HAAPALAINEN AND LUNDGAARD VICTORIOUS IN MOSCOW DAY 2

July 15, 2017

Last day of Round 5 started with clear skies in Moscow Raceway. Saturday showed Christian Lundgaard largely dominating the day, but with today’s Race 2 starting position, the Series was expecting to have a new winner.

Qualifying 2

The day started with the second fifteen-minute session of qualifying. MP Motorsport cars were the first ones to hit the track, followed by Pujeu and Lloveras from FA Racing, the Russians from SMP Racing, Finns from AKK Academy and ALM Motorsport Sten D Piirimagi was the last one to pit out.

Lundgaard went up as an early leader with Michael Belov and Piirimagi on his tail. Bent Viscaal closed the gap to Lundgaard signing P2 with a 0.7 gap to the Dane until Nikita Volegov flew to P1 in 1.38.810 being the first driver in the 1.38 window.

However Juuso Puhakka improved to take the lead in 1.38.644. 17 cars out of 19 got a penalty for track limits and it was finally Christian Lundgaard who signed again the fastest lap making it 3 pole-position so far for the young Renault Sport Academy driver.

Marta Garcia made a fantastic P7 lap, Juuso Puhakka from Lappalainen Team took P5 after a disastrous Q1 and Haapalainen who got a provisional pole, got his best lap deleted, which dropped the Finn to P4.

On the Championship side, Xavier Lloveras qualified P16 only, while his teammate got P12 and better chances to score valuable points.

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Race 2

As the drivers were on their outlap, heading to the grid, SMP Racing driver Nikita Volegov got a technical failure and stopped on track, forcing the Russian to retire from P2.

As the lights went off, Alexander Smolyar had a clean start and kept his lead in the first lap but was soon challenged by a very fast Tuomas Haapalainen who finally led the pack. Christian Lundgaard who got a very good start, overtook Sami-Matti Trogen and came onto P4, right behind teammate Bent Viscaal. On a swift move, the Dane took P3 to then have his eyes set on Smolyar, who could not defend long against the Dane bullet. Lundgaard finally passed Haapalainen and pulled away.

At the back, Abdullayev, in a move to overtake Dunner, drove straight into Milen Ponomarenko, crashing his front right wheel into the SMP Racing driver and retiring from the race.

Juuso Puhakka whom Ponomarenko crashed out in Q1 started from P18 and made her way through the field up to P9, right behind Guillem Pujeu.

Marta Garcia retired from the 18’+1lap race due to mechanical issues.

At the finish flag, Christian Lundgaard celebrated his 7th win of the season, with Tuomas Haapalainen and Alexander Smolyar sharing the podium.
While Christian Lundgaard extends his lead, Alexander Smolyar now is P2 in the general classification after Race 2.

Christian Lundgaard

“I had a good start and a good pace on this race! I was just thinking to score as much points as possible as my starting position was not ideal. But during the race, I saw that I could go for the win so I pushed. I am very happy to have scored my 7th win of the season”

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Race 3

Christian Lundgaard started again on pole position for the last race of the day, and the Dane was going for a hat-trick this weekend in Moscow Raceway. However, after the fiasco in Parnu Race 3, the driver wanted to play it safe, and unfortunately did not get a great start. Tuomas Haapalainen who started P4 took advantage of the Dane being blocked by another car and fought for the lead together with Juuso Puhakka who started P5.

It was finally Haapalainen who got the upper hand on the situation and the two Finns pulled away from the pack followed by Nikita Volegov in P3.

Meanwhile Bent Viscaal had his hands full as Christian Lundgaard was charging his MP Motorsport teammate for P4 and eventually passed Viscaal. But Viscaal was not done with the drama as Marta Garcia overtook the Dutch as well to finish a fantastic race onto P6.

Nikita Volegov crossed the finish line P3 but got penalized after investigation for blocking Dane Lundgaard and finally lost one position on the final classification.

At the end of the weekend Christian Lundgaard flew away in the general classification with 215 points, Alexander Smolyar 2nd with 162 points and Xavier Lloveras 3rd with 154 points. With two rounds remaining, the fight for the crown will be raging.

Next round will be the penultimate one, and will be held on Moscow Raceway again together with the Russian Touring Championship on 18-20 of August. Meanwhile the SMP F4 NEZ Championship will take a deserved four weeks break.

Tuomas Haapalainen

“Everything was sealed at the start. Lundgaard was blocked on one side, so I took my chance and it paid off. Keeping the lead during the race was fine, but at the end Puhakka started to catch me, so it was a bit more intense. I am looking forward now to the next round in Moscow Raceway”

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