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2024 Formula Regional European Championship (FRECA)


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Poll: Who will be the FRECA 2024 champion? (17 member(s) have cast votes)

Who will be the FRECA 2024 champion?

  1. Amand (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. Câmara (5 votes [29.41%])

    Percentage of vote: 29.41%

  3. Deligny (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. Giltaire (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. Giusti (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  6. Strømsted (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  7. Taponen (6 votes [35.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.29%

  8. Ugochukwu (6 votes [35.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.29%

  9. Wharton (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  10. Other (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#1 Racer3000

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Posted 10 November 2023 - 18:09

Before FRECA starts next year we will also have again Formula Regional Middle East in jan-feb, which I consider a great appetizer.  :cool:
 
2024 Formula Regional Middle East Championship Calendar:
 
12–14 Jan Yas Marina Circuit, United Arab Emirates
19–21 Jan Yas Marina Circuit, United Arab Emirates
2–4 Feb Dubai Autodrome, United Arab Emirates
9–11 Feb Yas Marina Circuit, United Arab Emirates
16–18 Feb Dubai Autodrome, United Arab Emirates
 
2024 Formula Regional European Championship Calendar:
 
10–12 May Hockenheim (DEU)
24-26 May Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)
07-09 June Zandvoort (NLD)
21-23 June Hungaroring (HUN)
12-14 July Mugello (ITA)
19-21 July Paul Ricard (FRA)
06-08 September Imola (ITA)
13-15 September Red Bull Ring (AUT)
27-29 September Barcelona (ESP)
25-27 October Monza (ITA)
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Ugo Ugochukwu is confirmed with Prema and Noah Strømsted with RPM. Rumours say Rafael Câmara will do a second season with Prema and that James Wharton will drive for the team too. Rumours also say R-Ace drivers could be Enzo Deligny, Tuukka Taponen and Zachary David, and that the ART line-up could be 100% french with Evan Giltaire, Alessandro Giusti and Marcus Amand (doing a second season with the team).
 
What are you expecting from the 2024 season?
 


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#2 Racer3000

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Posted 14 November 2023 - 22:38

Collective tests today at Mugello (four sessions), with a lot of new drivers. Source: https://www.italiaracing.net/

 

 

 

1 - Roman Bilinski - Trident - 1'43"137 - 2° turno

2 - Nikhil Bohra - MP Motorsport - 1'43"346 - 4° turno

3 - Noah Stromsted - RPM - 1'43"367 - 3° turno

4 - Brando Badoer - Van Amersfoort - 1'43"486 - 2° turno

5 - Nikita Bedrin - MP Motorsport - 1'43"668 - 4° turno

6 - Giovanni Maschio - RPM - 1'43"668 - 4° turno

7 - Rafael Camara - Prema - 1'43"706 - 2° turno

8 - Valerio Rinicella - MP Motorsport - 1'43"850 - 2° turno

9 - Tuukka Taponen - R-Ace - 1'43"952 - 3° turno

10 - Nicola Lacorte - Trident - 1'43"965 - 2° turno

11 - James Wharton - Prema - 1'44"020 - 2° turno

12 - Pedro Clerot - Van Amersfoort - 1'44"031 - 4° turno

13 - Zachary David - R-Ace - 1'44"139 - 3° turno

14 - Akshay Bohra - R-Ace - 1'44"288 - 3° turno

15 - Evan Giltaire - ART - 1'44"537 - 3° turno

16 - Ruiqi Liu - Trident - 1'44"560 - 4° turno

17 - Enzo Deligny - R-Ace - 1'44"619 - 3° turno

18 - Alessandro Giusti - ART - 1'44"640 - 2° turno

19 - Kanato Le - G4 Racing - 1'44"813 - 4° turno

20 - Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi - RPM - 1'44"947 - 4° turno

21 - Jesse Carrasquedo - G4 Racing - 1'45"235 - 4° turno

22 - Ivan Klymenko - KIC - 1'45"341 - 4° turno

23 - Marta Garcia - Prema - 1'45"401 - 3° turno

24 - Yaroslav Veselaho - ART - 1'45"942 - 4° turno 

25 - Finley Green - G4 Racing - 1'46"803 - 3° turno

26 - Lena Buhler - ART - 1'46"821 - 4° turno

27 - Lucas Fecury - G4 Racing - 1'47"128 - 3° turno

 



#3 Frood

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Posted 14 November 2023 - 23:05

Usual smattering of decent talents and ones who shouldn't be anywhere near Formula Regional. Finley Green is an odd one - he's the only name on there I don't recognise - appears he's never raced outside of Ginettas, and doesn't appear to have raced much at all for 3 years.

Either way, I wouldn't put much stock in the times, seeing as Maschio was a) sixth; and b) managed to go for more than five laps without crashing.

Would say if this is anywhere close to the grid for next year, Câmara should walk it without a great deal of bother. Bedrin could be a contender if he does make a step back from F3 permanently.

#4 Racer3000

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Posted 14 November 2023 - 23:25

I believe we could add Ugochukwu to the above list and then we have 90% of next year's grid. I'm expecting just minor changes to this list when next season starts.



