Ferrari junior Arthur Leclerc completed a triple win at Mugello in Formula Regional European Championship to solidify his points lead. The Prema driver was immediately in the defence from pole against team-mate and fellow Ferrari junior Gianluca Petecof, and they almost rubbed wheels on the run to the first corner.
This allowed Oliver Rasmussen, in the third of Prema’s cars, to take the outside line. As Petecof just took the lead, Rasmussen ran alongside Leclerc through the first two corners going uphill and finally claimed second place as they exited the next corner.
Rasmussen tried the same on Petecof on lap two, but ran out of room on the outside of the first corner and bounced onto the grass. He returned to track in third, and Leclerc made the most of the error to use the clean track ahead to close back in on Petecof.
Coming down the pit straight for the start of lap three they repeated their opening lap battle, with Leclerc on the outside heading to the first corner. Petecof braked late to keep the lead, but this allowed Leclerc to cut back on the exit.
Through the next two corners they were side-by-side, and Leclerc’s strong traction on the outside of the third turn meant they remained aligned as they headed back downhill for the next corner. It was here where Leclerc reclaimed the lead, and he pushed hard to create a gap over his team-mate.
That meant he had a little less life in his tyres later on, and in the second half of the race Petecof reduced the 1.4-second lead Leclerc had built. The two Formula 1 juniors were closely matched on pace though, and the gap ended up opening up again slightly in the closing laps after both drivers had brief off-track moments.
Rasmussen finished six seconds back in third, while Patrik Pasma beat his KIC Motorsport team-mate Konsta Lappalainen to fourth.
A race-long battle between Van Amersfoort Racing team-mates Alessandro Famularo and Pierre-Louis Chovet was decided in Famularo’s favour, although he did receive a black-and-white flag for “not respecting the racing line”.
Emidio Pesce and Gillian Henrion had a similarly close fight for ninth, which Pesce prevailed in after an error by Henrion.
Returning Red Bull junior Vips qualified had an unproductive first few laps, before taking to the pits with a technical problem. He remained there for several minutes, returned to track and then swiftly returned to the pit to retire after receiving a penalty.
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