Russia’s Pavel Bulantsev pinched pole position from long-time leader Ido Cohen (Israel) at the end of Formula 4 Cup’s red flag-interrupted qualifying session earlier this morning.
Tricky wet conditions played their part in a total of four stoppages throughout the 25-minute session at Vallelunga, which ended when Hugo Hung looped his Hong Kong entry with just over one minute remaining.
That prevented the front-runners from challenging Bulantsev’s 1m49.256s, which the Russian set amongst a flurry of quicker times just before qualifying was curtailed.
Two early red flags prevented any representative times from being set until halfway through the session. And it was Cohen who initially dominated courtesy of three fastest laps in succession.
Indeed, he led Bulantsev by 0.2s when a third stoppage left drivers with just six minutes to improve. And that’s exactly what the Russian did despite his Israeli rival also setting a personal best. 0.496s separated them at the finish.
Yesterday’s practice pace setter, Italy’s Andrea Rosso, made a slow start before vaulting up to third late on. He shares row two with Italian Formula 4 Championship counterpart Niklas Kruetten (Germany) who also made progress thanks to a faster final run.
Luis Leeds (Australia) might have qualified higher than fifth without a scruffy middle sector, while Brazil’s Joao Rosate completed the top-six. Both benefitted from Kazuto Kotaka failing to improve on his earlier best, which dropped Japan from third to seventh.
The rest of the top-10 featured three more drivers with genuine medal hopes this weekend. Denmark’s Malthe Jakobsen, Frenchman Reshad de Gerus and Flying Finn William Alatalo all appeared near the top at some point during qualifying before the drying conditions shifted the order late on.
Today’s qualifying race, which sets the grid for tomorrow’s medal showdown, is scheduled to begin at 12:20 CET. Watch it live on the FIA Motorsport Games website and Facebook page, as well as fia.com.