Sophia Floersch gains positions in Mugello race 2 to finish 8th
VAR driver Sophia Floersch finished a closely fought Formula Regional second race in Mugello, recovering to P8.
Completing the day's schedule at Mugello circuit, the second Formula Regional European Championship race went underway with the sun dropping behind the Tuscany hills and the track temperature going down.
Sharon Scolari unfortunately could not make the starting grid after her race one accident: her ScoRace Tatuus was too damaged and hopefully will be ready in time for Sunday's race.
David Schumacher, after coming second to Frederik Vesti in the first race, took the start from pole position but saw his leadership disappear at the end of the long Mugello straight, as he was past by Vesti, Fraga and Zendeli at the first corner.
Sophia Floersch had a good getaway and went around the outside of Olli Caldwell, moving up into P9. VAR teammate Ticktum overtook Matteo Nannini, but the Italian reclaimed his place soon after.
It then started a long battle from second-placed Igor Fraga down to Caldwell in 10th, with all the drivers running within few tenths to each other and desperately looking to find a way past the slower DR Formula driver.
Newcomer Lirim Zendeli launched several attacks at turn one, but Fraga always covered masterfully the inside line, thus forcing his opponent wide on the exit kerb.
The move was repeated for several laps, always with the same outcome for the US Racing driver, who was followed closely by his teammate David Schumacher.
Other high-profile series addition Jake Hughes moved past Enzo Fittipaldi with a decisive move at turn two, the Brit gaining P4.
Meanwhile, Frederik Vesti took advantage from the battle behind him and had already checked-out after the first few laps.
It was a mistake to shake up the order up front, but it wasn't Fraga to made an error under pressure: Zendeli went deep and briefly onto the gravel, losing somehow only one position to Schumacher.
At the back of this group, Sophia closed the gap to Ticktum and at lap 9 she launched an attack at turn one, but had to back off as Caldwell was ready to complete an opportunistic move.
On lap 11, David Schumacher finally made a move stick on Fraga and immediately opened a gap on the Brazilian, who was quickly passed also by Zendeli for third.
His ethusiasm, though, was cut short soon after, as the German was handed a drive through for a formation lap infringement.
The British Prema driver Caldwell started to drop behind and was passed by Lappalainen and Beckhauser, as Schumacher penatly moved up the whole group by one place.
Jake Hughes, now in third after a pass on Fraga, posted the fastest lap and tried to catch Zendeli, but ultimately settled for his second P3 of the day.
The closing laps where defined by more battles throughout the field, with Ticktum overtaking Nannini and Sophia trying to find a way around the Italian as well, but with Lappalainen following her as a shadow.
At the chequered flag, Vesti crossed the line almost 14 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Lirim Zendeli. Hughes completed another stunning drive to claim third, and Enzo Fittipaldi was fourth. After his 12th seasonal win, the Dane closes in on the inaugural Formula Regional title: he's now missing just one point to be crowned 2019 champion.
Floersch made up some places in another charging race after yesterday's disappointing qualifying:
"We tried a bit of different stuff with the car. Yesterday quali was not what we wanted and the gap was pretty big. Starting P10 in race 2 and race 3 there really wasn't anything to lose. We'll see, it all depends on setup and how you manage your tyres" - said Sophia.
Tomorrow's third and final race of the weekend will see the green light at 13:05 (local time), with Sophia Floersch lining up once again in 10th place, as the second-best lap from Friday's Q2 was mostly unchanged from the second race starting order.
Ph credits: Racers-BehindtheHelmet.com