The Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine has its third champion in the form of Andrea Kimi Antonelli. With a victory in the second race at Zandvoort, the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Junior driver mathematically secured the title in the international series. He continues the momentum of his successes last year, where he clinched both the ADAC-promoted F4 series title and the Italian F4 Championship, setting a record for victories. Racing under the Prema Racing banner, Antonelli has demonstrated an unrelenting pace in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine this year, securing five wins, five silver medals, one third-place finish, and four pole positions, with two races still to go.
The second Dutch race at Zandvoort provided plenty of on-track action, with Marcus Amand starting from pole position for the first time this year, driving an ART Grand Prix car. Kas Haverkort (Van Amersfoort Racing) trailed closely but ventured onto the grass shortly after the start, slipping to the back of the pack. Behind Amand, his teammate Laurens Van Hoepen moved into the second position, followed closely by the fast-paced Nikita Bedrin (Monolite Racing). The spotlight, however, shone on Antonelli, who made impressive gains in the initial stages, climbing from eighth to fourth, positioning himself just behind the leading trio. He was trailed by Tim Tramnitz (R-ace GP) in fifth and Rafael Camara (Prema Racing) in sixth.
In the following curves, the Italian driver managed to pass the top three, taking the lead just as heavy rain descended upon the Dutch circuit. Shortly after, Camara came to a halt in the sand, nearly simultaneously with Pierre Alexandre Provost (G4 Racing), who suffered the same fate, prompting the deployment of the safety car. During this neutralization, a multiple-car collision involving Emerson Fittipaldi Junior (Sainteloc Racing), Maya Weug (KIC Motorsport), and Nikhil Bora (Trident Motorsport), without any harm to the drivers, forced the race direction to red-flag the race. Once back on track, Antonelli skillfully maintained the lead until the checkered flag, with Amand and Van Hoepen crossing the finish line in an almost dead heat. Tramnitz finished the race in fourth, followed by Bedrin and Martinius Stenshorne (R-ace GP), the freshly crowned Rookie champion. Joshua Duerkesen (Arden Motorsport) also had a strong performance, finishing seventh, while Lorenzo Fluxa (Prema Racing), Sami Meguetounif (MP Motorsport), and Matias Zagazeta (R-ace GP) completed the top 10.
Andrea Kimi Antonelli: “I am overjoyed to have won the race and the championship. It has been a long season that isn’t quite over yet, as we still have the last two races in Hockenheim to contend with. I must thank the entire team, my sponsors, my family, and all the people who have supported me because without them, none of this would have been possible. Tonight, we will celebrate the victory, but next week, we’ll get right back to work for the season finale in Germany.”
All eyes are now on the last round of the year, taking place next weekend at the Hockenheim circuit, where the international series will make its debut.
Official Standings: https://formularegionaleubyalpine.com/corsa/zandvoort-2023-9/