PREMA Racing has rewarding weekend in packed Red Bull Ring event
PREMA Racing delivered a positive run in the fifth round of the 2022 Italian Formula 4 Championship. The series went on-track at Red Bull Ring with a stunning 40-car entry which forced the management to split the field into three heat races plus a final, with the starting grid determined by aggregate score.
In the end, Andrea Kimi Antonelli got away with one heat win and second place in the final, while contact and the resulting puncture got him out of contention in race 2. The Italian is still leading the championship with a clean margin in front of teammate Rafael Camara. The Brazilian Ferrari Driver Academy man faced a challenging weekend, securing only one points finish with P2 in race 2.
The most consistent scorer for the PREMA camp was American Ugo Ugochukwu, making his first Italian F4 start and celebrating it with a triple overall podium. The 15-year-old McLaren junior driver put up a really solid run since qualifying. In his two heats, he scored a third and a second place, before rounding out the podium again in the final for his second rookie win of the weekend. To put his achievement into context, Ugochukwu is already P12 in the championship with only one event to his credit.
More silverware and rookie glory came courtesy of James Wharton and Conrad Laursen. The Australian, also a FDA supported driver, continued to show momentum with a second place and a rookie win in race 1 before finishing the other two heats in the points zone. Laursen also got a good P3 and two more points finishes.
Last but not least, Charlie Wurz faced a weekend full of challenges and while he had to deal with attrition and some qualifying woes, he still showed good pace fighting back and P5 and P6 are a good testament despite not reflecting his true potential.
The Italian Formula 4 Championship now takes a short break and will be back on the 9th of October at Monza.
#7 - Charlie Wurz
"We didn’t quite get the perfect setup for Quali. Which hampered our weekend. Starting each race from P9 it was a weekend full of fighting back. We managed to overtake quite a few cars but had two contacts on Sunday. Fortunately, I was able to continue but lost quite a bit of time. Good points in each race was the positive of the weekend. But in the end, we were set back by our challenging qualifying."
#12 - Andrea Kimi Antonelli
"For sure it was an exciting weekend. The weather was a variable all the time and with the rain, I got pole position in qualifying which I converted to a win in the first race. In my second heat, contact cost me a lot of positions while in the final, I started from P5 and gained three spots to second place. I'm quite satisfied with how it went and I thank the team for the amazing job. On my side, I will try to improve in what I'm still struggling with for the final part of the year."
#13 - James Wharton
"Austria is finished and overall it was a solid weekend, scoring good points in all 3 races with a P2 and rookie win in race 1. There is still a lot of work to do before the next race so now it's full focus on preparing for Monza."
#16 - Ugo Ugochukwu
"It was a great start to my debut in the F4 Italian Championship at Red Bull Ring. We started off with P2 in qualifying with wet conditions just four hundreds off pole position. Two third places and one second place completed a great weekend.”
#20 - Conrad Laursen
"Not the perfect weekend, it could have been good for the pace we had. Unfortunately, qualy didn't go to plan but we think we found the reason behind the issue. In race 1 the pace was quite competitive but I was pushed off and that ruined the race. In race 2, we were struggling a bit with the car as I couldn't get the balance correct so I wasn't confident but even with that we finished in P3. In the final race, we had some issues with the clutch and struggled with the gears and couldn't really go anywhere."
#88 - Rafael Camara
"It was a difficult weekend. The speed was there but for different reasons, it ended up not being our weekend. It's time to pus, keep working, and come better for the next race."