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    Italian Formula 4: three podiums for Taponen at season finale

    Maranello 16 ottobre 2023

    Tuuka Taponen came away from the final round of the season with two second places and one third. James Wharton scored plenty of points and Aurelia Nobels finished third in the women’s classification.

    This past weekend, Vallelunga hosted the seventh and final round of the Italian Formula 4 championship. Tuukka Taponen was a front-runner, taking two second places and one third. The 16 year old Ferrari Driver Academy student confirmed progress shown in recent rounds to score plenty of points, finishing the season fifth on 196 points, making him the second best rookie driver. “The weekend was pretty good as we were competitive in qualifying and in all three races,” he said. “I think I did the best I could, as in general, there was a slight lack of performance, but the weekend as a whole was positive. I would like to thank Prema for their support throughout this busy season, as well as the FDA of course for all the work we have done together and thanks too to my sponsors. I still have the final round of the Euro4 series at the Barcelona circuit and I will head to Spain with just one aim in mind, to go for the win.”

    James. Wharton ended the weekend with a fifth, a sixth and a fourth place, bringing his total to 205.5 points, to ensure he finished fourth in the championship. It was quite a tough weekend right from qualifying,” commented James. “We didn’t manage to start as high up the grid as we’d hoped and that affected the race results. We fought back in the three races and in the end, I finished the Italian season in fourth place, hitting the target set going into the weekend.” 

    Aurelia. Aurelia Nobels finished well enough in Vallelunga to claim third place in the women’s category in the championship, 20 points off the leader. “In the end there were several positives to take away from this weekend, even if qualifying turned out to be tougher than expected,” she said.” However, my race pace was good, a few tenths off the quickest. I’ve learned a lot over the course of the season, with great support from the team and all the FDA staff and I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made. Now I’m focussing on Barcelona for the final round of the Euro4 championship.”

    Race-1. In the first race at Vallelunga, Taponen started from second on the grid, Wharton from ninth and Nobels from 20th. Tuukka got away well to come round in second at the end of a hectic opening lap. James got a great start to be fifth, but Nobels lost five places. The order in the top five did not change all the way to the chequered flag, while Nobels made up a few places to finish 22nd

    Race-2. Taponen, Wharton and Nobels lined up on the grid in second, ninth and 22nd places respectively. The race was red-flagged almost immediately after the start because of a midfield incident involving several cars. The race resumed after half an hour with a rolling start. Taponen held on to second place and tried to attack the leader, Kacper Sztuka, who went on to win the title, and then he had to fend off attacks from Brando Badoer. Wharton moved up to sixth and Nobels to 17th

    Race-3. Once again, Taponen lined up second on the grid, with Wharton seventh and Nobels 22nd. Tuuka dropped to third after the start, followed by James who had got away well. There were no more changes at the head of the field so they finished in those positions. Nobels was 24th