until then and sits in 13th position, followed by Cecília Rabelo, with 1 point.
Brazilian F4 will return to the tracks in August, to contest its 4th round of the 2023 season at the Ayrton Senna Circuit, in Goiânia.