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  • Writer's pictureIGOR LAERTE

Rafaela Ferreira scores double pole position and podium in F4 Brazil weekend

After claiming a maiden double pole position, Rafaela Ferreira achieved podium finishes, overall fastest laps and grabbed third place in the Brazilian F4 drivers standings over the second round of 2024 season.

Rafaela Ferreira F4 Brasil
Photo credits: BRB F4 Brasil

F4 Brazil returned to the track with the Interlagos Circuit playing host to the second round of the 2024 season, which was marked by further remarkable results achieved by Rafaela Ferreira. The TMG Racing driver - who turned 19 on April 18 - in addition to her birthday, also celebrated her good performances in the first sessions of the weekend, as she led 2 of the 5 free practice sessions and also set the fastest overall lap.

Ferreira's great speed was also consolidated in the qualifying session for races 1 and 3, where she set the two fastest laps among the 11 drivers, thus securing her first - and double - career pole position. She also became the second female driver to achieve the feat, recorded for the first time by Cecília Rabelo, who had been pole-pitter in the 5th round of 2023. This time, Rabelo took P10 on the starting grid for both races.

“It was sensational! When I went out for qualifying, they said to me: ‘Rafa, do what you know how to do’ and I went out and had fun, it was really cool. When I did the last lap, I still didn't know about pole. They only told me when I stopped the car. And it was amazing." - said Rafaela Ferreira.

She added: "I'm very happy with my work and the team's work. I just have to thank the team, my parents, the sponsors and God. Without them this wouldn't be possible. Now, to close the weekend, there has to be a victory!”

Race 1

At the start of race 1, the drivers on the front row - Rafaela Ferreira and Matheus Comparatto - were surprised by rookie Filippo Fiorentino, who took the lead from thord on the grid in the first few metres. With Guilherme Favarete stopped on track, the safety car was deployed for the first time, but until the action was neutralized, Ferreira defended well against Comparatto's overtaking attempts.

The restart took place on lap 3, but the safety car quickly had to return to the track, so that Pepê Souza's car could be retreived by the marshals after an incident with Cecília Rabelo. On lap 6, the race resumed to no more further interruptions.

The remaining 18 minutes were marked especially by the duel between TMG Racing teammates - Rafaela Ferreira and Filippo Fiorentino for victory. Ferreira pressed the entire time, reducing the gap to less than 1 second and subsequently making attempts to overtake, but Fiorentino defended with determination and remained ahead until both crossed the finish line.

With second place, Rafaela Ferreira reached the podium for the third time this season - equaling her personal best career result and taking the lead in the championship for the first time. She also recorded the fastest lap of the race - 1:37.122 - which was the fastest of the 3 races of the weekend. Oakberry Bassani driver Cecília Rabelo finished in 9th.

Rafaela Ferreira F4 Brasil
Photo credits: Duda Bairros

"Well, the car got a little distracted at the start and Fiorentino overtook me, but I had a good pace. And as my boss said, I have to think about the championship. Fiorentino was only here for this round, so my goal is to collect points." - said Rafaela Ferreira about the result.

She concluded: "Of course, I really wanted this victory and I almost achieved it on the last lap, but they asked me to calm down and not do anything risky, as we are fighting for the championship."

Race 2

The drivers returned to the track on Saturday afternoon, and with the reverse grid system - considering the result of the first race of the day - Rafaela Ferreira started in P7 and Cecília Rabelo in P9. Ciro Sobral was in pole position. At the start, Argentine Gino Trappa took the lead, Ferreira maintained seventh position and Rabela lost one place, but she regained P9 later on the first lap, with a good overtake on Guilherme Favarete.

At the beginning of lap 4, Rafaela Ferreira was fighting for P6 with Lucca Zucchini, but there was contact between the two at turn 3 and Zucchini hit the tire barrier, leaving the rear wing of his car damaged. The safety car was deployed and remained on track for two laps. After the restart on lap 6, Ferreira managed to overtake twice - first over Ciro Sobral on lap 7 and then over Ethan Nobels on the penultimate lap, crossing the finish line in 5th.

However, Ferreira received a 5-second penalty for the incident, and so she dropped to 7th place. Gino Trappa took victory - which was also the first for a non-Brazilian driver in F4 Brazil. Cecília Rabelo, who started in 9th, finished in 8th - thus reaching the point-scoring zone.

Race 3

In the Sunday morning's race, Rafaela Ferreira once again had the chance to aim for her maiden victory, starting from pole position, followed by Matheus Comparatto in second. At the start, Ferreira lost the lead to Comparatto, and while she was defending herself from an attempt to pass around the outside by Filippo Fiorentino on the first lap into turn 4, there was a collision between the two, with her teammate getting the worst of it. The safety car was deployed, and Fiorentino's car was recovered.

The green flag waved on lap 4 and in the remaining 22 minutes Rafaela Ferreira tried to put pressure on Matheus Comparatto to regain the lead. However, on the 6th lap, a drive-through penalty was announced for the young driver, due to the collision with Filippo Fiorentino. Ferreira had already overtaken Comparatto and recorded the best lap of the race, and held the lead until the end of lap 9 when she had to enter the pit lane to serve the penalty.

Ferreira returned to the track in 9th position, but very far from Cecília Rabelo, who was in a positive race and was up to P8. Both took the checkered flag in the same positions, eighth and ninth respectively.

The championship leader Matheus Comparatto was the winner of race 3, followed by Ethan Nobels - who with the result tied with Rafaela Ferreira in second place in the drivers' standings, with 60 points each. The 8th position achieved in race 3 gave Cecília Rabelo 4 more points, totaling 26 - as she closes on the top 10.

Now, there will be a break of just over two months until the third round of the 2024 F4 Brazil season and the young drivers will only return behind the wheel on June 30, at the Velocittà Circuit.

Cecília Rabelo; Rafaela Ferreira; F4 Brasil
Photo credits: Duda Bairros



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