June 2, 2018

Photo: SMP F4 NEZ Championship

Photo: SMP F4 NEZ Championship

The second race weekend of SMP F4 NEZ Championship took us to Nring track in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Finnish Konsta Lappalainen took pole positions for both races on Saturday but due to the Finn’s misfortune the winners today were Mikhael Belov and Pavel Bulantsev.

Round two of the Championship took place at Nring track located 430 kilometers from Moscow. Race weekend began with free practices on Friday followed by first qualifying and two races on Saturday. Konsta Lappalainen dominated free practices and mastered the first qualifying of the weekend in chilly and windy conditions.

Lappalainen took pole for both races but a dark cloud appeared above him as it was time to race. Lappalainen had a jump start on the first race followed by a drive-through penalty. On the second race the Finn killed his engine on the grid.

First race was ruled by Russian Mikhael Belov with over 10 seconds margin to Swedish Isac Blomqvist. Belov’s fellow countryman Ivan Shvetsov finished off third.

– This was my first podium and win for the season and I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can. It wasn’t an easy win for me, I need to focus more on the start. Very important win for me because I am now sixth. Important points as I lost 20 points in the first round, winner Belov commented.

Second race was full of drama as Lappalainen’s car died out on the grid causing Belov to hit him from behind. Belov managed to limp few hundred meters until he was finally out of the game. With both cars in dangerous positions on the track it was time to call out safety car. The train led by the safety car circled the track for quite a while leaving little room for actual racing. Russian Pavel Bulantsev who started from the second grid position drove into his first win of the season.

– The race was pretty difficult. The start was quite okay, I was lucky that Lappalainen couldn’t start. The weekend overall has been quite okay, only the first race was quite difficult. The second race I think was pretty good. I think I have a good chance to win tomorrow as well, planned Bulantsev.

Blomqvist was second in both races on Saturday. He felt like his pace was what it should be but admitted that luck played some part today as well.

– In the first race I got a good start to begin with. I knew we were fast on dry so I just tried to avoid crashes and keep going. I wouldn’t say the second race was perfect. I started quite far behind from seventh position and got lucky with Konsta’s (Lappalainen) and Belov’s crash. After the safety car I managed to pass Patrick (Schott) but was too far to catch Pavel (Bulantsev), explained Blomqvist.

Shvetsov followed Blomqvist with doubles as he was third in both races. Podium positions came as a surprise for the young Russian.

– First race was quite good, I made some overtakes but most of the race drove behind Blomqvist. I was surprised when I came to the pit that I made it to the podium. Second race was too short because of the safety car, I didn’t have time to pass anyone. On the other hand I was on the podium again, Shvetsov smiled.

Tomorrow will end the second Championship weekend with the second qualifying and third race. Clocks will be set for qualifying at 9.25 with the final race following at 13.45.


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MaratDaminov_SMPF4_2018_Smolensk_043Photo: SMP F4 NEZ Championship