#5 Racer3000

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Posted 15 November 2023 - 19:45

Day 2 at Mugello:

 

 

 

1 - Roman Bilinski – Trident – 1’43”235 – 2° turno

2 – Noah Stromsted – RPM – 1’42”809 – 1° turno

3 – Brando Badoer – Van Amersfoort – 1’43”091 – 2° turno

4 – Nikhil Bohra – MP Motorsport – 1’43”130 – 1° turno

5 – Rafael Camara – Prema – 1’43”247 – 2° turno

6 – Nikita Bedrin – MP Motorsport – 1’43”362 – 2° turno

7 – Nicola Lacorte – Trident – 1’43”403 – 2° turno

8 – Tuukka Taponen – R-Ace – 1’43”470 – 1° turno

9 – Akshay Bohra – R-Ace – 1’43”514 – 2° turno

10 – Pedro Clerot – Van Amersfoort – 1’43”644 – 1° turno

11 – Giovanni Maschio – RPM – 1’43”665 – 2° turno

12 – Zachary David – R-Ace – 1’43”695 – 2° turno

13 – Ruiqi Liu – Trident – 1’43”748 – 2° turno

14 – Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi – RPM – 1’43”891 – 1° turno

15 – James Wharton – Prema – 1’43”909 – 2° turno

16 – Valerio Rinicella – MP Motorsport – 1’43”962 – 2° turno

17 – Evan Giltaire – ART – 1’44”038 – 2° turno

18 – Kanato Le – G4 Racing – 1’44”201 – 2° turno

19 – Enzo Deligny – R-Ace – 1’44”368 – 1° turno

20 – Alessandro Giusti – ART – 1’44”512 – 2° turno

21 – Marta Garcia – Prema – 1’44”969 – 1° turno

22 – Jesse Carrasquedo – G4 Racing – 1’44”996 – 1° turno

23 – Ivan Klymenko – KIC – 1’45”103 – 2° turno

24 – Lena Buhler – ART – 1’45”475 – 2° turno

25 – Yaroslav Veselaho – ART – 1’45”486 – 1° turno

26 – Lucas Fecury – G4 Racing – 1’45”999 – 1° turno

27 – Finley Green – G4 Racing – 1’46”071 – 2° turno

 



#6 Racer3000

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Posted 21 November 2023 - 23:03

Collective tests at Imola (nov 20-21). Source: italiaracing.net

 

Day 1:

 

 

 

1 - Roman Bilinski - Trident - 1'39"396
2 - Alessandro Giusti - ART - 1'39"423
3 - Noah Stromsted - RPM - 1'39"713
4 - Nikhil Bohra - MP Motorsport - 1'39"733
5 - Ivan Domingues - Van Amersfoort - 1'39"775
6 - Nikita Bedrin - MP Motorsport - 1'39"808
7 - Tuukka Taponen - R-Ace - 1'39"809
8 - Akshay Bohra - R-Ace - 1'39"818
9 - Rafael Camara - Prema - 1'39"822
10 - Valerio Rinicella - MP Motorsport - 1'39"826
11 - Ugo Ugochukwu - Prema - 1'39"838
12 - Brando Baoder - Van Amersfoort - 1'39"899
13 - Pedro Clerot - Van Amersfoort - 1'40"052
14 - James Wharton - Prema - 1'40"127
15 - Evan Giltaire - ART - 1'40"198
16 - Nicola Lacorte - Trident - 1'40"210
17 - Matteo De Palo - Sainteloc - 1'40"236
18 - Enzo Deligny - R-Ace - 1'40"249
19 - Maya Weug - KIC - 1'40"258
20 - Zachary David - R-Ace - 1'40"459
21 - Thomas Lebbon - RPM - 1'40"485
22 - Theophile Nael - Sainteloc - 1'40"487
23 - Enzo Peugeot - Sainteloc - 1'40"633
24 - Jesse Carrasquedo - G4 Racing - 1'40"651
25 - Ruiqi Liu - Trident - 1'40"773
26 - Giovanni Maschio - RPM - 1'40"861
27 - Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi - G4 Racing - 1'41"033
28 - Kanato Le - G4 Racing - 1'41"067
29 - Lena Buhler - ART - 1'41"660
30 - Ivan Klymenko - KIC - 1'42"825
31 - Yaroslav Veselaho - ART - 1'42"896
32 - Oleksandr Savinkov - AKM - 1'42"990

 

 

Day 2:

 

 

 

1 - Jesse Carrasquedo - G4 Racing - 1'54"904

2 - Kanato Le - G4 Racing - 1'55"274

3 - Roman Bilinski - Trident - 1'55"478
4 - Noah Stromsted - RPM - 1'55"505
5 - Alessandro Giusti - ART - 1'55"631
6 - Rafael Camara - Prema - 1'55"739
7 - Ivan Domingues - Van Amersfoort - 1'55"748
8 - Evan Giltaire - ART - 1'55"983
9 - James Wharton - Prema - 1'56"204
10 - Matteo De Palo - Sainteloc - 1'56"291
11 - Ugo Ugochukwu - Prema - 1'56"383

