Arthur Leclerc enjoyed a dream weekend at Mugello in the fourth round of the European Formula Regional championship. The 19 year old Ferrari Driver Academy student won all three races on the card, a cut above the rest in the wet conditions that prevailed for the first two races and equally rapid in the third one run in the dry.
Surprise. “I definitely wasn’t expecting this”, commented Leclerc afterwards. “With my Prema Powerteam we did an incredible job over the whole weekend. I am going through a strong period at the moment, getting better all the time, but the car was also impeccable in all conditions.” Leclerc now moves into the lead of the championship on 237 points, eight ahead of team-mate and fellow FDA driver Gianluca Petecof. The Brazilian still came away with a good points haul, with a second, a third and a fourth place.
Race-1. Starting from fourth, Leclerc clearly revelled in the wet conditions and was up to second by the end of the opening lap. On lap 4, he took the lead, overtaking Oliver Rasmussen on the outside of Arrabbiata 1, lapping quicker than the rest. Just after taking the lead, Leclerc was informed he would have a 10-second time penalty at the end of the race for overtaking Rasmussen under yellow flags. “Visibility was very poor and I really didn’t see the flags,” the Monegasque driver explained. “When I was told I had the penalty I got stuck in and pushed to the maximum, thanks to having a great feeling from the car right from the start.”
Amazing pace. Leclerc’s pace was impressive, two to three seconds a lap faster than the rest and he won by 20 seconds – 10 with the penalty - from Juri Vips. Petecof produced a gritty drive from fifth to finish fourth.
Race-2. This race started on a damp track and Leclerc on pole and Petecof alongside him, decided to start on rain tyres. The FDA pair held station after the start, but soon after, those who had started on slicks began to lap far quicker. Prema Powerteam therefore called in Leclerc and Petecof to fit slicks, but a few laps later, the rain returned to Mugello, so a second stop was needed to switch back to wets.
Safety Car. The two FDA drivers were now over a minute down on the leader, Pierre-Louis Chovet, who had started on slicks and had thus only needed one tyre change, but on lap 9 the Safety Car came out when Andrea Cola went off the track, so the field bunched up. Leclerc was very fast and determined at the restart and, in just a few laps he managed to retake the lead to secure his second win of the day. Petecof had moved up to third at the flag.
Race-3. The rain eased off before the final race so that the entire field lined up on slicks. Leclerc did not have the best getaway from pole and had to give best to both Petecof and Rasmussen. Arthur stayed calm, moving up one place on lap 2 and then attacked Petecof on lap 3 to take the lead. After that, he managed the gap to Petecof who actually got very close to the leader in the closing stages. However, a mistake with two laps to go put an end to the Brazilian’s aspirations and he took the chequered flag one second behind his team-mate.