- The Brazilian Ricardo Gracia (10th in the second race) again scored points for the team and the Dutchman Lin Hodenius (11th in the third race) signed his best performance of the season.
- Eloi González, champion of Spain with the Monlau Motul Karting Team in 2022, debuts in single seaters demonstrating a good pace and acquiring numerous learnings.
- “Eloi González’s debut gives continuity to our training project, which is born with the young values of karting and propels them to the first steps of motorsport,” says Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motul Technical School.
Monlau Motul Technical School closes with satisfaction the fourth round of the Spanish Formula 4, held last weekend in the Andalusian circuit of Jerez, and that he again saw the four drivers of the team fight in the top 15 and score a point from the hand of Ricardo Gracia in the second qualifying round. The four members of the team’s line-up were joined, on this occasion, by Eloi González, Senior Spanish champion with the Monlau Motul Karting Team, who took the next step in his car career on the Cadiz track by officially debuting at the controls of a car and completing two of the three races.
The end of the summer break of the F4 Española coincided with the beginning of autumn in Jerez, although the Andalusian track welcomed another year to the championship with high temperatures and its usual requirement on the route, which does not forgive mistakes. This appointment marked the beginning of the most intense moment of the calendar, with three meetings in just one month, so that physical and mental preparation were added to the usual challenges.
Monlau Motul Technical School began the meeting with its four riders, Ricardo Gracia, Pablo Sarrazin, Fernando Barrichello and Lin Hodenius, installed a few tenths of the top 10 in the sessions of collective and free training. The problems followed in the always demanding first qualifying round, in which marking two fast laps with more than 30 cars on the track became a challenge of great demand. Ricardo Gracia was the best of the team, with a 14th place for the first race and the 8th for the second, less than seven tenths of the pole position, which underlines the high equality in the top 15 of the championship.
The first of the races set the tone for what would be the weekend, with multiple appearances of the safety car and track contacts caused by the difficulty of overtaking on the Jerez track. Ricardo Gracia stood at all times in the group fighting for points, and in the end he was at the gates of achieving it after finishing in 11th place. Pablo Sarrazin remained a good part of the race in this same squad, but an incident in the final stage relegated him to the 16th position. Less fortunate were Lin Hodenius and Fernando Barrichello, who were forced to abandon.
Sunday’s weather forecast predicted high temperatures on the asphalt, to which was added the great heat transmitted by the fans, which filled the bleachers and hairs of the track. The second qualifying session, held early in the morning, replicated the tone of the previous day, highlighting Lin Hodenius, whose 13th place gave him his best personal result in a series of official training.
Race 2 capitalized on the attention from mid-morning, with a Ricardo Gracia who had serious scoring options. Although the start was complicated and lost positions, he managed to make a great comeback to cross the checkered flag in 10th place, giving Monlau Motul Technical School the first point of the weekend. On this occasion, the other three cars of the team reached the finish: Pablo Sarrazin 12th, Lin Hodenius 19th and Fernando Barrichello 22nd.
The last race of the program, planned as the initial 30 minutes plus a lap, was again marked by incidents and interruptions by safety car. Lin Hodenius remained on the verge of scoring his first F4 points, although his solid performance allowed him to finish in a brilliant 11th position. The Dutchman preceded his teammate Fernando Barrichello at the finish, author of a great comeback from 26th to 17th, while Sarrazin and Gracia had to leave.
In his balance sheet, David Simon, team manager of Monlau Motul Technical School, states: “We have lived a weekend with very difficult races, marked by incidents and neutralizations, which punish you especially when you qualify behind. All in all, we are satisfied by the potential shown by the riders: Ricardo and Pablo rolled again always close to the points. The Brazilian scored a point in race 2; Lin had a brilliant classification on Sunday and an excellent race 3, and Barrichello demonstrated, once again, his ability to climb in the group. I would also like to thank the mechanics, especially the student group, for their spectacular work, because the team worked like clockwork. We are going with desire to compete in Estoril since Friday, a complicated track and also of the old school, to which we arrive with the duties of qualifying higher and progress in the departures”.
Eloi González debuts in single-seaters
The fifth driver Monlau Motul in Jerez, Eloi González, who could not line up with a fifth car of the team by regulations, competed exceptionally in the GRS formation. In his debut in the category, the Spanish champion of Karting Senior 2022 lived a positive weekend of learning, and improved after each of the laps he completed at 4.4 km of the Cadiz route. In qualifying he went from 34th and 33rd on Saturday to 30th on Sunday, and in the race he made up for a retirement on the first day with two 27th positions on Sunday.
“Eloi arrived in Jerez with just two days of testing, and despite this he has been rolling persistently less than two seconds from the first, so he can feel more than satisfied. From Friday to Sunday he has had to overcome the typical problems of every newcomer, such as track limits, appearances and resalidas of the safety car and fights in an environment so different from karting, where he is more than habituated. But it has evolved a lot, has competed and has done a good job,” says Simon.
Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motul Technical School, adds: “We are proud to see in Formula 4 a driver who has trained to be champion with our karting team. Such news are what give continuity to our training project, which is born in karting and leads to the first steps of motorsport. We would like, in this sense, to thank the Royal Spanish Automobile Federation and the Spanish F4”.
The event will now enjoy just four days of rest before starting, next Friday, the collective trials of the fifth round of the season, scheduled at the Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva in Estoril, Portugal.