F4 Spain: Top-ten for Nerea Marti after a strong second race, as Belen Garcia recovers again to finish P12.
The second and final day of the 2019 Spanish Formula 4 championship at Circuit de Catalunya started with a wet qualifying session after the heavy rainfall overnight. The 19 drivers went on track bolting wet tyres and battled in the 15 minutes session to determine the starting grid for race 3.
Belen Garcia, after a difficult Saturday influenced by an accident in the second practice session, was determined to come back to the positions she expected in her home race. Her best lap of 2:14.442 was 11th fastest, as the main contender for the championship Female Trophy title will take the start from the sixth row.
Sitting nine points behind Belen, Nerea Marti enjoyed a good wet session and finished eighth. Pole position went to Dutchman Glenn Van Berlo, who preceded Axel Gnos and freshly-crowned champion Franco Colapinto.
As the second race featured a starting grid based on yesterday's qualifying second best lap, Marti and Garcia lined-up in P13 and P19 respectively.
Both the female talents had great starts, moving up several places. At the front, Franco Colapinto had a good getaway and preceded Axel Gnos and Tijmen van der Helm into the first corner. Garcia had a stunning first lap and got past both Pesce and Goethe in the first metres, before overtaking Sagrera in the first lap.
Marti immadiately gained the top-10, as she opted for the outside line into the first corner, a strategy that eventually payed off.
After the first few laps, Garcia dropped back to 16th, with Sagrera and Portuguese newcomer Espirito Santo gaining places. Ahead, Colapinto tried to check out on his opponents, but was quickly catched back by Gnos.
But it was the Romanian driver also coming from the Italian F4 to impress the most, with an outstanding double move under braking at the tricky first corner, as he advanced to second position on both Gnos and Van Der Helm.
Marti ran solidly in 10th in the first stages, before dropping behind Villanueva, Lobanenko and Pallot in the same lap.
With 5 minutes left on the clock, Ugran tried to close in on Colapinto, but never got within striking-distance.
Garcia got stuck in a 3-car battle with Oggart and Goethe, while Marti also battled hard with Pesce and Lobanenko for the final points-scoring positions.
The closing stages were defined by teammates battles, with MP Motorsport drivers Van Berlo, Villanueva and Baert all going side-by-side on the main straight while, soon after, Drivex Lobanenko and Espirito Santo got a little too close and tangled at the first corner: the contact took out both cars from the race and ignited more action in the mid-field. Pesce, Martinez and Villanueva all dropped to the back at the final lap and Belen Garcia took advantage to move up to P12.
Colapinto took another victory under the chequered flag, crowning a perfect weekend so far for the Drivex Argentinian driver. Ugran claimed another podium in his series debut, ahead of Tijmen van der Helm.
Nerea Marti crossed the finish line in a strong 9th position, thus taking a second victory in the Female Trophy.
The third and final race of a increasingly competitive Spanish Formula 4 Championship will go green at 16:32 CET, with Nerea Marti and Belen Garcia starting respectively in P8 and P11: the two Spanish ladies will compete for one last time for the class title before switching their attention to the 2020 W-Series championship.
Ph credits: www.Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com