PREMA Racing put in a stellar performance in the opening round of the 2022 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine in Monza, with Dino Beganovic and Paul Aron sharing pole positions and overall wins and Sebastian Montoya claiming two rookie wins in his first outing in the series.
The team put in a valuable amount of work in free practice, while the drivers got the most out of it when it really mattered. Beganovic started Saturday morning with a stunning pole position in the first of the group split qualifying sessions and then rode to victory after a restart when a contender made contact with him. The 18-year-old Ferrari Driver Academy-supported Swede drove smoothly in wet conditions to take a long-awaited win.
On Sunday, it was his 18-year-old Estonian teammate who made the most impression. After the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team junior paid the price for a front wing problem in Qual 1 and suffered a battle of attrition in Race 1, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team junior put down a blistering run in Qual 2, before pulling away and never looking back in the next race to claim his third win of his career.
In his first race of the series, Sebastian Montoya took two rookie wins. The 17-year-old Colombian constantly improved his pace, making gains as the weekend progressed and scoring a total of two points.
Hamda Al Qubaisi also made her first championship start, climbing her learning curve and making steady progress. Although the changeable weather and the racing incidents did not work in her favor, she showed great potential for the next round in Imola.
Paul Aron: “Today was a very good one, we managed to maximize qualifying with pole position and the race with the win. It was a win from light to flag, the car was really good as was the pace and race management. I am very happy for myself and the team. Yesterday we had some bad luck, we were faced with technical difficulties in qualifying which jeopardized the whole day and caused us to finish with zero points. I am very happy to finally be able to start the championship by winning race 2 and to see the team finish 1-2 to show our dominant form today.”
Dino Beganovic: “It was a great first weekend in the 2022 championship, we definitely got a lot of points, which was the main goal. I have my first pole of the season, my first win and a good result on Sunday with P2. I think we maximized the situation and we had great speed overall within the team. We showed it first with the win on Saturday and then with Paul who won on Sunday. We got some great points and I’m really happy with P2 today, even if it’s hard to beat a pole and a win!”
Sebastian Montoya: “Honestly we struggled a bit in free practice, we had to try a few things and of course I had to improve. The car wasn’t the best fit for me and we tried to adjust it, but today it was really good. Yesterday in qualifying I missed a bit on my side and I think I could have done better. In the race, however, the car felt great. It was just a little lack of experience handling the tires but I got my first rookie win. Today I did pretty well in qualifying, despite having bad luck with traffic and the red flag. I think we could have been on pole. We got P8 overall in race 2, more points for the overall championship, and that’s what we’re aiming for, and the rookie win feels really good.”
Hamda l Qubaisi: “When we got into the race, we made a significant improvement in my riding position, which helped me a lot in terms of visibility. I’ve used that to my advantage and made a great step out of the pre-season testing. Already in free practice I felt good with the car, and I wanted to translate that into qualifying. Qualy 1 was good but I didn’t maximize it like I should. If I had an extra lap I could have done it, but it was a good lap on P14 nonetheless. Race 1 was wet, conditions I always don’t feel so comfortable in. With practice and time I will get used to it. In qualifying 2 today it was very difficult with damp conditions, but I managed to get a lap. The race was dry, that’s what I wanted. I got a good start and I tried to make up for positions but was knocked out. It wasn’t really in my hands, but I learned a lot from this weekend, and we’ll take that to the next round.”