The Tuscan venue of Mugello saw the penultimate round of the Italian F4 Championship this weekend. Joining the usual Prema Theodore duo of Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi would be Lukas Dunner. The Austrian has been competing in the Spanish and Northern European F4 Championships so the jump to the competitive Italian series was set to be a big one for the 15 year old.
Free Practice started the weekend off as normal. All three drivers had a positive run with Armstrong and Fittipaldi running in the top ten. Dunner begun to learn the car and was just behind his teammates for the duration of both sessions. The sun was shining ahead of the back-to-back qualifying. Armstrong narrowly missed out on pole for Race 1 behind Sebasti Wagner Fernandez. However the Kiwi nailed qualifying 2 taking pole for the second and third races of the weekend with a time of 1:47.153. Enzo Fittipaldi took P6 for race 1 only 0.065 seconds off his rival followed by P10 in the second part of the session, resulting in a top ten start for the whole event. Coming into the weekend as a rookie Lukas Dunner secured P12 on the grid for Saturday’s race plus two P14’s positions for the last two races of the weekend.
The first race of the weekend was a rather uneventful run. Marcus Armstrong finished in the same position that he set off in, P2 after trying his best to pass Sebasti Wagner Fernandez. Fittipaldi had a similar race unable to improve from P5 but maintained a good lap time. For newcomer Lukas Dunner race 1 was a learning curve after struggling with the car, finishing the race in P17.
Starting on pole for both race 2 and 3 Marcus Armstrong started the morning by flying into the lead before creating a 3.5s gap after dealing with a safety car restart. From then on the kiwi ran his own race claiming the win as he crossed the line after a strong lights to flag finish. Unfortunately in the third race Armstrong lost P1 half way through the race and was unable to fight back taking P3 at the chequered flag. Lukas Dunner having started P14 gained three positions at the start then chased Felipe Branquinho before taking P9 overall. The Austrian’s last race of the weekend didn’t go to plan scoring only P17. Enzo Fittipaldi had an tricky initial start in race 2 running wide into the first corner but soon got back on track battling with Giorgio Carrara. The two swapped positions numerous of times but it was the Brazilian who came out on top finishing in the top ten. Fittipaldi secured good points in the last event of the weekend taking P5 after battling with his competitors through out the race.
As it stands Marcus Armstrong leads the Drivers Championship 53 points ahead of Job Van Uitert. The title will be decided at the last event of the season which takes place in two weeks, 21st-22nd October at Monza!
# 9 – Marcus Armstrong
“It was not a bad weekend. I extended the points lead to something quite considerable. Race 1 was fairly average, we took second place before ending up first in race 2. The car felt quite good in cold temperature. We struggled in race 3 with different tires in comparison to the other two runs. Despite that, we weren’t quite quick enough, which is disappointing, but again we managed to extend the championship lead by a good amount of points so we can’t complain. We now hope for a consistent weekend at Monza.”
# 74 – Enzo Fittipaldi
“This race weekend had a lot of ups and downs. It started off well being P3 in free practice. Qualifying was not the best. At the end we got two top 5 finishes which I am happy with. Now it is time to focus on the last round of the championship and give it my best!”
# 77 – Lukas Dunner
“This is a tough championship but the team is really good, I always dreamed to race with Prema one day. Testing was not bad and free practice was ok too. I was happy with my qualifying performance but in the first race I was maybe a little too careful. I’m super happy for race 2 while for some reasons race 3 ended turned out to be disappointing. All in all I’m quite satisfied with the weekend.”