12 - Theophile Nael - Sainteloc - 1'56"443
13 - Tuukka Taponen - R-Ace - 1'56"491
14 - Valerio Rinicella - MP Motorsport - 1'56"527
15 - Nikita Bedrin - MP Motorsport - 1'56"734
16 - Pedro Clerot - Van Amersfoort - 1'56"748
17 - Enzo Deligny - R-Ace - 1'57"027
18 - Nikhil Bohra - MP Motorsport - 1'57"082
19 - Zachary David - R-Ace - 1'57"203
20 - Nicola Lacorte - Trident - 1'57"253
21 - Thomas Lebbon - RPM - 1'57"477
22 - Giovanni Maschio - RPM - 1'57"495
23 - Ruiqi Liu - Trident - 1'57"649
24 - Brando Badoer - Van Amersfoort - 1'57"674
25 - Akshay Bohra - R-Ace - 1'57"756
26 - Enzo Peugeot - Sainteloc - 1'58"218
27 - Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi - G4 Racing - 1'58"353
28 - Yaroslav Veselaho - ART - 1'58"800
29 - Lena Buhler - ART - 1'59"096
30 - Ivan Klymenko - KIC - 1'59"220
31 - Oleksandr Savinkov - AKM - 2'01"601
32 - Maya Weug - KIC - no time

 



#7 Frood

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 12:02

Saintéloc have expanded to three full-time cars and carry over the three rookies they ran in testing: Spanish F4 champion Théophile Naël, who won the title with Saintéloc; Matteo de Palo, who was 5th in the same championship; and Enzo Peugeot, the French F4 runner-up.

#8 Frood

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Posted 04 January 2024 - 21:11

Grid is starting to fill up.

Team            Driver 1          Driver 2           Driver 3
Arden             
ART             
G4              Romain Andriolo   Jesse Carrasquedo
KIC            
Monolite      
MP Motorsport   Nikhil Bohra      Valerio Rinicella  
Prema           Rafael Câmara     Ugo Ugochukwu      James Wharton  + Marta García 
R-ace GP        Tuukka Taponen
RPM             Giovanni Maschio  Noah Strømsted
Saintéloc       Matteo de Palo    Théophile Naël     Enzo Peugeot 
Trident         Roman Biliński    Nicola Lacorte     Liu Ruiqi
Van Amersfoort  Pedro Clerot

New signings since the last update:

  • G4 Racing have signed Romain Andriolo and Jesse Carrasquedo. Andriolo has spent two years in French F4, taking one win in each season and finishing 4th overall in 2023. Probably not a world-beater, but will at least be competent. Carrasquedo comes up from Spanish F4, where he spent the year with Campos; of the 6 Campos cars in the series, he was the lowest, languishing in 18th. The next worst Campos, Andrés Cárdenas, finished 8th, and scored 109 points. Carrasquedo scored... 4. Expectations aren't high.
  • MP Motorsport have signed Valerio Rinicella and Nikhil Bohra. Rinicella is also a Spanish F4 graduate, finishing 3rd this year with MP. Bohra moves across from Trident for a second season in FRECA after finishing 11th overall last year.
  • Prema have retained the services of Rafael Câmara for another year, and you'd have to think that it's win or bust for the Brazilian now he's out of Antonelli's shadow. James Wharton has been dropped from the Ferrari Driver Academy, but graduates to FRECA from Prema's Italian F4 team. He's a solid but unspectacular pair of hands who should be able to score some decent points throughout the season.
  • R-ace so far have only confirmed Tuukka Taponen, who was teamed up with Wharton last year, but continues in the FDA unlike his former team-mate. He's an ex-karting World Champion, but had a somewhat disappointing first year in cars.
  • RPM have signed serial gravel trap botherer and red flag enthusiast Giovanni Maschio. The Italian has yet to score any points in his open-wheel career, and I don't expect him to start now.
  • Trident retain Roman Biliński for third season in the series. Alpine junior Nicola Lacorte comes up from Italian F4, as does Liu Ruiqi, who didn't score at all in a season where his team-mate won the championship.
  • VAR have taken onboard Spanish F4 graduate Pedro Clerot, who is a possible future Ferrari Academy driver. His 2023 started incredibly strongly, with two wins and a second place - after which he didn't finish on the podium again. Definitely one to watch, though, if he can get everything hooked up.


#9 Frood

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Posted 08 January 2024 - 16:06

The first of the two “off-season” Formula Regional championships is kicking off this weekend - Formula Regional Middle East will be present at Yas Marina. Sadly, the championship is only visiting Dubai and Yas Marina this year; I actually thought the Kuwait circuit they raced at last year was pretty good for racing. Anyway, the teams/drivers confirmed for the first round are:

 

Evans GP — Will be running two drivers who finished mid-pack in GB3 last season, John Bennett (UK) and Costa Toparis (Australia).

 

MP Motorsport — Three of the four drivers have experience in Formula Regional cars, with Indian-American-Singaporean Nikhil Bohra being the most high-profile of them; he finished 9th in the Middle East championship last year and 12th in FRECA. Pedro de la Rosa’s nephew Bruno del Pino was a midfielder in Eurocup-3 in 2023, and Emerson Fittipaldi Jr. was a backmarker in FRECA for Monolite. The one FR rookie is Rome native Valerio Rinicella, who showed decent pace on his way to 3rd in Spanish F4 last year.

 

Mumbai Falcons Racing —  Don’t let the name deceive you, this is, for all intents and purposes, Prema. A strong lineup, as you’d expect - Ferrari junior Rafael Câmara is the one Formula Regional veteran, and was third in the Middle East last year behind champion Antonelli, and one other driver who will be present and likely challenging Câmara for the title. He’s joined by Red Bull junior Arvid Lindblad, who is otherwise skipping this rung on the ladder to go up to FIA F3, and Italian F4 team-mates Ugo Ugochukwu (a McLaren junior) and James Wharton, making their Formula Regional débuts.

