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Michael Benyahia - Communiqué n°9

07/04/16 Double podium at Le Castellet for Michael Benyahia
Michael Benyahia - Championnat de France - Le Castellet

The promising young Moroccan motorsport hopeful Michael Benyahia began his second strong season in single-seaters in the French F4 Championship. At the opening meeting in 2016 on the Le Castellet circuit, he played a leading role with new enthusiasm, and was rewarded with two 3rd places after the first two races. His impressive progress during the off season now opens up new horizons.

 

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At only 15, Michael Benyahia already has seven years of experience in karting. After a remarkable debut in the Rotax Micro and Mini Max and as well as TaG Junior, in the Florida Winter Tour and SKUSA, he obtained a significant 6th in Mini Max at the Rotax World Finals in New Orleans in 2013 before competing in the 2014 CIK-FIA Academy Trophy in Europe. In 2015, he took the challenge of venturing to take his first steps in single-seaters as the youngest driver in the French F4 Championship organised by Auto Sport Academy under the aegis of the FFSA.


Although incomplete, his first single-seater season allowed Michael Benyahia to learn the basics of car control. Actively supported by his coach Stéphane Daoudi, he was able to use his new skills to prepare for 2016. During the winter training he took a new step in the control of his car, a Signatech with a 1.6l Renault engine with 160 hp, capable of reaching 220 km / h.


From free practice, Michael showed auspicious speed that was confirmed by 4th position in official qualifying. In the enthusiasm of the first race of the season, Michael avoided the pitfalls and quickly joined the top three well away from his pursuers. He drove well to take a podium for the first time in his young car racing career. This excellent result was not a fluke as he confirmed it in Race 2 in much less favourable conditions. Indeed the format of the French F4 Championship sets up a reverse grid for the second race of the meeting and this time Michael started from 7th position. Despite an eventful race in the pack and the intervention of the Safety Car, he again reached the podium, less than a second off the 2nd-placed driver.


The two Sunday races were disrupted by various incidents. Michael's car would not start on the grid for Race 3 and he was forced to start from the pits with a significant delay from his opponents. He nevertheless managed to return to 11th position. With very little luck in Race 4, Michael met with a driver who had braked too early at the second corner and he had to return to the pits to replace his damaged front wing. The mishap cost him more than two minutes and deprived him of any chance of a good result.


The first round of the 2016 French F4 Championship has proved that Michael Benyahia now has a place among the best drivers in the field. His improvement during the off season has been remarkable. The first results of the season enable him to set the target of a place in the top three at the end of the year.

 

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Qualifying Practice: 4th fastest time and 4th second fastest time
Race 1: 3rd
Race 2: 3rd
Race 3: 11th
Race 4: 15th by 1 lap


Provisional 2016 French F4 Championship classification after Le Castellet (1/6): 4th with 30 points.

 

2016 French F4 Championship Calendar
1st - 3rd April: Le Castellet (83) - Supporting Meeting: WTCC + F3 FIA European Championship
13th - 15th May: Pau (64) - Supporting Meeting: GP Pau + F3 FIA European Championship
3rd - 5th June: Lédenon (30) - Supporting Meeting: GT Tour
8th - 10th July: Magny-Cours (58) - Supporting Meeting: GT Tour
9th - 11th September: Le Mans (72) - Supporting Meeting: GT Tour
5th - 6th November: Barcelona (ESP) - Supporting Meeting: International GT Open + 3.5 V8 Formula

 

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