At the Nogaro circuit, where he took his first F4 victory last year, the Australian Hugh Barter handled the Qualifying session perfectly, setting two excellent lap times in quick succession. Barter will therefore start from pole position for Races 1 and 2. Souta Arao, a Suzuka Racing School graduate and Red Bull protégée, and Pierre-Alexandre Provost were the other two strong performers in the hotly contested Qualifying session.
The sky in Nogaro was a superb blue when the 24 cars took to the Paul Armagnac circuit, with an air temperature of over 20 degrees! With such a large field and 11 different nationalities represented, the suspense was bound to be intense and indeed it remained so for many minutes, except perhaps for Hugh Barter, as he explains. “The conditions were excellent; I had an open track in front of me and I managed to gradually build up the tyre temperature without overheating. I started to feel strong grip at the end of my third flying lap and I gave it my all for the next three laps. The work done with the FFSA Academy technical staff during Free Practice paid off! When I felt that the effectiveness of the tyres was starting to drop, I preferred to ease off and then return to the pits to save them. I was a bit stressed watching the other drivers’ lap times, I was afraid that someone would manage to get ahead of me in the next few minutes, but it held.”
Most drivers set their fastest lap between their fourth and sixth laps on the track, but some had to wait one or two more laps to get into the coveted top 10. Already well acclimatised to his new surroundings, Japan’s Souta Arao finished just 8 hundredths behind the Australian. Pierre-Alexandre Provost, who rose to prominence in 2021 during his first season in the F4 Academy, showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with after this session, which he finished in 3rd place. He will even start on the front row on Easter Monday in Race 3 after setting an excellent 2nd fastest time ahead of last year’s promising F4 Junior champion, Alessandro Giusti. Ranked 4th, Elliott Vayron will certainly be a contender for the podium during the meeting.
In this very competitive context, Enzo Geraci did not lose out in 6th position ahead of Belgian Lorens Lecertua, Switzerland’s Dario Cabanelas and Japanese driver Yuto Momura. By narrowly winning his place in the top 10, Enzo Peugeot will have the opportunity to start on pole in Race 2, according to the principle of the inverted grid for the top 10 in the Qualifying session.
Continuation of the Easter Cup / F4 Academy programme
Sunday 17th April: Race 1 (10:45 – 11:10) and Race 2 (16:50 – 17:15)
Monday 18th April: Race 3 (11:50 – 12:15)
Info FFSA Academy / Photo © KSP – Guillaume Veuve