 

PHM AIX Racing — Rather the opposite of how they fared in F3 and F2 last year, PHM pushed Andrea Kimi Antonelli all the way to the last race in the series in 2023, with their star driver Taylor Barnard. Barnard will be returning this year, and cements himself as one of the favourites. He’s joined by McLaren junior, and son of Luca, Brando Badoer; Thai racer Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, and Chinese youngster Liu Ruiqi. Badoer and Liu are coming from Italian F4, and Inthraphuvasak has experience in these cars from Eurocup-3.

 

Pinnacle Motorsport — This is the only Formula Regional series in which Pinnacle competes, so I wouldn’t expect them to be on the pace, though they may still be working with some input from Van Amersfoort Racing. Their headline driver is FIA F3 driver Mari Boya, who took two wins in the Middle East in 2023 on his way to 5th in the standings. He’ll be joined by Spanish F4 backmarker Alexander Abkhazava (racing under the flag of Kazakhstan), serial FRECA crasher Giovanni Maschio, and Fin Green, who doesn't appear to have raced a car of any description since 2020.

 

R-ace GP — Will likely be challenging Mumbai Falcons and PHM with FRECA runner-up Martinius Stenshorne. The Norwegian did a quiet partial season in the Middle East last year, and didn’t show anything like the speed he appeared quickly on the scene with in Europe. Also look out for Ferrari junior Tuukka Taponen; Maltese-Filipino racer Zachary David has also shown some speed on occasion in Italian F4. Jesse Carrasquedo will fill the fourth seat.

 

R&B Racing — The Chinese outfit were miles off the pace last year with their regular drivers, but the addition of Nikola Tsolov for the last round showed they could find some speed. They’re unlikely to show much speed with the pairing of Oscar Gao and Wang Zhongwei, though.

 

Saintéloc Racing - the pairing of Spanish F4 drivers Matteo de Palo and championship winner Théophile Naël will be carried over into FRECA, and Naël especially may spring a surprise. They’ll also be running a third Spanish F4 graduate in Pedro Clerot, whom is rumoured to be a possible future Ferrari junior.

 

Xcel Motorsport — Xcel are making the jump up from F4 for the first time, and bringing with them Noah Lisle, who will be racing for them in both UAE F4 and Formula Regional Middle East. The Australian took a few wins in British F4 this year, but finished a long way behind his championship-winning team-mate, Louis Sharp. Lisle’s team-mate will be Yaroslav Veselaho, a former drifting champion in his native Ukraine, but who showed little in the way of pace in French F4 in 2023.

 

I think it'll be between Câmara, Barnard, and Stenshorne for the title, but someone else might spring a surprise, as PHM and Barnard did last year.



#10 Frood

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Posted 11 January 2024 - 06:54

First test sessions for FRMEC were completed yesterday, to give us a first glimpse of who might be competitive this season (and possibly for FRECA, too). There were three names consistently in the Top 5 in all three sessions: Rafael Câmara (unsurprisingly); his team-mate Ugo Ugochukwu, who looked fast but wild in F3 machinery at Macau; and Théophile Naël. It's early days, but perhaps Saintéloc and the young Frenchman can provide the surprise package this year?

#11 Muppetmad

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Posted 11 January 2024 - 07:24

Ugochukwu has the pace for sure; he just needs to learn to keep his head when things go wrong.



#12 Frood

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 11:39

Race 1 will be live at 13:15 GMT.

 

 

Qualifying for Race 1 and Race 3 took place earlier this morning, and gave us a first glimpse at the competitive order. Here's how the Top 10 lines up after both sessions:

 

Race 1

Pos  Driver        Team            Gap
 1.  Barnard       PHM AIX         1:43.034
 2.  Taponen       R-ace GP        +0.046
 3.  Wharton       Mumbai Falcons  +0.056
 4.  Boya          Pinnacle        +0.110
 5.  Câmara        Mumbai Falcons  +0.110
 6.  Abkhazava     Pinnacle        +0.240
 7.  David         R-ace GP        +0.241
 8.  Stenshorne    R-ace GP        +0.244
 9.  Ugochukwu     Mumbai Falcons  +0.306
10.  Rinicella     MP Motorsport   +0.355

Race 3

Pos  Driver          Team            Gap
 1.  Barnard         PHM AIX         1:42.374
 2.  Ugochukwu       Mumbai Falcons  +0.258
 3.  Stenshorne      R-ace GP        +0.428
 4.  Taponen         R-ace GP        +0.431
 5.  Câmara          Mumbai Falcons  +0.492
 6.  Wharton         Mumbai Falcons  +0.553
 7.  Boya            Pinnacle        +0.571
 8.  Naël            Saintéloc       +0.607
 9.  Inthraphuvasak  PHM AIX         +0.664
10.  Rinicella       MP Motorsport   +0.746

A double pole position for Taylor Barnard, underlining his pace in these cars. The first qualifying session was a little disrupted, leading to some cars being out of position - hence Alex Abkhazava surprising with 6th on the grid! I think Câmara will be disappointed to have been outqualified by a team-mate in both sessions. Taponen also looking just as rapid as Stenshorne with much less experience in the car.

