Hamda Al Qubaisi crashed out in Imola incident-filled second race
For the second time in the Imola weekend, Abu Dhabi Racing's driver Hamda Al Qubaisi was hit and crashed out of the race in Sunday's Italian F4 Race 2. She now looks forward to a trouble-free race 3 in the afternoon.
Sunday racing action started again under the morning sun at Imola for Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth, despite the very cold track conditions.
Emirati racing driver Hamda Al Qubaisi - coming from her best series result in the previous round in Monza - was back to the Imola racetrack as the championship made its return after the August second round of the 2020 calendar.
Following a difficult qualifying on Saturday, Al Qubaisi had to take the start of the first race from 29th, in a particularly crowded field of 34 cars for the Italian-based chmapionship, which has seen an increase of entries due to the other F4 series rounding out their seasons.
Hamda had an impressive first lap on Saturday and gained seven positions, before being hit and spun into the gravel at a Safety Car restart. She initially continued, but then decided to pull in and retire the car in order to save the tyres.
“It’s very frustrating, but it’s Imola, it’s a very hard track, it’s hard to do well here.”, she said on Saturday evening.
“Compared to the last race here I wasn’t too bad - if I did it once I can do it again."
Strong from her previous results in Imola (a P14 and a P11), Hamda remained confident for Sunday’s races.
“I’m looking forward to Race 2 and 3 tomorrow, I hope it goes better. I’m just going to push and do what I know I have to do.”
Race 2 came to a difficult start after Chinese Van Amersfoort driver Chenyu Han spun and reitired on his way to the grid, forcing the field to an extra formation lap.
Lining up in 26th on the grid thanks to the improved performances in Q2, the 18-year old from Abu Dhabi had another unfortunate early finish to race 2 as well.
While DIno Beganovic could strip Garbiele Mini of his first place at the start, the race was soon interrupted by the first Safety Car for a series of incidents: Axel Gnos crashed at Tamburello, while Kirill Smal went off and into the barriers at Variante Alta. Hamda Al Qubaisi was also crashed out by Cram Motorsport’s Kaprzyk, who would later receive a 25 second penalty for causing the collision.
The race resumed but the green flag moments were soon alternated by more Safety Car interruptions: Braschi pulled into the pitlane with technical issues, Patterson and Ogaard tangled and crashed at Tosa, just as Valint went off at high speed at Tamburello.
In the midst of the chaos, Beganovic always managed the restarts well and could held on to the leadership ahead of Mini, Crawford and Duerksen.
Filip Ugran also dropped several places after an off through the gravel, while also Francesco Pizzi spun and found himself at the back of the field.
In the closing stages, Sebastian Montoya made contact with Duerksen and went off hard into the outside wall at Turn 1: the Colombian was unhurt, but his Prema car sustained significant damages. The fourth Safety Car made its way to the track and the race would finish under the neutralization.
Dino Beganovic could then finally claim his maiden victory in F4, preceding Prema’s teammate Gabriele Mini. With Pizzi and Rosso enduring a messy weekend, Mini is likely on his route to championship glory. Rosso had in fact finished in the top-10, but received a time penalty for overtaking before the Safety Car line and was dropped to P21.
With one more race this afternoon, Hamda Al Qubaisi targets a trouble-free race to round out a very unlucky weekend so far.
Race 3 starts at 15:20 CEST.