May 6, 2018

The first round of SMP F4 NEZ Championship was completed today after a qualifying session and the third and final race of the weekend. Ivan Berets was the king of the ring as he took the pole position and dominated the race all the way to the finishing line.

Weather in Smolensk turned upside down for Sunday as the temperature dropped over 15 degrees from Saturday. With temperature around 10 degrees and half wet track caused more than enough action in qualifying. First Nikita Aleksandrov tore down some wall banners and set red flags waving. Second try didn’t last long when another Russian Artem Lobanenko smashed into wall and the session was stopped for good this time. Front grid for third race of the weekend was dominated by Russians as Ivan Berets took the pole followed by Pavel Bulantsev and Ivan Shvetsov.

Third race was a jackpot for young Berets. Sarting from pole Berets managed to maintain his leading position all the way until the finishing line. In the beginning Konsta Lappalainen was pushing behind, but as Ivan Belov started to put pressure on Lappalainen, Berets sneaked onto a safe lead. Finally the Russian won with a clear 4.111 margin to Lappalainen.

– The race was quite difficult on the physical side, 25 minutes of driving is not easy. I had a very good start. I had a bit of pressure from behind for the first four or five laps but then started to build up the gap. The guys behind were fighting a lot and the gap was quite big so I comfortably finished the race first, commented Berets after his victorious day in Smolensk.

Konsta Lappalainen had to work for his position as Belov tried to overtake the Finn. Luckily for Lappalainen Freek Schothorst was closing in from behind and started to distract Belov which gave the Finn a bit breathing space.

– The race was good, we have to be happy with second place. I had a super start and managed to get up to second position. I was putting pressure on Ivan (Berets) but then lost some speed and Belov started to catch me. It was an okay race, not bad, said the humble Finn.

Freek Schothorst set his mind on podium position for the third race of the weekend. The Dutch started from eighth position and fought his way into fourth quite quickly. Then with a daring overtake from Belov Schothorst sealed the last position on the podium for himself.

– The start was really good, it was obviously very crucial for my race. I was immediately up to fourth position and I felt my pace was really good, I think I was the quickest one on the track for the first time this weekend. I had some nice battles and good overtakes. I got into third position and closing in on Konsta (Lappalainen) but the race was too short so I had to settle for third positition. But it was very nice to get my second podium position this weekend, Schothorst smiled.

Isac Blomqvist ensured the series lead with a fifth position in the third race. The Swede is leading the Championship with 50 points after the opening weekend. Race winner for today Ivan Berets is 7 points behind Blowqvist with 43 points and Konsta Lappalainen is lurking behind with 38 points.

The drivers will have one month to build up their strategies for the second round of SMP F4 NEZ Championship which will be driven in N. Novgorod on 2-3rd of June.

Results Sunday 6th of May:

Race 3

1. Ivan Berets 27:35.259
2. Konsta Lappalainen +4.111
3. Freek Schothorst +4.645
4. Michael Belov +5.689
5. Isac Blomqvist +7.170
6. Jesse Salmenautio +10.490
7. Patrick Schott +25.970
8. Pavel Bulantsev +29.350
9. Artem Lobanenko +44.024
10. Alexander Vilaev +1:00.222
11. Nikita Aleksandrov +1:26.376
DNF Ivan Shvetsov +6 laps

Championship standings after round 1:

1. Isac Blomqvist 50
2. Ivan Berets 43
3. Konsta Lappalainen 38
4. Freek Schothorst 36
5. Jesse Salmenautio 30
6. Michael Belov 30
7. Patrick Schott 11
8. Pavel Bulantsev 10
9. Ivan Shvetsov 8
10. Artem Lobanenko 3
11. Alexander Vilaev 1
12. Nikita Aleksandrov 0

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Photo: SMP F4 NEZ ChampionshipPhoto: SMP F4 NEZ Championship