VOLEGOV AND HAAPALAINEN VICTORIOUS IN SMOLENSK

May 28, 2017

It was under very cloudy skies and a damp track, that Sunday started in Smolensk, for the last day of competition. Drivers were still able to start Race 2 on Hankook slick tires, which made the race really interesting.

Race 2

Nikita Volegov, SMP Racing

“It was such an amazing race. After Puhakka had to serve his drive-through penalty I had to really try hard to keep my place and win the race. My first win ever in single-seater, and it happens in Russia, I am very happy”

Alexander Smolyar, SMP Racing

“The start was difficult. After the safety car, I tried to overtake Volegov but at the same time Lloveras got past me so I dropped to P3. I am disappointed but I will work hard before Ahvenisto round next week”

Mike Belov, SMP Racing

“The race wasn’t easy. I didn’t have enough grip to try to overtake Lloveras or Smolyar in order to get to the podium, but P4 is still very good”

If yesterday race was interesting, so was Sunday first race. Juuso Puhakka jumped the start and had to serve a drive-through penalty later in the race, dropping him out of the battle, and the Finn was eventually disqualified for incidents on track.

Guillem Pujeu got bumped by Sami-Matti Trogen after T2 and had to retire from the race, a very difficult weekend for FA Racing driver’s rookie. Vladimir Tziortzis, Milen Ponomarenko and John Peters all had to retire early in the race forcing the safety car to be deployed.

Nikita Volegov was able to capitalize the opportuny and took his first victory of the season after a breath-taking battle on the final lap against Xavier Lloveras and Alexander Smolyar. Lloveras squeezed by Smolyar while the Russian was battling against Volegov for the lead of the race, and took P2, gathering important points for the championship.

Russian Mike Belov completed a wonderful race for the Russians by taking P4, his best ending position in single-seater. On MP Motorsport side, Bent Viscaal finished in P5 just ahead of his teammate Christian Lundgaard whom he overtook after the restart. Race 3 pole-sitter, Tuomas Haapalainen, brought his car home in P7 and Gulhuseyn Abdullayev scored his first point of the season by completing the top 8 of this short race.

Race 2 results

1. N. Volegov (SMP Racing)
2. X. Lloveras (FA Racing)
3. A. Smolyar (SMP Racing)
4. M. Belov (SMP Racing)
5. B. Viscaal (MP Motorsport)
6. C. Lundgaard (MP Motorsport)
7. T. Haapalainen (AKK Academy)
8. G. Abdullayev (SMP Racing)
9. J-E. Meikup (ALM Motorsport)
10. E. Niskanen (AKK Academy)
11. I. Berets (SMP Racing)
12. S. Trogen (AKK Academy)

Not classified
M. Ponomarenko (SMP Racing)
J. Peters (MP Motorsport)
V. Tziortzis (SMP Racing)
G. Pujeu (FA Racing)

Disqualified
J. Puhakka (Lappalainen Racing)

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Race 3

John Peters, MP Motorsport

“I got a great start and had already overtook four or five cars but then I locked up and went straight to the gravel. Just not my weekend at all”

Priit Kurmiste, Race Director

“It was a great and very clean weekend. All in all, these two opening rounds in Sochi and Smolensk were very good, and hopefully it will continue in Ahvenisto, which is a much more complicated circuit. The 2017 drivers are mostly rookies and they are here to learn, so that’s what we do, we teach them to be good racing drivers for their future career”

Last race of the weekend was exciting from start to finish. Despite Haapalainen taking a lights-to-flag victory, Lloveras, Lundgaard, Smolyar and Puhakka closely chased him down.

The Spaniard tried to overtake Haapalainen a few times but he just could not find any space, keeping the gap to the Finn under 0.3 all along the 25’+1lap race. Lundgaard finished P3 allowing Lloveras to leave Smolensk as the new leader of the 2017 SMP F4 NEZ Championship by four points.

SMP Racing driver, Alexander Smolyar, crossed the finish line P4 and Puhakka recovered after his disqualification in Race 2 to get P5. Race 2 winner Volegov ended Race 3, holding onto P6, in front of Estonian Jan-Erik Meikup. After going wide during the first lap, Viscaal finished P8 ahead of Tziortzis whom he overtook in the inside of T1 in a clean move. After a difficult weekend, due to mechanical issue, Elias Niskanen scored his first point of the season by taking P10.

That concludes 2017 SMP F4 NEZ Round 2 in Smolensk and the whole championship is coming back to Europe for its third back-to-back event, on Finnish circuit of Ahvenisto, June 2-4.

That concludes 2017 SMP F4 NEZ Round 2 in Smolensk and the whole championship is coming back to Europe for its third back-to-back event, on Finnish circuit of Ahvenisto, June 2-4.

Race 3 results

1. T. Haapalainen (AKK Academy)
2. X. Lloveras (FA Racing)
3. C. Lundgaard (MP Motorsport)
4. A. Smolyar (SMP Racing)
5. J. Puhakka (Lappalainen Racing)
6. N. Volegov (SMP Racing)
7. J-E. Meikup (ALM Motorsport)
8. B. Viscaal (MP Motorsport)
9. V. Tziortzis (SMP Racing)
10. E. Niskanen (AKK Academy)
11. G. Abdullayev (SMP Racing)
12. I. Berets (SMP Racing)
13. G. Pujeu (FA Racing)
14. S-M. Trogen (AKK Academy)
15. M. Ponomarenko (SMP Racing)
16. J. Peters (MP Motorsport)

Not classified
M. Belov (SMP Racing)

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