 

Disappointing efforts from both Arvid Lindblad, missing the top 10 in both sessions and being bottom of the Premas; and FRECA veteran Nikhil Bohra, who was only 19th and 20th. However, MP Motorsport have struggled this weekend as one of their shipping containers didn't arrive on time.


Edited by Frood, 13 January 2024 - 11:44.


#13 ANF

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 16:20

Race 1 will be live at 13:15 GMT.
 

There will be two more races tomorrow. Not sure about the times though.

#14 sladealonso

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Posted 14 January 2024 - 15:10

Great race three from Stenshorne, do we know if he kept the win?



#15 Frood

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Posted 14 January 2024 - 15:43

I believe he lost the win via a 5 second penalty, but I haven't yet seen official confirmation. Whilst it was a good move, I'd have done the same if I was in the stewards' office as he completed the pass off of the circuit. He'd have an argument had Barnard given him no room, but I think Taylor gave him enough space.

I think the track limits have been a bit embarrassing, actually. Half the time people were passing off track by not bothering with Turn 1, or cars being overtaken just skipped the chicane and kept the position.

Câmara has to be the most disappointed driver out there this weekend - seemed to lack outright pace in Race 1, got piledriven into retirement by team-mate James Wharton in Race 2, and took himself out of Race 3 by cutting across the front of Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and putting himself in the barrier.

Edited by Frood, 14 January 2024 - 15:50.


#16 Jellyfishcake

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Posted 14 January 2024 - 15:57

I believe he lost the win via a 5 second penalty, but I haven't yet seen official confirmation. Whilst it was a good move, I'd have done the same if I was in the stewards' office as he completed the pass off of the circuit. He'd have an argument had Barnard given him no room, but I think Taylor gave him enough space.

I think the track limits have been a bit embarrassing, actually. Half the time people were passing off track by not bothering with Turn 1, or cars being overtaken just skipped the chicane and kept the position.

Câmara has to be the most disappointed driver out there this weekend - seemed to lack outright pace in Race 1, got piledriven into retirement by team-mate James Wharton in Race 2, and took himself out of Race 3 by cutting across the front of Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and putting himself in the barrier.

 

I agree, Stenshorne to me eased off the brake knowing he could run off the track which enabled him to have the speed to go around Barnard, which to me means he gained an advantage.

 

Track limits in general were so poor, (almost to be expected as Abu Dhabi) the lack of any punishment and the ease of straightlining the run offs are too inviting for the drivers.

Several times drivers went off the track straight lining it avoiding being overtaken and then not being punished, if we had gravel they would actually try and stay on the track



#17 JvsKVB77

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Posted 14 January 2024 - 16:04

I believe he lost the win via a 5 second penalty, but I haven't yet seen official confirmation.
I think the track limits have been a bit embarrassing, actually. Half the time people were passing off track by not bothering with Turn 1, or cars being overtaken just skipped the chicane and kept the position.

And they not monitoring enter to corckscrew when almost everyone cheating. I think fair to say Barnard didn't leave him space, so it will be sad if penalty are true.

Edited by JvsKVB77, 14 January 2024 - 16:06.


#18 JvsKVB77

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Posted 14 January 2024 - 16:10

Yes, 5 second penalty to Martinius.
https://resultscdn.g...ip - Race 3.pdf

#19 sladealonso

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Posted 14 January 2024 - 18:35

No real surprise there. Shame, while it was a great move, there's no real option.



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#20 Frood

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Posted 17 January 2024 - 21:06

Formula Regional Middle East is in action again this weekend, on the full Yas Marina circuit. No changes to the grid this weekend (so far); all three races will be broadcast on the FRMEC YouTube page.

 

Additionally, the second off-season Formula Regional championship starts this weekend, with the Oceania (read: New Zealand) championship. This is the renamed Toyota Racing Series, and features one of the few races allowed to be called a "Grand Prix" outside of F1, with the New Zealand Grand Prix on the 18th of February, to be held for the first time at Highlands Motorsports Park. However, it'll be Taupo to kick things off for us this weekend.

 

There are 4 teams entered, with a total of 19 drivers for the first round; here's how the grid shapes up:

 

M2 Competition

The reigning champions took first and second in the championship in 2023, with champion Charlie Wurz moving on to a disappointing season in FRECA, but soon to embark on his first season in FIA F3; runner-up Callum Hedge went on to dominate Formula Regional Americas and has now firmly embedded himself in the IndyCar ladder by taking a berth in Indy NXT. They also ran arguably the fastest driver in the series last year, part-timer Laurens van Hoepen. The two drivers I'd expect to spearhead M2's campaign this year are Britsh-born Pole Roman Biliński, a veteran of two full seasons in FRECA, and the highest-placed returnee from last year, local man Liam Sceats, who finished 4th for M2 last year. Sceats went on to finish runner-up in Formula Regional Japan, so also has plenty of experience in Formula Regional machinery. Joining them will be new Alpine junior, Nicola Lacorte, who has middling results in Prema cars in Italian F4; Korean Michael Shin Woo-hyun, who cameo'd in FIA F3 last year with PHM; and Hong Kong's Gerrard Xie Wing Lam, a former Chinese F4 champion and whom comes across from GB3 like Shin.

