Two weeks ago, the Red Bull Ring served up a much more satisfying week of the ROKiT Racing Star F4 Esports Competition UK than the inaugural outing to Silverstone back on 5th February. Though repeat winners were found in both the Girls’ and Boys’ Races, how they both got there was a greater story to be told.
The third round would mark the halfway point of the regular season with the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza as a destination sure to offer up plenty of overtaking opportunities. For both Monica Boulton Ramos and Dylan Warren, it would provide another stern test of their credentials as both now aimed for a clean sweep of the championship.
Utilising the RaceRoom Racing Experience platform, both the Girls and Boys races put on a show on Saturday (5th March 2022). Macie Hitter took the Girls trophy while Bryn Collins dominated and won the Boys race.
Once more the size of the grid grew for the Girls’ side of competition with seven in the mix for qualifying. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Boulton Ramos was on top by a sizeable margin from her closest rival in Austria, Jess White.
Macie Hitter had blown two excellent starting positions over the first two rounds with terrible launches. Unless the issues had been sorted, third place was not a healthy starting position with more cars behind. Jasmine Shaw and Charlotte Bell both made their debuts in fifth and sixth, both out-qualifying Lois Millward who was once again slowest.
MONZA GIRLS RACE
A lightning start from White enabled her to take the lead before hitting the Rettifilo. Aiding her was the trouble Ramos found herself in as both the returning Ella Wrigley and a better-than-usual starting Hitter both challenged. Wrigley would claim second on the road whilst Hitter slotted into fourth.
The end of the first lap would give us the first major faux-pas of Ramos all season as the championship leader prematurely dived on Wrigley into the Parabolica-Alboreto and spun herself down the order. Although this only lost her two places, it was the time loss that was surely going to have a larger impact on her potential.
As Ramos began her long ascent back up the order with a pass on Shaw, Wrigley was putting the pressure on White. She would lead the race come Ascari with a well-executed move down the inside, almost scaring White off the road. Unfortunately, it was clear to see the nerves of the scenario were beginning to creep in. After a full lap of minor errors, Wrigley put too much power through the rear tyres out of Rettifilo and conceded not just first but second at that.
The pain would further compound itself a couple laps on as a meeting with the barrier relieved Wrigley of her front wing. Boulton Ramos was back up onto the podium.
White was running a beautiful race yet even she eventually succumbed to inconsistency. A horrible misjudgment through the della Roggia chicane handed the race victory to a jubilant Hitter whilst Boulton Ramos was also able to capitalise, snatching second for herself.
MONZA GIRLS RESULTS
- Macie Hitter 31:50.294
- Monica Boulton Ramos +4.923
- Jess White +7.043
- Jasmine Shaw +1:40.620
- Charlotte Bell +1L
- Lois Millward +1L
- Ella Wrigley +1L
Boys’ Qualifying was an enthralling watch as two debutants shook the apple cart with intent. Pole position went to Welshman Bryn Collins meaning that for the second time in two consecutive rounds, championship leader Dylan Warren would have to settle for the runner-up spot. Deagen Fairclough, another rookie, would start an impressive third place.
Last time’s pole sitter Theo Micouris was still in the picture on the second row whilst Kai Bachini, on the podium in Austria, was disappointed to only be good enough for tenth.
It was an opening lap dogfight for the top ten positions as Marcus Luzio’s fast start from fifth put everyone out of sorts. Though Luzio had been returned to his starting position by the end of Lap 1, Nathan Clifford had risen to fourth whilst Micouris had slipped to sixth. More action would unfurl down at Rettifilo as Fairclough got the exit all wrong, collecting Clifford whilst seeing Luzio skip gleefully back onto the podium.
Clifford’s reputation as an elbows out challenger was further enhanced just one rotation later, getting caught up with Micouris. Both were sent to the gravel and put well out of top five contention. The grand prize of a fully-funded Formula 4 drive was very clearly stressing some more than others beyond breaking point. With nothing to lose and everything to gain in such chaotic conditions, Fairclough regained composure and took back third from Luzio.
The commentators were kept very busy on this one as the midfield action appeared unending. Perhaps the classiest move of the race would arrive near its conclusion as Fabian Balan and a well-recovered Zach Sweeney were duelling for seventh place. In a show of fantastic race craft, both went side-by-side through Ascari with Balan coming out on top. The true irony of it all was positions being reversed just two corners later.
Soon after, after exercising great patience, Luzio was back through on Fairclough although the red car was right underneath the yellow’s gearbox on the final lap. A Luzio mistake was made through the della Roggia chicane giving Fairclough the chance to seal it, but one final twist in the tale came at the Parabolica-Alboreto when a desperate lunge saw both in a smokescreen.
Collins won comfortably on debut ahead of Warren who was surely locked in for the Grand Final whilst Oliver Bunn couldn’t believe his luck in third. Someone who appeared out of luck was Kai Bachini – denied points by a second disconnection of the season though this time just moments from the chequered flag.
MONZA BOYS RESULTS
- Bryn Collins 30:54.374
- Dylan Warren +2.298
- Oliver Bunn +18.571
- Deagen Fairclough +19.972
- Marcus Luzio +21.495
- Theo Micouris +25.699
- Zach Sweeney +25.966
- Jack Badger +31.167
- Fabian Balan +31.347
- Zsombar Lovaszi +31.562