Podium for Michael Benyahia
After the various technical setbacks encountered during the previous rounds of the French F4 Championship at Le Castellet and Pau, the goal of the third meeting of the season at Lédenon was clear. Michael Benyahia was to ensure points in every race without taking too many risks and to finish in the top five. The young Moroccan driver fulfilled its task beyond expectations as he was on the second step of the podium in Race 2 and regained 5th position in the provisional standings.
The very hilly circuit of Lédenon is not Michael’s favourite track, far from it. He was still able to manage all the specifics of the event effectively and delivered a solid performance throughout the event. For example he concentrated on not leaving the limits of the track, which is not always easy in Lédenon, at the risk being penalised, even though he slipped a few tenths.
It is important to calibrate before Qualifying, but Michael’s free practice session was unfortunately cut short due to poorly positioned pedals. He probably missed a few testing laps in order to give his best in Qualifying where he posted the 6th time and the 5th second best time, decisive for the starting grids for race 1 and 3.
Michael fought hard to maintain his position in Races 1 and 3 by finishing 5th each time while he was able to gain places in Race 4 despite worn rear tyres, ranked 4th after some overtaking. But it was during the second race that he achieved his best performance of the weekend. Starting in 6th place due to the reverse grid for the top 10, he started on a wet line after a storm. He was already back up 3rd when the Safety Car went on track following an accident. He retained his place at the restart, and then followed the pace of the leader to take 2nd position. He therefore enjoyed the pleasure of getting on the second step of the podium in recognition of his efforts.
There was no way for Michael to aim for victory at Lédenon. In consultation with his coach Stéphane Daoudi, it was decided that the third round would be devoted to gathering important points in all four races after the technical problems of the previous meetings that had downgraded him to 9th in the Championship. Returning to 5th overall, the young Moroccan hopeful has perfectly fulfilled his mission to put himself in a situation conducive to attacking at the next meeting on the former Formula 1 circuit of Magny-Cours in early July.