 

Kiwi Motorsport

Kiwi's highest-placed driver in 2023 was third-placed Jacob Abel, of Indy NXT fame. Despite the name, Kiwi Motorsport has strong ties with the junior open-wheel ladder in America, and this is reflected in their line-up – all five drivers are North American, and have mostly raced in the States. Québécois driver Patrick Woods-Toth was the victor in US F4 in 2023, and makes his first step up the ladder here. He's joined by his championship rival - and runner-up - Titus Sherlock, with the Texan making a similar step up to resume their battle. Speaking of Texans, Kiwi are running another brace of them, with Jake Bonilla and Jett Bowling. Both have made little impact so far in their single-seater careers, however. Finally, Ontario native Mac Clark fills the final seat, and will likely be the one who produces any headline results. 5th in USF2000 I think belies how impressive Clark has been at times, and a double podium in a mid-season cameo in USF Pro 2000 shows what he can do. I think Clark could be a dark horse for the title if Kiwi have their act together.

 

Giles Motorsport

Giles didn't have the best run in 2023, and their highest full-time entrant was 9th-placed Chloe Chambers, though she did manage a win towards the end of the season. However, in the hands of part-time driver Louis Foster, the Giles car possibly had the best pace on the grid. Foster also managed to grab a win for the team, as did fellow part-timer Kaleb Ngatoa, who returns to Giles this year. Expect the home favourite to be a strong contender this year, too. FIA F3 driver Christian Mansell has also signed up for the season, and as the driver the furthest up the FIA ladder on the grid, should make himself the favourite for the title. Young Kiwi Alex Crosbie, the reigning New Zealand Formula Ford champion, is also given a chance to show what he can do in faster machinery. Rounding out the team is American Landan Matriano Lim, who is pretty much the opposite of his fellow US F4 peers Woods-Toth and Sherlock... in that he was probably the slowest driver on the US F4 grid last year. I'd be very surprised to see Lim making any headway at all.

 

mtec Motorsport

mtec have been absent from the premier New Zealand open-wheel championship since 2020, when they were partnered with veteran European outfit R-ace GP. Their lineup doesn't feature a great deal of promise, despite having two veterans of FIA Formula 3 on the books. Those veterans are, however, Hunter Yeany, who did a partial F3 season for Carlin last year before being given the chop; and talent vacuum Tommy Smith. The sole Brazilian representative on the grid is Lucas Fecury, who was the second-to-last full-time driver on the FROC grid last year and had little in the way of results in USF Juniors. The roster is rounded out by local lad Kaden Probst, who has some experience in Formula Regional machinery via his participation in Formula Open New Zealand, and Australian Elliott Cleary, who competed in Australian Formula Ford and Australian Trans Am in 2023 with some minor success.



#21 balage06

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Posted 17 January 2024 - 21:32

It's a bit of a shame that FRMEC keeps the top talent away from NZ, because those classic smaller tracks are so much more fun to drive on!



#22 Frood

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 16:53

I do have to correct myself on one point regarding FROC - there aren't 19 drivers entered for round 1, only 17 - neither Yeany or Clark will be present this weekend (there goes my prediction for Clark being a dark horse!)
 
FRMEC Round 2 from Abu Dhabi is this weekend. Here are the stream links for the three races, scheduled for Saturday 10:15 GMT & 15:40 GMT, and Sunday 14:50 GMT.
 

 

 

 
Here's how the Top 10 will line up for Races 1 and 3:
 
Race 1

Pos  Driver          Team            Time
 1.  Taponen         R-ace GP        1:49.874
 2.  Barnard         PHM AIX         +0.396
 3.  Boya            Pinnacle        +0.439
 4.  Stenshorne      R-ace GP        +0.491
 5.  Naël            Saintéloc       +0.522
 6.  De Palo         Saintéloc       +0.738
 7.  Inthraphuvasak  PHM AIX         +0.770
 8.  Câmara          Mumbai Falcons  +0.825
 9.  Ugochukwu       Mumbai Falcons  +0.846
10.  Rinicella       MP Motorsport   +0.886

Race 3

Pos  Driver          Team            Time
 1.  Taponen         R-ace GP        1:49.652
 2.  Barnard         PHM AIX         +0.070
 3.  Naël            Saintéloc       +0.227
 4.  Wharton         Mumbai Falcons  +0.235
 5.  Stenshorne      R-ace GP        +0.396
 6.  Ugochukwu       Mumbai Falcons  +0.479
 7.  Boya            Pinnacle        +0.483
 8.  Câmara          Mumbai Falcons  +0.567
 9.  Rinicella       MP Motorsport   +0.624
10.  Lindblad        Mumbai Falcons  +0.893

Taponen continues to impress, with a double pole position (and a chunky advantage in the first Quali session to boot). I thought he was fairly disappointing in Italian F4 last year, given the hype, but he seems to have gelled pretty quickly with Formula Regional machinery. Naël also showing he's no slouch given he's a rookie in the car, too. Conversely, I think Câmara needs to find some pace, or he'll run the risk of being outshone by some of the rookies in FRECA this year.



#23 JvsKVB77

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 19:56

Last year Tuukka also was more impressive in F4 UAE, but I hope this year he will be also good in FRECA, when Ugo and James will not have more experience, like it was in F4.

Edited by JvsKVB77, 19 January 2024 - 20:13.


#24 Frood

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 22:18

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, the Top 10 on the grid for Race 1 of Formula Regional Oceania. It wasn't even close at the top!

