• Luigi Sebastiano De Blasi

FRECA | Review: Saucy after France Aims "to Win the Championship"

It was a weekend which was plenty of turns of events at Le Castellet, in what was the first weekend in support of the GT World Challenge Europe. Is Grégoire Saucy preparing already a serious bid to the FRECA championship? We will be surer about this later in the year, but he claimed after these two races that he is doing so. In the meantime, here is your recap for this weekend!

Grégoire Saucy | © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

Qualifying 1 - ART’s Grégoire Saucy (CHE) made his intentions for the weekend clear already from Friday’s Practice sessions. He has always put more or less four tenths between himself, and the rest of the field and he was also able to replicate that when it mattered: in Q1. JD’s Michael Belov (RUS) joins the field as wild card for his first race this year, but it does not look like this is his first one. He was able to clinch P3 already in his first Qualifying outing.

Results from Q1 | © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

Teammates Crashing in Race 1 – It was a difficult first lap for Van Amersfoort’s Mari Boya (SPA) as he went straight at the Virage de l’Hôtel (turn 3) and then had to take the escape road in order to re-join the track. He did not know that worst things were going to happen just a few meters later. Under not very clear circumstances - as from what was shown on TV - he and his teammate Lorenzo Fluxá (SPA) came together in the middle of the first part of the Mistral straight while duelling for P19, bringing out the first Safety Car of the race. The same situation happened again two minutes to the end, with G4 being in trouble this time with Axel Gnos (CHE) not braking enough behind Alessandro Famularo (VEN) and hitting him right in the back at Virage de Bendor (turn 12). This brought out the second and last Safety Car of the race, which eventually ended the racing action.

García & Hadjar in Race 1 - It was not the perfect day for G4 as also Belén García (SPA) collected damage to her front wing and her floor by hitting some bollards as she was pushed wide at the exit of the S de la Verrerie (turn 2) by KIC’s Nico Göhler (GER) while racing for P28. R-ace’s Isack Hadjar (FRA) in the meantime had to make his way through the field as an issue at the end of the formation lap left him in last place (P35) and starting from the pit lane. He then got to the chequered flag in P22.

Isack Hadjar | © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

The Podium of Race 1 – No changes of positions happened in the leading group: Saucy got first to the chequered flag in front of the other French, R-ace’s Hadrien David. What Belov was able to achieve was indeed special, as a podium in his first race of his FRECA season confirmed all the good quality he had shown in the previous sessions. The Russian got to P3 in front of ART’s Gabriele Minì (ITA) who recovered good points in the rookies’ standings after Hadjar’s woes.

Gabriele Minì | © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

Saucy’s Disqualification from Race 1 – More drama came five hours after the race (more or less at 8 PM UTC +2): the winner was disqualified thanks to a technical infringement: a Belleville washer was mounted incorrectly in his car. The mistake had happened following the car rebuilt after the Big One that had happened the week before in Monaco. A human mistake for which ART GP claimed to be “very sorry”. Consequently, his race win was handed to David and all the finishing order moved one place up due to the sanction.

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

Q2 – Qualifying Practice 2 saw Saucy again on Pole, always on a planet of his own and keeping a three tenths’ gap to the rest of the field. The fight for P3 was really nice with the two rookies Minì & Hadjar collected in less than two hundredths between each other. Boya was not able to put a time lap together, but the stewards allowed the Spaniard to race thanks to the consistency he had proven previously during the weekend.

Results from Q2 | © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

David’s Great Recovery in Race 2 – Again drama for R-ace GP on the formation lap: this time it was David’s turn. He was set to start P2 but sadly stalled his car when the green lights came out for the start of the formation lap and then started from the pitlane, behind everyone else (P35). The recovery he made, though, looked even greater than the one he had made in Race 1 in Barcelona. He was gaining impressively almost two places per lap and as he got to the last lap, at the start of the lap he was P12 and he entered the top 10 thanks first to a move on Prema’s Dino Beganovic (SWE) and then a very aggressive (but fair) slam on the side of ART’s Thomas ten Brinke (NED) down the inside at Virage de Bendor (turn 12).

From Left to Right: Hadrien David & Thomas ten Brinke |

| © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

The Rookies’ Start in Race 2 – Taking profit of the empty spot left by David, Gabriele Minì made a fantastic start trying to chase the leader Saucy round the outside of the entry into the S de la Verrerie (turn 1). On the other hand, Hadjar had a nightmare start, thanks to which he lost two places. After a couple of corners though, Minì started to slow down due to a technical issue which forced him to retire in the pits and to say farewell to his glory chances. In the same lap, FA’s Gabriel Bortoleto (BRA) was forced to lose track by replacing his broken front wing.

The first two cars from left to right: Gabriele Minì Attacking Grégoire Saucy at the Start of R2 |

| © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

The Clashes & Duels from Race 2 – From what we had seen also in Imola, the Prema cars do not have a good relationship with Arden’s Alex Quinn (GBR) as he was tacked from behind by Prema’s Paul Aron (EST) while fighting for P11. At the 13th minute, MP’s Kas Haverkort (NED) got his teammate Oliver Gøthe (DEN) for P15. 8 minutes later, Aron got through on ten Brinke for P9. Further in front, Arden’s William Alatalo (FIN) had to defend hard on Hadjar for P3 and the same was doing FA’s Andrea Rosso (ITA) with R-aces’ Zane Maloney (BAR) and KIC’s Patrik Pasma (FIN) for P5. The safety car was then deployed as Arden’s Nicola Marinangeli (ITA) (P25 at that time) spun and could not restart his car at the exit of the Virage du Camp (turn 5). The safety car coming in right before the last lap helped David to end his race on a high with those two moves. Saucy won in front of Belov, Alatalo & Hadjar.

The words from Race 2’s winner and the championship leader, Grégoire Saucy: “I am really happy and here I was the fastest. This demonstrates that the issue with my car yesterday and consequent disqualification had nothing to to with my great performance. We have worked hard with the team and all the people around me before the season and these are the results. Evidently I aim to win the Championship.”

This is what Alatalo said after Race 2, which deserves credit indeed… : “Finally a podium! I’m feeling like Floyd in this May weather. This is just the beginning. Next time I’m on the podium I wanna be hearing the Finnish national anthem!”

Andrea Rosso & Pietro Delli Guanti | © 2021 - Formula Regional European by Alpine

The three standings follow, with Andrea Rosso and Kas Haverkort standing out for the big number of points gained this weekend. This is what Rosso said: “We showed a very good pace during the whole race, and was just behind the first rookie, but had to deal with a driver behind and I preferred to be conservative in the closing stages. Anyway, we take 12 points, as one of the drivers in front (Belov - Ed.) was a Wild Card.”

Drivers' Standings | © sebmotors.info 2021

Teams' Standings | © sebmotors.info 2021

Rookies' Standings | © sebmotors.info 2021

You can re-watch the sessions at these links:

-Race 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9An-uumAv6U&t=2066s ;

-Race 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivxFagABR3w&t=2866s .

Next round will be at Zandvoort, Netherlands on June 19th.

Do not forget to follow sebmotors.info for the rest of the FRECA season also on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook & other social platforms here: https://linktr.ee/sebmotors.info !

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