The third race weekend for a Finnish F4 driver Luka Sammalisto (16) in the F4 Italian Championship series at Vallelunga, Italy, was fraught with challenges.

Preparations for the race weekend began on a high note for the young Finn. During Friday’s free practice, Sammalisto showcased competitive speed, clocking the second fastest lap time among 36 drivers in the morning session. The R-ace GP team, which Sammalisto represents, dedicated the afternoon to final testing and fine-tuning to ensure optimal equipment settings for Saturday’s qualifyings. Despite the preparations, the qualifying session did not unfold as planned. Nevertheless, Sammalisto’s consistent performance secured him 16th, 12th, and 10th place.

Saturday’s first race start quickly turned problematic. On the very first lap, a teammate collided with Sammalisto’s car, dropping him to 24th place. The race took a dramatic turn a few laps before the checkered flag when three drivers ahead of Sammalisto crashed, blocking the entire track. With no clear path, Sammalisto swerved into the sand area, where his car became stuck, ending his race prematurely.

During the second race start on Saturday, another incident transpired. After several laps, an unforeseen maneuver by a fellow competitor dashed Sammalisto’s hopes for a strong performance and points, as he was positioned in a promising 10th place at the time.

Sunday continued the pattern of misfortune. In the third race of the weekend, Sammalisto was derailed off the track due to a delayed braking maneuver by the driver behind him. This incident resulted in a damaged car and a 22nd place finish for Sammalisto.

– When at every race during the weekend, your race is ruined for reasons other than self-inflicted, it’s frustrating. When things happen that you can’t influence on your own, it eats away at a man. Disappointing in terms of sportsmanship.

– Concentration or skillful overtaking won’t suffice if a fellow racer veers into your path, or if a collision from the driver behind causes damage to your car. Setbacks are an inherent part of a motorsport. Navigating through such challenges is not always mentally easy, particularly on weekends like this.

Sammalisto also shared his frustration on behalf of his team.
– It’s really sad for the whole R-ace GP team. They have worked hard to close the gap to the top teams. It has been successful and the direction of development is correct.

– If there is something positive to dig out of the weekend, then mental strength and determination will only be strengthened by the experiences of this weekend.

– Every race weekend has its own special spices, and this weekend offered the bitterest of them. The work will continue with the team persistently and determinedly towards Mugello, where in a month’s time the fourth race weekend of the F4 Italian Championship series will take place.