Pos  Driver     Team              Time
 1.  Mansell    Giles Motorsport  1:26.763
 2.  Bilinski   M2 Competition    +0.765
 3.  Xie        M2 Competition    +0.907
 4.  Sceats     M2 Competition    +0.913
 5.  Ngatoa     Giles Motorsport  +0.977
 6.  Shin       M2 Competition    +1.699
 7.  Crosbie    Giles Motorsport  +2.012
 8.  Fecury     mtec Motorsport   +2.130
 9.  Probst     mtec Motorsport   +2.271
10.  Smith      mtec Motorsport   +2.783

Not much of a surprise to see Mansell on top, though somewhat more surprising that he had a big advantage over Bilinski who has much more experience in Formula Regional machinery. Mansell's compatriot and fellow F3 driver Tommy Smith, meanwhile, should be frankly embarrassed to be so far off the pace!

 

Not a good session for the US F4 guys, with Woods-Toth and Sherlock both running into problems, which is a shame (especially for Woods-Toth, who seemed to be right up there on pace). Also not a good session for fellow US F4 graduate Landan Matriano Lim, who was the best part of 6 seconds off the pace despite having no issues...


Edited by Frood, 19 January 2024 - 22:19.


#25 ANF

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 22:34

Do you know if the FR Oceania races will be streamed anywhere?



#26 Frood

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 22:36

Do you know if the FR Oceania races will be streamed anywhere?

 

Motorsport.tv.



#27 Frood

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 10:05

The first FRMEC race is on in around 10 minutes.

 

For FROC Race 1:

 

Spoiler



#28 Muppetmad

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 10:56

His Italian F4 campaign last year wasn't spellbinding, but Taponen seems to have taken well to the Formula Regional car.



#29 Frood

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 10:59

I'll be interested to see what the stewards say about the Taponen/Stenshorne/Naël fight. It was exciting, but the R-ace pair were taking quite a lot of liberties with the white lines...



#30 Jellyfishcake

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 11:22

Once again driving standards (and abuse of track limits) were a bit of a joke in places.

 

Some nice racing aside from that, (shame the commentary for my YT stream was miles off 



#31 Viryfan

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 12:15

I'll be interested to see what the stewards say about the Taponen/Stenshorne/Naël fight. It was exciting, but the R-ace pair were taking quite a lot of liberties with the white lines...


Nael will be penalised anyway for his contact with Barnard...

#32 Muppetmad

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 16:05

Dumb incident between Wharton and Ugochukwu. Ugochukwu would have been wise to give more room, but that move from Wharton was nowhere close to being on.

 

Edit: All of the Mumbai Falcons have underdelivered here. Camara was gifted 3rd by all the drama, but somehow turned that into 6th.


Edited by Muppetmad, 20 January 2024 - 16:21.


#33 Frood

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 16:28

Wharton is rather making a habit of crashing into team-mates, unfortunately.

 

Great racing from Stenshorne and Taponen again, but Tuukka comes out ahead for the second time in a row. Prema seem to be missing something, but Câmara has flopped pretty hard so far this season.

 

And congratulations to Naël and Saintéloc, for their respective first wins at Formula Regional level.


Edited by Frood, 20 January 2024 - 16:29.


#34 Balnazzard

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 16:43

Well Taponen changed teams from Prema to R-Ace exactly because he felt like R-Ace could support him more than Prema could m. Last year part his difficulties came from the fact he had racing engineer who also was doing his first season in F4.

 

Also lets not forget that despite difficulties in Italian F4 championship he did very well in middle east championship last year too.

 

Still long way to go ofc but in my mind there is no doubt that he is going to be next Finnish F1 driver and hopefully also next Finnish F1 champion in next 10 years. There is definitely something about him that reminds me of Hakkinen and Kimi rather than Heikki or Valtteri



#35 Jellyfishcake

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 17:22

Not Prema Mumbai Falcons have been the big disapointment so far these 5 races.

Expected more from Camera really 



#36 Frood

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Posted 21 January 2024 - 10:34

FROC Weekend Update:

 

Race 2

 

Spoiler

 

Race 3

 

Spoiler


#37 Muppetmad

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Posted 21 January 2024 - 15:36

The one corner where they don't have a camera - the hotel - is where everything has happened in this race. The Mumbai Falcons continue to underwhelm. Taponen and Stenshorne are the standouts to me so far this year.

 

Edit: Naël is doing a strong job too, given his age and level of experience.


Edited by Muppetmad, 21 January 2024 - 15:43.


#38 Frood

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Posted 21 January 2024 - 15:48

I'd say Taponen and Naël. Stenshorne needs to start beating Taponen again.



#39 Viryfan

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Posted 21 January 2024 - 16:47

I'd say Taponen and Naël. Stenshorne needs to start beating Taponen again.


Being outdone speedwise for Stenshorne is no good look.

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#40 SkorbiF1

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Posted 21 January 2024 - 18:10

Taponen was a class above the rest the whole weekend. 



#41 Frood

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Posted 21 January 2024 - 20:46

The one corner where they don't have a camera - the hotel - is where everything has happened in this race. 

 

Apparently Lindblad was found at fault for the collision we didn't see, and given a 5-place grid penalty for the next race. Both Lindblad and Boya have also been given €1000 suspended fines for arguing on the track and delaying the marshals' clean-up operation!



