• Luigi Sebastiano De Blasi

FRECA | Review: R-ace GP Conquers Monaco

For this historic race - also celebrated by sebmotors.info’s special livery for the occasion - the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine raced in support of Formula 1 for the third and last time this year in what was a pretty eventful weekend.

Pasma followed by Vidales at Massenet | © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

Qualy Group A - As better explained here, Qualifying was split into two groups which then alternated the two pole-men for the two races. Group A saw 16 drivers - the ones which were in the even places of the drivers’ standings before Monaco - going for their best lap-time in the streets of the Principality. Among them were the two rookies who have been making the headlines at the start of the season: R-ace’s Isack Hadjar (FRA) & ART’s Gabriele Minì (ITA). After being exchanging purple sectors at the start of the session, DR’s Emidio Pesce (ITA) spun at the entry of the Swimming Pool chicane, bringing out the yellow flags. Hadjar established himself as the poleman, while Minì could not improve anymore and remained P6. This would have eventually meant a sixth row start for both races for the Sicilian.

Qualy Group A's Results | © 2021 Formula Regional European by Alpine

Qualy Group B - It was R-ace’s Zane Maloney (BAR) who set the best lap-time between the two groups. This could actually be foreseen, as the track’s conditions improved for group B. Group A were - on the other hand – the very first cars to be hitting the track on Friday morning at 7:55 AM local time. Moving back to group B, there were then two crashes with respectively Monolite's Jasin Ferati (CHE) & G4's Alessandro Famularo (VEN). Then came the MP’s Franco Colapinto controversy. The Argentinian was disqualified for a “Technical Non-conformity” due to two spacers installed on the car the wrong way round. Further about Colapinto’s stance can be found here.

Qualy Group B's Results | © 2021 Formula Regional European by Alpine

The Start of Race 1 - Slippery conditions were the difficulty drivers had to face when coming out on track: the Formula 2 race right before had been on wet conditions but the FRECA cars were then going on track on slicks. Van Amersfoort’s Lorenzo Fluxá (SPA) had already crashed on his way to the starting grid, while JD’s Eduardo Barrichello (BRA) had technical issues for which he re-joined the group only 8 laps after the start of the race. At the 7th minute, Ferati broke his left rear suspension and then retired in the pits.

Safety Car at Race 1 - At about half of the race, there was a contact between FA’s Andrea Rosso (ITA) and KIC’s Elias Seppänen (FIN) at the exit of Rascasse while fighting for P14. A few moments later another contact happened between Arden’s Nicola Marinangeli (ITA) and DR’s Brad Benavides (USA) while racing for P19, which forced the Italian into a spin, crashing at Nouvelle Chicane. The American pitted several laps later for a front wing change. The Safety Car was deployed. At the re-start, both ART’s Thomas ten Brinke (NED) & FA’s Gabriel Bortoleto (BRA) dropped down the order for reasons which are still unclear. In the final stages, the championship leader ART’s Grégoire Saucy (CHE) who was driving P10, went off at Sainte Devote.

Hadjar Winning Race 1 - The poleman from the slowest Qualifying group - Hadjar - won with an impressive 7 seconds’ gap on Maloney & a 10 seconds’ gap on Prema’s Paul Aron (EST), who had been under serious threat from R-ace’s Hadrien David (FRA) all race long.

Results from Race 1 | © 2021 Formula Regional European by Alpine

The Big One at the Start of Race 2 – Right after the start of Race 2 - going uphill through Beau Rivage - Arden’s William Alatalo (FIN) closed in on Saucy on his left and the contact made by the two triggered a chain which then caused Marinangeli’s car to flip over the Prema’s car of Dino Beganovic (SWE). JD’s Tommy Smith (AUS) and Benavides were also involved. The red Flag was waved, and the race got then re-started under Safety Car conditions a few minutes later. Thankfully, all drivers came out unharmed.

From left to right: Marinangeli, Beganovic & Smith Involved in the Big One |

| © 2021 Formula Regional European by Alpine

The Many Safety Car Outings of Race 2 - At the restart Bortoleto lost places thanks to a pit stop for a broken front wing. A few minutes later, the Safety Car was required again as the Mercedes’ junior Aron - P4 at that moment - crashed at the exit of Sainte Devote. In the meantime, Fluxá was parking his car with an issue. The Alpine A110 Safety Car was then required for a third time as at the 21st Minute DR’s Emidio Pesce (ITA) lost the control of his car and crashed at the exit of Massenet. In that same moment, Seppänen was retiring with an issue at Nouvelle Chicane.

Results from Race 2 | © 2021 Formula Regional European by Alpine

Maloney Winning Race 2 - At the chequered flag, Maloney brought the Barbadian flag on to the top step of the podium. Hadjar was again the fastest man on track though and put the Barbadian into a lot of pressure. A lot, but not enough. R-ace GP incredibly locked the podium as David got there too in third. The graphics with all the standings are illustrated below.

Drivers' Standings | © sebmotors.info 2021

Constructors' Standings | © sebmotors.info 2021

Rookies' Standings | © sebmotors.info 2021

You can re-watch the sessions at these links:

-Qualy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmMhlVtmQLE ;

-Race 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liKE0ZOyajw&t=1982s ;

-Race 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nml65AdpA4M&t=1206s .

Next round will be at Le Castellet, France on May 30th.

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