Monlau Motul keeps Estoril competitive in Spanish Formula 4

  • The Brazilian Ricardo Gracia adds two new points for the team after achieving a ninth position in a weekend marked by equality on the track and race incidents.

  • Lin Hodenius touches the points with an 11th place and Fernando Barrichello (12th in Q2) evidence a step forward in classification.

  • “Equality is maximum and track incidents were too common in Estoril, which hurt us especially,” says Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motul Technical School.

Monlau Motul Technical School concludes the visit to the circuit of Estoril, Portugal, with two more points in the box and the consolidation of its four representatives in the squad that battles for points in each race. Once again, Ricardo Gracia (9th on Saturday) was the only one to score points for the team, although the evolution of the whole set in a category as competitive as the Spanish F4, which again gathered 35 single-seaters on track, to keep the motivation high for the last two meetings of the event.

The second weekend of racing in a row embarked Monlau Motul Technical School towards Estoril, a route well known for our motorsport, but unpublished for the Spanish F4 since 2017. This technical circuit, which alternates turned zones with long and complicated turns, together with an environmental heat worthy of the summer and the ignorance of its secrets by almost the entire grid, launched new challenges for the team’s drivers, singularly in classification.

The group rehearsals on Friday and the two free trials on Saturday showed some sensations already seen on most tracks: with a timesheet very equal and that placed more than 20 drivers in the same second. This increased the requirement of the Q1, whose two best times serve to order the grids of the two initial races. Ricardo Gracia was revealed, one more weekend, as the best of the team, chaining two laps in 1:39.2 that placed him in tenth and ninth place, respectively.

By the time of the first of the races, the Brazilian managed to dodge the many problems in the hot zone of the platoon, and concluded in ninth place as one of the best of the leading platoon and giving two more points to Monlau Motul Technical School. Lin Hodenius also signed one of his best performances in the Spanish F4, going back from 17th to 11th place in the final, to a single opening slot. Pablo Sarrazin and Fernando Barrichello crossed the checkered flag in 18th and 21st place, respectively.

As usual, before the last two rounds came the first qualifying on Sunday, a Q2 in which Barrichello emerged as the best car driver Monlau Motul signing an excellent 12th place (1:39.892). This result credits the work done by the Brazilian in these tandas, which remain the great unfinished business of the riders of the team this 2023.

Race 2 again had Gracia and Hodenius in the fight for the top 10, concluding the Brazilian in 11th place and the Dutchman 15th. The meeting was marked by numerous incidents that delayed Sarrazin (18th) and forced him to abandon Barrichello.

The Estoril match cast the curtain with a new long run, 30 minutes plus a lap, which was revealed as the most rugged of the weekend. ‘Fefo’ Barrichello was one of its first victims, being hooked on a melé with two other rivals that precipitated his abandonment when he knocked on the doors of the tenth place. The double appearance of the safety car did not help his teammates, who suffered in the resalidas and with the aggressiveness of some rivals, delaying Ricardo Gracia to 15th place and Hodenius and Sarrazin to 24th and 25th.

In his review at the weekend, David Simon, team manager of Monlau Motul Technical School, says: “The appointment of Estoril replicates what we saw last weekend in Jerez. All of our drivers have shown themselves to be competitive and in the top 15 at some point or another on the weekend”.

“The equality is maximum in this category, but the incidents on the track were too frequent in Estoril and they hurt us especially. However, they also hid numerous lessons for drivers, mechanics and engineers that will undoubtedly be perceived in the next races,” explains Jaime Serrano, CEO of the team.

F4 Española enters its final stretch. The Ricardo Tormo de Cheste circuit will host, on 13, 14 and 15 October, the penultimate qualifying round before the curtain goes down on Sunday 12 November at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.