It was a dramatic day on Formula 2’s most recent visit to Imola in 2022 but ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire walked away the winner. The Frenchman won from sixth on the grid in the Feature Race after a race that took several twists and turns along the way.

Ahead of this weekend’s return, we look back at the ’22 race weekend and what proved to be a thrilling round in the early part of that year’s campaign.


Vips was quickest in Qualifying to lead the pack on a wet Friday in Imola
Vips was quickest in Qualifying to lead the pack on a wet Friday in Imola

Before any of the racing action got underway, drivers were put to the test from the word go as wet weather greeted them for Free Practice and Qualifying.

A delayed start due to the rain and Red Flag stoppages during the opening session of the weekend meant track time was limited ahead of the all-important Qualifying half hour, emphasising quick adaptation and bravery in the wet conditions.

With the rain remaining a factor around a damp Imola circuit, laptimes continuously improved as the ideal line dried out with every lap completed. MP Motorsport’s Clément Novalak’s 1:44 benchmark was quickly beaten, as Hitech’s Juri Vips laid down a 1:41.599 to go quickest early on.

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Shortly afterwards, a Red Flag for the Campos Racing car of Olli Caldwell was thrown after the Briton spun off at the exit of Turn 4.

Drivers returned to the circuit once again, but improvements were scarce before everyone returned to the pitlane for fresh wet tyres bringing another flurry of activity.

With just over five minutes to go, Ralph Boschung went to provisional pole before Vips quickly pipped the Campos driver to retake P1. His time remained unbeaten to the flag, though DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa got closest to the Estonian to go second quickest, 0.157s down on the polesitter.


Armstrong resisted a PREMA threat to stand on the top step in the Sprint Race
Armstrong resisted a PREMA threat to stand on the top step in the Sprint Race

Reverse grid pole sitter Logan Sargeant didn’t enjoy a great launch and fellow front row starter Marcus Armstrong was able to take the lead into Turn 1. Jehan Daruvala settled into second while his PREMA Racing teammate Dennis Hauger fought off Roy Nissany at Turns 2 and 3 for third.

A Safety Car neutralised things after David Beckmann was a first lap retirement for Charouz Racing System.

Back underway and Armstrong retained his lead comfortably while the two PREMA teammates behind battled for second position. A Virtual Safety Car intervention on Lap 10 for a stationary Boschung was deployed, and with quick reactions at the restart, Daruvala was able to close back in on Armstrong to within a second, while Hauger slipped back several car lengths.

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The top two began to make a break away from the Norwegian as Daruvala applied consistent pressure to his former F3 teammate, though the Hitech driver was resolute and made no mistake.

With the gap having been as small as 0.4s, Armstrong eventually crossed the line to win the Imola Sprint by 1.4s ahead of the PREMA duo led by Daruvala, with Hauger rounding out the podium places.

Nissany put up a spirited defence to hold onto fourth position in his DAMS, with Felipe Drugovich rounding out the top five for MP.


After a frenetic race Pourchaire came through for ART Grand Prix to take the win and lead in the Championship
After a frenetic race, Pourchaire came through for ART Grand Prix to take the win and lead in the Championship

The action was instant on Sunday as the clouds gave way to glorious sunshine and a drama-filled Feature Race. Vips bogged down from pole while Jack Doohan had his sights set on making progress from P3, as did Hauger from fifth. The pair collided and were left with race-ending damage, while Nissany surged from sixth on the grid into an early lead just prior to a Safety Car.

Vips was another early retirement after running wide at Turn 5 and spinning into the barriers on Lap 6. His crash brought out a second Safety Car and provided the front runners an opportunity to pit for a mandatory stop.

Nissany remained at the head of the queue of those on the conventional strategy until Lap 20. A wide moment out of the final corner resulted in him bouncing into the barriers and retirement.

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Daruvala had led those on the alternative strategy but pitted on Lap 27 to hand the lead over to Sprint winner Armstrong ahead of his own pitstop. Drugovich, Virtuosi Racing’s Marino Sato and Caldwell stayed out until Lap 32 in the hopes of a late Safety Car to help their strategies.

A crash for Liam Lawson brought out a third and final Safety Car with three laps to go, and after those yet to pit finally came in for their stops, Pourchaire headed the pack. The Frenchman led the field across the line for his second Feature Race win of the year after his Sakhir victory earlier in the season.

Enzo Fittipaldi took P2 for Charouz and what was his best F2 result up to that point, while Boschung capped off the podium finishers in third for Campos.

Victory for Pourchaire leapfrogged him from fourth in the Drivers’ Championship to the top spot on 52 points, two clear of title rival and eventual Champion Drugovich.