Rafael Camara dominates Spa Francorchamps with double victory

The second round of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine at Spa Francorchamps concludes with a double victory for Rafael Camara. A perfect weekend for the Prema Racing team driver, who, after securing his fifth pole position in the series this morning, confirmed the predictions by claiming his third win of the season. This is the second consecutive victory for the Brazilian driver, increasing his lead in the championship standings, where he now holds a significant advantage over his competitors with 93 points.

Behind Prema’s standard bearer, rookie Noah Strømsted finished the second race in second place after a remarkable recovery from sixth to second position. This was an important result for the RPM team driver, who redeemed himself after losing the runner-up position due to a penalty that demoted him two positions in the Race 1 standings. Another driver seeking redemption was James Wharton (Prema Racing), who managed to salvage his weekend after a crash during the first qualifying session prevented him from participating in yesterday’s race. Today, the Australian returned to the wheel, securing a front-row start in qualifying and engaging in a thrilling duel with the leading group, including Strømsted and Alessandro Giusti (ART Grand Prix). Giusti, under the Williams Academy colors, finished fourth ahead of Tuukka Taponen. The Finnish driver from R-ace GP delivered an excellent performance today, battling with Camara for the lead in the early stages and holding it for three laps before finishing fifth.

Spa Francorchamps (BEL), May 23-26 2024 – Round two of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine 2024 at circuit Spa Francorchamps. Rafael CAMARA #05, Prema Racing. © 2024 Dutch Photo Agency.

Another standout rookie was Evan Giltaire (ART Grand Prix), who moved up from tenth on the grid to secure sixth place ahead of Théophile Naël (Sainteloc Racing). Ivan Domingues (Van Amersfoort Racing) crossed the finish line eighth but was penalized with a 25-second penalty for a heated moment in the race involving Roman Bilinski (Trident). Bilinski was forced off the track on the Kemmel straight and re-entered the track without causing contact, but later had to retire. Shortly after, a collision between Romain Andriolo (G4 Racing) and Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi saw the latter crash into the barriers without any serious consequences for the driver. This incident resulted in a four-place grid penalty for the Thai driver in the next race.

Upon restart with about five minutes and one lap remaining, Camara pulled away while the battle for the top 10 intensified, with Enzo Deligny (R-ace GP) and Enzo Peugeot (Sainteloc Racing) finishing eighth and ninth, respectively, ahead of Brando Badoer (Van Amersfoort Racing), following Domingues’ penalty.

A commendable mention also goes to Marta Garcia, who fought for positions just outside the top 10, eventually finishing fifteenth, her best result in the international series for the Iron Dames team. Meanwhile, McLaren Driver Development’s Ugo Ugochukwu (Prema Racing) experienced disappointment after a strong qualifying session placed him on the second row, but he remained stationary at the start, dropping to the back of the field.

Spa Francorchamps (BEL), May 23-26 2024 – Round two of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine 2024 at circuit Spa Francorchamps. Marta GARCIA #19, Iron Dames. © 2024 Dutch Photo Agency.

The Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine will return to action in two weeks at Zandvoort on the weekend of June 8-9.

Rafael Camara:

“I’m very happy with this result, especially for the championship. Things went very well at Hockenheim, but here it was a perfect weekend. This track is very special to me, and regardless of the results, I love racing here. A special thanks to the team for their excellent work yesterday as well. I’m also very happy for James, who had a chance to redeem himself today. We’ve earned important points for the team. We need to keep going and continue working hard.”

Noah Strømsted:

“Today was a great race. I started from sixth position and managed a strong comeback with a good pace. After the restart following the safety car, it’s a pity we couldn’t stay behind Camara, but overall, I’m satisfied with this race, where we also secured another rookie class win.”

James Wharton:

“I tried to give everything I could this weekend after yesterday’s unlucky day. Today wasn’t easy even though we had a good qualifying session, but racing is another story. We did a good job anyway. Now we look forward to Zandvoort, hoping to leave the bad luck behind and try to close the gap to Rafael starting from the next races.”