#42 ANF

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Posted 21 January 2024 - 21:56

Apparently Lindblad was found at fault for the collision we didn't see, and given a 5-place grid penalty for the next race. Both Lindblad and Boya have also been given €1000 suspended fines for arguing on the track and delaying the marshals' clean-up operation!

We need onboard videos posted on social media NOW!

#43 ANF

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Posted 21 January 2024 - 22:50

So it looks like Lindblad must have hit Boya from behind. I made a couple of GIFs of the little that could be seen: The first one https://i.ibb.co/kBN2bzS/boylin1.gif shows four cars exiting T9 – it's Ugochukwu ahead of Boya, and Lindblad and Câmara side by side – and the second one https://i.ibb.co/4j2YHgg/boylin2.gif shows the same cars from behind through T11. (T10 is the kink where the drivers rejoin the track when they have been forced off at the exit of T9.)

Given that the intervals at the control line after T8 were...

Boya
Ugochukwu +0.114
Lindblad +0.219
Câmara +0.098

...it looks like Ugochukwu had just passed Boya on the inside in T9, and Câmara was trying to do the same on Lindblad, but Lindblad was still alongside on the outside.

So was Lindblad forced off the track at the exit of T9? Did Lindblad and Câmara make contact at T11 before Lindblad collided with Boya? It kind of looks like they did in the second GIF, doesn't it?

 

(According to the commentator, half the FRMEC field will be racing in Formula 1 within five years and at least a handful of the drivers will become world champions, so they'd better get used to this scrutiny!)


Edited by ANF, 21 January 2024 - 22:57.


#44 Balnazzard

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 00:57

So it looks like Lindblad must have hit Boya from behind. I made a couple of GIFs of the little that could be seen: The first one https://i.ibb.co/kBN2bzS/boylin1.gif shows four cars exiting T9 – it's Ugochukwu ahead of Boya, and Lindblad and Câmara side by side – and the second one https://i.ibb.co/4j2YHgg/boylin2.gif shows the same cars from behind through T11. (T10 is the kink where the drivers rejoin the track when they have been forced off at the exit of T9.)

Given that the intervals at the control line after T8 were...

Boya
Ugochukwu +0.114
Lindblad +0.219
Câmara +0.098

...it looks like Ugochukwu had just passed Boya on the inside in T9, and Câmara was trying to do the same on Lindblad, but Lindblad was still alongside on the outside.

So was Lindblad forced off the track at the exit of T9? Did Lindblad and Câmara make contact at T11 before Lindblad collided with Boya? It kind of looks like they did in the second GIF, doesn't it?

 

(According to the commentator, half the FRMEC field will be racing in Formula 1 within five years and at least a handful of the drivers will become world champions, so they'd better get used to this scrutiny!)

 Hah had good laugh at the last bit the commentator definitely seems bit too overhyping/being over optimistic for some of the grid but atleast he aint wrong about Taponen. 

 

The Finn will definitely be in F1 in few years time and has the talent to become next Finnish F1 champion. Definitely was level above the rest this weekend



#45 Frood

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 07:23

I'm cautiously optimistic about Taponen. He looked simply superb this weekend - he set the fastest lap in Races 1 and 3, and both were over 7 tenths quicker than the next car.

However, it's worth remembering that he looked really good in F4 UAE last year, and then didn't have the best season in Italian F4. Some of that is down to issues he was apparently having with Prema, granted, but let's wait for the European season to start before we promote him to F1! I can't deny that he's started his Formula Regional career very impressively, though. As we've already said, Stenshorne needs to have a look at what he was missing this weekend or he'll see his star start to fade a little.

As an unashamed Taylor Barnard fan, I have to admit that he disappointed me this weekend. His starts from the front row were poor, and his wheel-to-wheel racing, usually very good, was lacking. Hopefully it's just a blip in form, perhaps due to the PHM not looking quite as fast this weekend.

Edited by Frood, 22 January 2024 - 09:11.


#46 ANF

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 10:07

By the way, take a look at the aftermath of this massive accident in the 6-hour Abu Dhabi sportscar race. A car went off in T4 (or exit of T3) and hit the armco barrier on drivers' right at the very end of T4. I don't know whether the car also hit a big structure that holds an enormous advertising sign – if it didn't hit it, the driver was very lucky, because that structure is very close to the barrier and the barrier doesn't even have a debris fence. Quite amazing that it has passed circuit inspections all these years...




adsign1.jpg

adsign2.jpg


Edited by ANF, 22 January 2024 - 10:10.


#47 JvsKVB77

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 14:24

Tiger was very good this weekend :clap: 

Next time it's Lindblad's turn to be crashed by Wharton?)



#48 Jellyfishcake

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 14:27

It seems weird to me that in this championship they have a reverse grid top 10, which offers max points.

Really benefits the not quite top line drivers and those who are 11th - 14th end up with nothing

Really shows up in the champ standings 



#49 Muppetmad

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 14:30

I hadn't noticed the reverse grid race is full points - that's crazy.



#50 JvsKVB77

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 14:32

It seems weird to me that in this championship they have a reverse grid top 10, which offers max points.

Really benefits the not quite top line drivers and those who are 11th - 14th end up with nothing

Really shows up in the champ standings 

Reverse grid are evil. But if they have it its deffinetly need reduce points, yeah. But not first year this championship thinks differently) 


Edited by JvsKVB77, 22 January 2024 - 14:33.