Formula 4

Rodrigues unlucky under Yas Marina’s floodlights

The second round of the Formula 4 UAE Championship, raced over the weekend, did not go as planned for local driver Tiago Rodrigues.

Race 1, held Saturday, saw Rodrigues battling his way from 14th position on the grid.

Rodrigues did not shy away from a battle with his XCEL teammate Alvise Rodella at the chicane of Yas Marina Circuit, but the two cars made contact.

The collision then involved a third car, of Jules Caranta, running on the outside of Rodella.

The contact caused damage to Rodrigues’ car and forced him into the pits.

Trying to recover as much lost time as possible, including from the pit stop to change the front wing of the car, Rodrigues soon had another incident.

This involved another XCEL driver, this time Hong Kong’s Liu Kai Shun, with both retiring from the race.

Leading the race, Freddie Slater took the win in Race 1 ahead of Alex Powell. Third was Nikita Bedrin.

As Race 1 results dictate the starting grid of Race 2, raced Saturday evening, Rodrigues had to start at the back of the field and again try to overtake slower racers.

During the first lap, Rodrigues was involved in yet another crash, this time with Peter Bouzinelos. The cars became entangled in the middle of the track, which led to his early retirement from the race.

Race 2 was eventually won by Emirati Keanu Al Azhari, with Kean Nakamura-Berta second. Freddie Slater managed an amazing recovery from 12th to an eventual third.

The last race of Round 2 occurred yesterday evening with Rodrigues starting on the 19th position of the grid.

The race started in the same style as the previous two, with several cars making contact and ending up stopped on the track. This prompted the exit of the Safety Car on two occasions in the first few laps.

Fortunately, this time, Rodrigues managed to steer clear of trouble and climbed a few positions to 14th. As the Safety Car returned to the pits, there were less than 8 minutes left to race (+ 1 Lap), but yet again, another series of unfortunate events prompted another Safety Car period just one lap after the restart.

The race eventually ended behind the Safety Car, with Rodrigues in 15th position, unable to fight for a better spot due to the limited racing time during Race 3. The winner at the flag was Al Azhari, followed by Slater in second, and Nakamura-Berta in third.

The championship stops now for a week as the drivers move to neighboring Dubai for Round 3 at the Dubai Autodrome during the first weekend of February. Renato Marques

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