Second point-scoring weekend for Angélina Favario in French F4
Young French racer Angélina Favario scored points in two more races at Le Castellet, and finished the weekend with a solid race in P14.
One week ago, young racer Angélina Favario scored her first points in French F4, finishing tenth in the first race at Monza in her rookie season in single-seater. Favario - who is continuing to make progress despite the expected challenges of the debut in such a competitive series, was thus back on home soil for the sixth and penultimate round of the championship with boosted morale from her good performances at the Temple of Speed. With an expanded grid of almost 20 entries, French F4 is surely in a growing phase and launched on Friday the new Mygale F4 car that will be used from 2022, as all race car manufacturers are introducing their Halo-equipped chassis. The new M21-F4 was left in the experienced hands of F2-race winner Theo Pourchaire, who completed the first practice session to shake down the car. On a sunny Friday afternoon, Esteban Masson took pole position from Alessandro Giusti and Maceo Capietto. Favario lined up in 19th place for the first race of the weekend.
Capietto - who has also starred in a guest appearance at Imola in the Italian F4 championship with benchmark team Prema - had a great start and moved into second place, as Geraci and Cabanelas dropped back to ninth and tenth respectively. The Swiss driver recovered in the following laps and was the protagonist of a good comeback. Angélina Favario had reported technical issues on her #51 Mygale throughout the day and her car unfortunately remained stationery on the grid. She managed to get away from the pitlane and rejoin the race, 2 laps down. On lap 5, a contact between Geraci and Provost took both out of the race, with also Noah Andy receiving an orange-disk flag and was forced to pit. While Giusti - second on the grid - dropped to fifth, it was Daniel Ligier to make his way up the order up to second from fourth. Masson, meanwhile, was passed by Capietto for the lead and the championship leader ended up defending from Barter for the final step of the podium. Despite an incident at Turn 5 between Ligier and Masson, the two continued and went on to finish second and third, with Masson re-claiming the runner up spot in the closing stages. Maceo Capietto took his fourth win of the season ahead of championship rival Masson, Ligier and Barter. Alessandro Giusti was fifth, while Tangavelou and Cabanelas recovered to P7 and P8. Vayron and returning driver Thanapongpan Sutumno rounded out the Top 10. Despite the difficult start, Angélina Favario finished in 16th place and, considering the guest driver status of a few drivers, she was back in the point scoring positions for the second time this season, adding one point to her tally.
Saturday's second race saw Thai driver Sutumno starting from reverse grid pole, ahead of Vayron and Cabanelas. Esteban Masson had a massive start and moved from ninth to fifth on the opening lap, while Sutumno tried to keep Veyron at bay in the lead. The order would change on the second lap and Sutumno started to slip behind lap after lap. Having started from 16th, Angélina Favario had a difficult race and started to drift back as well, but still remained very close to her competitors in front and kept battling for positions. There was some spectacular racing going on at the front, with a train of four cars trading positions: Tangavelou advanced into third with a bold move, while a contact at Turn 12 between Sutumno and Cabanelas damaged the Thai driver's front wing. But there was very little time to breathe, as Julien, Ligier and Cabanelas went three wide on the main straight, battling for third place: Julien would cut Turn 6 in the hectic stages and lost his podium chances. On the final corner of the last lap, Ligier made a move stick for third and edged Cabanelas for the final step of the podium, while guest driver Elliot Veyron took his third non-point scoring victory after the previous round in Monza, 10 seconds clear of Owen Tangavelou. Angélina Favario had managed to get ahead of Enzo Richer and finished in 17th place. "In the morning I had quite a lot of mechanical problems so it was a bit difficult for me, but in the afternoon it was better and the car was really good." - Favario explained. "I was on used tyres but still the lap times were better towards the end and I did my best lap". "It was a difficult race for me, both physically and mentally" - she added. "Nevertheless, the car was good and I'm looking forward to the third race." The final race of the weekend at the Provençal venue was contested on a cloudy Sunday morning, as a few sparse drops of rain threatened the drivers on pre-grid. The weather held on, and the race remained dry throughout.
Masson, Giusti, Vayron and Capietto - the latter fifth in Race 2 - were back on the front two rows of the grid, while Angélina Favario slotted in 19th position. When the lights went out, it was immediately clear that it would be another closely fought one in the midfield and the drivers spared no contacts: Julien broke his front wing on an aggressive jump on the kerb at Turn 5, before understeering into the side of Pierre-Alexandre Provost and spinning into the incoming pack - luckily being avoided by the whole field. Both picked up damages, but Provost continued. Masson retained the lead, while Capietto and Giusti swapped positions on two occasions on the two opening laps. Favario had a good start and moved into 16th place. Race 2 winner Vayron pitted from fifth with front wing damage, as more battle scars shuffled the order all the way through the field. In one of the most spectacular passes of the weekend, Noah Andy and Daniel Ligier banged wheels at the fast Signes corner and Ligier went through. Meanwhile, Romain Andriolo was handed a drive through penalty for a jump start but opted to stay out, before being involved in a contact with Morano and Richer that saw all three drivers spinning at the chicane. Not far behind, Angélina Favario continued her run with improved pace and moved into 15th place.
Masson controlled Giusti in the lead, while Capietto and Barter fought for the final step of the podium. Positions changed at every corner for the last two laps, with Ligier also joining the duo. Ultimately, Esteban Masson took the chequered flag 1.7 seconds ahead of Giusti, with Australian Hugh Barter securing the podium in third. Capietto thus slipped back from the championship lead by four points over Masson, with one race weekend left. Angélina Favario had a very solid race and finished in P14, in another point-scoring performance that gained her one further point.
"Today's race was better than Race 1 and 2" - said Favario. "The car was again really good and I was very close to the other drivers - which I'm really happy about. I think Magny Cours will be even better."
With the 2021 FFSA French F4 season set to end its season at Magny Cours (23-24 October), which already hosted the second round of the season. Angélina Favario had a positive weekend in May, as the 18-year old lady claimed an 11th place finish. "Maybe rain is going to be a factor in Magny Cours - but I love racing in the rain" - she continued. "The feeling with the track surface is so different and I actually prefer it. But Magny Cours being a fast circuit makes it a bit more difficult." Favario's progression through the season has been noticeable, as she is now getting more comfortable in a growing field. "I'm happy about it - but now there's just one more round to finish this championship and I must do my best."