Monlau Motul shows his most competitive side in Valencia and touches the podium

  • Brazilian Ricardo Gracia, 4th in the first race of the weekend, achieved the best result of the season for the team.

  • The four drivers of the team show great competitiveness in the three races scheduled, evidencing a great leap forward before the final round of the season in Barcelona.

  • “In Valencia we have shown that we can be competitive, after achieving the best result of the year and fight regularly for the top 10,” says Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motul Technical School.

Monlau Motul Technical School dismisses the round of Valencia touching the podium of the Spanish Formula 4. The Brazilian Ricardo Gracia gave the team the best result of the season, a 4th place, and evidenced, like his three teammates, once again, a great competitiveness in all sessions of an event marked by track limits and incidents on track.

The last stage of four intense weeks of competition led the Spanish F4 to the Ricardo Tormo Circuit of Cheste. After Jerez and Estoril, the four riders of the team faced with full optimism a challenge that would be marked by the equality of the times and the difficulties to advance that involves the route, which often invites excessive abuse of track limits and generates consequent penalties.

From the first free leg of the weekend it was clear the great competitive jump of Ricardo Gracia, who remained always within the top 10. The Brazilian once again carried the banner of the Monlau Motul Technical School in the category, valuing all his experience and demonstrating a great sporting maturity. His golden moment came in the Q1, where he signed two stratospheric laps that catapulted him to second place in the two races, the best of them just two thousandths from pole position. However, in a random review of their onboard camera at the end of the session, the commissioners understood that they had abused the track limits on lap 4, and annulled both times. All in all, his best third and fourth round of the tanda earned him to seal a 6th and a 7th place of grill. Good performance also for Lin Hodenius, who signed the 12th time, while Fernando Barrichello and Pablo Sarrazin had to settle for the 19th and 22nd best record.

The first of the races was held the same afternoon on Saturday under splendid temperature conditions, and in it we saw the best version of Ricardo Gracia. The Brazilian faced the podium duel with the first blades of the championship, finishing in a magnificent fourth position, his best individual result in the category and also the best of Monlau Motul Technical School this year. Also crossed the checkered flag were Fernando Barrichello (15th) and Lin Hodenius (17th), while Pablo Sarrazin was forced to leave.

Sunday’s day included, as usual, a triple challenge: a second qualifying round in the first hour followed by the two final races of the event, scheduled to 25 and 30 minutes plus a lap, respectively. In the classification, Gracia signed the 10th best record, while his teammates were affected by red flags and traffic in their respective attempts, which relegated them to positions further behind the usual: 19th Sarrazin, 21st Hodenius and 31st Barrichello.

At the time of the competitions, both held under higher temperatures than the day before (with 27ºC in the atmosphere and up to 39ºC on the asphalt), Ricardo Gracia continued to pay the head train and concluded the second round 10º, right at the gates of the points. Sarrazin took back his retirement from the previous day and finished 16th, while Barrichello and Hodenius crossed the finish line together in 20th and 21st respectively.

The final race of the weekend was especially rugged and was resolved with a red flag less than two minutes after exhausting the stopwatch and with many penalties for almost all members of the squad. These punishments delayed the pilots of the formation to positions 15th (Gracia), 21st (Sarrazin) and 30th (Hodenius), while Barrichello was disqualified.

In his weekend review, David Simon, team manager of Monlau Motul Technical School, assessed the individual performance of the four drivers: “Ricardo Gracia dismisses a very competitive weekend from the start, in which he has shown a combination of maturity and speed both in time and in race. All in all, it was a real shame to cancel out his time in Q1, because it deprived us of seeing him fighting for more ambitious goals. Pablo Sarrazin missed a good lap in the timed training, since his expectations were always good, but the results did not finish accompanying them. Then, already in the race, the incidents ended up weighing their performances. Lin Hodenius showed a step forward in quali, and although some penalty prevented him from leaving later, in race he showed ability to climb. He is a brave pilot and is showing great learning. Finally, Fernando Barrichello suffered a lot with braking all weekend. In any case, their learning curve is good, and is growing round after round”.

“Valencia has shown that we can be competitive. On this circuit our best result of the year has arrived and we have fought regularly for the top 10. Unfortunately, circumstances have deprived us of obtaining a better baggage, but we return home happy with the work of all the members of the team and thinking already in Barcelona, where I trust we can be equally competitive,” says Jaime Serrano, CEO of the team.

The Spanish F4 will lower the curtain to the 2023 season the next 10, 11 and 12 November at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, stage of the last three races of the year.