Italy lead the medal table at the halfway stage of this year’s FIA Motorsport Games after Andrea Rosso claimed victory in the Formula 4 Cup Main Race earlier today.
Germany’s Niklas Kruetten and Finland’s William Alatalo completed the podium courtesy of a late race Safety Car period that scuppered the hopes of long-time leader Ido Cohen.
The Israeli started from pole and controlled the first half of the 27-minute encounter, which began in damp but drying conditions.
But as the track improved it was Rosso who came to the fore thanks to better tyre management. Denied pole by yesterday’s post-race penalty, the Italian was content for Cohen to open a 1.3s lead before reeling him in with 10 minutes remaining. The pair were frequently side-by-side thereafter, albeit with Cohen just about maintaining the lead.
He finally buckled at the end of lap 10 when dipping a wheel in the final corner’s gravel trap helped Rosso shoot past down the start/finish straight.
A similar incident, albeit resulting in Belgium’s Nicolas Baert clouting the wall, triggered a Safety Car period soon after.
Rosso made the perfect restart with three minutes remaining to immediately gap Cohen who, instead, was busy defending from Kruetten. The German started and ran third throughout but couldn’t keep pace with the top-two until the Safety Car’s intervention afforded a second chance. And he grabbed it with both hands to pass Cohen before setting off in pursuit of Rosso. Just 0.7s separated them at the finish after Kruetten set fastest lap on the final tour, which also earned him the Pirelli Speed Hero Award.
Cohen’s race went from bad to worse when William Alatalo (Finland) also passed the Israeli, who was subsequently shuffled down the order to eighth.
Luis Leeds (Australia) finished a second shy of the medals in fourth after running fifth for much of the race, while Reshad de Gerus (France) fought through from 10th to complete the top-five.
Spain’s Belen Garcia also picked up six places en route to sixth ahead of Laszlo Toth (Hungary) who dropped from fourth to 11th on lap one. Cohen, Lucca Allen (Ireland) and Joao Rosate (Brazil) – up seven places from his starting position – completed the top-10.
Andrea Rosso: “I am super happy right now! I came here with good expectations. I wanted to put the Italian flag on the podium but I didn’t expect to stand on the top step, so I am really honoured. I have to thank my parents, who always support me, my friends at home and of course my engineer Guido and my mechanic Chris.”
Niklas Kruetten: “This event was a big challenge for everyone. I enjoyed racing here and it was a cool car to drive. We had a few gearbox issues yesterday during the qualifying race, which cost us the win. I decided to save my tyres at the beginning of the race but when I pushed, the Safety Car came out. At the restart I managed to overtake second place straight away. One more lap and I could have taken the lead. It is always about the extra lap after all but I am happy about the result.”
William Alatalo: “I had a tough weekend and it wasn’t as perfect as we hoped. I ended up being P10 after qualifying but gained four positions during the qualifying race. So to finish P3 after the Main Race is a good result after all.”