Ernesto Rivera and Jan Przyrowski take podium finish on debut at Jarama season opener

Both drivers from Griffin Core by Campos stepped onto the podium in Race 3 of this weekend. Cárdenas also scores points for Griffin Core by Campos while Tye, Egozi, and Tarnvachnikul do the same with Campos Racing's machinery in a tumultuous weekend where all three races were red-flagged

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The start of the 2024 F4 Spain season at the Madrid Jarama - RACE Circuit has been extremely demanding for all members of the Valencia-based outfit. The track located near the capital of Spain has witnessed three very accident-marred races, all of which have seen the red flag waved at least once. At a weekend marked by competitiveness and high temperatures, the drivers have fought to achieve the best possible results, although the race circumstances have not always allowed it. Nathan Tye, James Egozi, and Enzo Tarnvanichkul from Campos Racing; and Ernesto Rivera, Jan Przyrowski, and Andrés Cárdenas defending the colors of Griffin Core by Campos; have all managed to overcome the difficulties to finish in the points. In the case of Rivera and Przyrowski, they even achieved their maiden podium finishes in the F4-based championship.

On Saturday, the day opened with the practice sessions, with Przyrowski being the fastest in the first session with a time of 1m31.896s followed closely by Rivera and Tye. Cárdenas and Egozi, on the other hand, were fifth and sixth in the classification. In the second session, the magnificent collective level continued with Przyrowski taking second place, just a tenth and a half behind the best time, while Rivera and Tye also managed to place among the five fastest of the session. However, in the afternoon, the first qualifying session was going to yield a less fruitful result. With much hotter asphalt, times worsened overall, and to make matters worse, the high traffic on the track of 35 cars meant that Rivera was the seventh fastest with a time of 1m33.134s followed on the grid by Egozi and Tye thanks to their times of 1m33.142s and 1m33.173s respectively. Cárdenas was twelfth with a time of 1m33.214s while, three places further back, Tarnvanichkul qualified with his lap of 1m33.325s. Polish driver Przyrowski could only manage 18th with his time of 1m33.397s.

Late in the afternoon, the first of the races, lasting thirty minutes plus one lap, took place and it was going to be another tough test. When the lights went out, Rivera and Tye maintained their presence among the top eight, but Egozi was less fortunate as he was involved in an incident that ultimately forced him to retire. Tye and Rivera swapped positions on the seventh lap, but just two laps later the safety car came out. After just one neutralized lap, the race was restarted until a new accident forced the red flag to be shown, and the race was concluded. Thus, Tye finished seventh in the classification with Rivera ninth, also in the points. Cárdenas, after a remarkable comeback, finished eleventh just ahead of Tarnvanichkul. Przyrowski crossed the line in 14th place.

Sunday began with the second qualifying session, which determined the starting grid for the third race and in which, as a sign of such a closely-fought battle, the first 28 drivers finished within a second. After having fought for pole position, Rivera ultimately took third place with a time of 1m31.931s, narrowly beating Przyrowski and Cárdenas, fourth and fifth with lap times of 1m32.006s and 1m32.054s respectively. Tarnvanichkul achieved the ninth best time with a lap of 1m32.147s, just ahead of Egozi and Tye, tenth and eleventh respectively.

The second race of the weekend, the shortest with 25 minutes plus one lap duration, began at noon. However, with Rivera fourth on the grid and Egozi sixth, everything seemed to indicate a great result. Rivera started well, but a collision between Lucas Fluxá and Mattia Colnaghi just ahead of him was going to leave all three out of the race at the first corner. This incident forced the red flag to be shown for over forty minutes to clear the track before the race could resume. After one lap behind the safety car, the green flags waved again and American Egozi passed Keanu Al Azhari in a great move around the outside after several parallel corners. Meanwhile, Cárdenas was already sixth ahead of Tye and Tarnvanichkul in the standings. Egozi put under pressure the driver ahead of him, Maciej Gladysz, while closing the door to fourth-placed Al Azhari. The safety car came out again with three minutes remaining, heading into the pit-lane for a thrilling final lap. In the restart, Al Azhari managed to pass Egozi who crossed the line in fourth place. Cárdenas was sixth ahead of Tye and Tarnvanichkul, all of them in the points-paying positions.

The curtain was to fall with the third and final race, once again scheduled for thirty minutes and one lap. Rivera, Przyrowski, and Cárdenas maintained their presence among the top five at the start while Tarnvanichkul took advantage of a great start to place sixth. Unfortunately, shortly after, the Thai driver overshot the braking point at the end of the straight and went off track, losing five positions first and then dropping to the back of the field after having to pit due to losing the front wing of his car. After a couple of laps with the safety car on track, the race was restarted with Rivera and Przyrowski solidly in third and fourth place. However, Cárdenas was going to lose a couple of places and later, on lap 7, he would go off track and could not rejoin. The succession of incidents in the restarts was going to cause a couple more safety car deployments, until reaching lap 12. Back in green flag conditions, a clash between Fluxá and Colnaghi was going to leave Rivera and Przyrowski alone followed by a superb Tye, who was making a forced march comeback. However, the race director again showed the red flag and thus the penultimate pass by the finish line would count for the final classification. Thus, Rivera would be second followed by Przyrowski. Tye, for his part, finished fifth. Tarnvanichkul finished in delayed positions having to retire as did the aforementioned Cárdenas and Egozi.

After this first meeting, Riveras sits in fifth position with twenty points to his name, while Tye is seventh with 16. Przyrowski occupies the eighth position with 15, and rounding out the top ten positions is Egozi with a total of 10 points. Among the teams, Griffin Core by Campos is fourth with 26 points, and Campos Racing is fifth with 20 points in their tally.

The next F4 Spain event will take place at the Algarve International Circuit on June 8-9.


Photo credit: Fotocar13