Italian F4: Kush Maini records Top 4 finish in Race 2 at Mugello
Starting Round 6 in the 2017 Italian Formula 4 Championship, Kush Maini was fourth and 11th in the two practice sessions on Friday at Mugello.
In Qualifying 1, the Indian finished seventh, a mere 0.464s from pole-sitter Sebastian Fernandez’s (Bhaitech) time. Prema’s Marcus Armstrong was second and Bhaitech’s Leonardo Lorandi was third.
The Qualifying 2 had Maini in fifth, this time just 0.388s from pole-sitter Armstrong. The Indian’s Jenzer teammate Job van Uitert was second, as Lorandi rounded off the Top 3.
The start of the first race under sunny conditions at Mugello saw Maini lose a couple of positions in the opening two laps in the 17-lap race.
The Indian suddenly found himself sandwiched between his Jenzer teammates, with van Uitert ahead and Gregoire Saucy behind.
It was then a processional race for the Bangalorean as he pretty much stayed on the back of van Uitert, while having to defend at the same time from Saucy, which he managed well.
He finished ninth eventually, with Fernandez taking a dominant lights-to-flag win from a fighting Armstrong and Bhaitech’s Lorenzo Colombo.
The start of the second race on Sunday morning saw Maini make up a position in the opening lap, after he cleared Race 1 winner Fernandez to be fourth.
But just after the safety car period, the Indian lost the position to DRZ Benelli's Ian Rodriguez. With few laps of fighting, he regained the place on Lap 7 to be fourth again.
He was then stuck behind Lorandi for the rest of the race. Despite few attempts to take third, the Italian managed to keep Maini off by 0.379s.
Ahead of the fighting duo, it was Armstrong with the win from Maini's teammate van Uitert.
Maini made another good start in the final race of the weekend at Mugello, once again moving by once place in fourth.
With Top 3 pulling away, Maini fell in the clutches of DR Formula's Artem Petrov, who cleared the Indian in the next few laps.
Before Maini could settle in, Lorandi too passed him as he fell to sixth while still defending from DR Formula's Aldo Festante.
Up front, while battling for the win, Armstrong and van Uitert came together which dropped the Dutch driver at the back of the grid, as Fernandez took over the lead.
The Venezuelan eased to take his second win of the weekend, as Petrov leapfrogged to second and Armstrong completed the Top 3.
Van Uitert's off also helped Maini to gain a place to be fifth, but a last lap tumble saw him drop all the way to 18th and out of sure points.
After six rounds in the 2017 season, Armstrong leads the standings with 267 points, while Maini sits 10th with 85 to his name.
The championship now heads for the season-finale during the October 20-22 weekend at Monza.