Top-12 for Maite Cáceres at Road America, marks personal best in F4 US
Updated: May 30, 2022
At the second round of the 2022 F4 US campaign, Uruguayan Maite Cáceres scored her best result of the season to date with a P12 in race 2. Maddie Aust showed good pace, but was chased by bad luck last weekend at Road America.
The second race weekend of the Formula 4 US Championship took place at the iconic Road America race track at Elkhart Lake. After the first exciting event, Maite Cáceres (International Motorsport) and Madison Aust (Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport) returned behind the wheel of their F4 race cars to collect more experience and track time on their paths to the Road to Indy ladder.
Already in the practice session, Maite Cáceres showed promising pace last weekend, with a 7th place. Arturo Flores (Gonella Racing) was fastest overall, ahead of Alex Berg (Doran-Kroll Competition) and Alan Isambard (International Motorsports) - while unfortunately Maddie Aust could not complete a timed lap.
The qualifying session looked a bit different, with some changes at the front: Lochie Hughes (Jay Howard Driver Development/ CSU/ One Cure/ Lucas Oil/ Pelican) clinched the pole position ahead of Matt Christensen (Velocity Racing Development) and Bryson Morris (Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport).
Aust would start from P17, with Cáceres right behind her in 18th place on the grid of race 1 - the latter having suffered from braking issues.
Hughes was able to defend his lead from pole position, but Christensen put immense pressure on him and followed right behind; he then took over the lead before the end of lap 1. Nevertheless, he wasn't able to pull away as a Safety Car neutralized the gaps soon after - unfortunately with the involvement of Maite Cáceres who was forced to retire from the race.
"In Saturday's qualifying and race I could not take the car to the maximum, due to a brake problem. Then race 1 was hard, because a mis-intelligence with the flags in front of my partner led him to brake suddenly and we collided", said Maite Cáceres.
At the restart, Christensen stayed in the lead, but Hughes did not give up on the top position and put enough pressure before finally making a successful move on Christensen on lap 4. But this wasn't the end of the battle for the first win of the weekend, as Christensen tried to switch back until the final lap; both ran side by side until Christensen attempted one last move at Turn 13, ultimately winning the first race of the weekend ahead of Hughes and Alex Berg.
Madison Aust finished in P15 after running up to 12th place, but dropped a few places in the final stages of an otherwise solid performance.
In race 2, Christensen was again on pole and cemented the lead after the start. But the race soon turned into a five-car battle: after a few laps, Christensen and Noah Ping (Velocity Racing Development) were able to open a gap, while behind them Morris, Hughes and Berg battled for the last podium spot.
There were several position changes at the top, with Christensen having the better hand as he passed Ping for one last time into Turn 1 and crossed the finish line ahead of Ping. Behind them, the battle for third saw a side by side run to the finish line with Hughes on the inside, Morris on the outside and Berg in the middle of the pack. Berg took the chequered flag in third, with just 0,083 seconds separating the three.
Maite Cáceres had a way better race, showing good pace in a strong recovery from P20 on the grid all the way up to P12 across the finish line.
"In race 2 I had a good start, from position 20. [I had made] good overtaking in 11 laps, fighting until the end with the tenth and eleventh placed cars to finish P12." It was her best result of the season so far, topping a P16 at NOLA Motorsports Park.
Madison Aust finished in 18th position.
Ping started race 3 from pole and pulled away soon. Christensen lined up in P5 and tried to recover soon in the race, battling with Berg and David Burketh (Future Star Racing) for the third spot. He was soon able to pass both and started to hunt down his teammate Nicholas Rivers (Velocity Racing Development); he made a move stick on lap 5.
Ping took the chequered flag first, ahead of Christensen and Rivers in a 1-2-3 for Velocity Racing Development.
Maite Cáceres was once again unlucky: "I was hit from behind in the first lap and the suspension was damaged, so unfortunately I could not resume the race", she told us.
Nevertheless, she is certainly not unhappy with her second weekend in F4 US, after an overall positive Road America round: "I keep the experience of racing on one of the most famous tracks in the world and improving lap by lap", she explained.
"In conclusion, I was happy with my performance by the end of the weekend, I felt good with the car and now I'm looking forward to starting better in Mid Ohio. Big thanks to the team for the work all weekend."
Madison Aust came home with a P20 on the last race of the day: "The weekend was off to a good start in race one where we had great pace, getting up to P12. However, we were also involved in two incidents in race 1 and 3, meaning that our speed wasn’t represented in the standings" - Madison summed up.
"But that’s racing! Just makes me more focused going into the next round at Mid-Ohio."
"I felt that the team definitely had the speed, however due to two collisions I was in, I was unable to drive the car to its full potential. I look forward to the next round and am excited to continue progressing and learning" - Aust concluded.
The next F4 US event will take place from 23rd to 26th June at Mid-Ohio Sports Cars Course, with Maite Cáceres and Madison Aust targeting more improvements and chasing their first points of the season.