The red, white, and blue #72 FRECA single-seater car driven by Leonardo Fornaroli makes a right turn, pursued by the orange and black car of Joshua Dufek #13.

The final battle: Dufek or Fornaroli for the FRECA rookie title?

The Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA) has already awarded its 2022 drivers’ and teams’ titles to Dino Beganovic and Prema Racing. However, there is still one final question to answer: who will succeed Isack Hadjar and become the rookie champion? F1 Feeder Series talked to the two contenders at Mugello.

By Perceval Wolff

After Grégoire Saucy last year, Switzerland could well have a new FRECA champion in 2022. Joshua Dufek has had one of the most interesting progressions throughout the year. After taking just two points in the first 10 races, the Van Amersfoort Racing driver massively improved his level of performance, especially by stepping on three podiums in the last five races.

Dufek: from zero to hero

“I think I’m not the only one who has progressed. It’s a bit the team, a bit myself; it’s a mix, in fact. I think that my coach, my manager and I have worked extremely hard to try to improve because we were not where we wanted to be at the start of the season.”

We were not where we wanted to be at the start of the season

Joshua Dufek (Van Amersfoort Racing)

Coached by former Estonian feeder series star Kevin Korjus, London-born Dufek has impressed with his physical training and his evolution during the year.

“What happens on track is important, but what happens outside of it, on the simulator, at the gym, is at least as important or maybe even more important. At the end of the day, all of this gives better results,” he explained.

The Swiss driver will start on the front row this afternoon alongside poleman Gabriel Bortoleto for the final race of the season. Considering Dufek is six points behind his rival for the rookie title, Leonardo Fornaroli, what will his mindset be entering this race?

“It’s difficult. Of course, it would be really cool to win my first race, but I know I need to think about the championship at the same time. If things stay as they stand, if I finish P2 or even P3, it would be enough given Fornaroli’s grid position [P7]. So I will have to find the right balance between not taking too many risks and not getting stepped on.”

Fornaroli: Mr. Consistency

Fornaroli has been one of the most consistent FRECA drivers, scoring points in all rounds but one. Despite taking four top-five finishes, the Italian driver is yet to score a rookie win or even go on the podium this year, and he knows he will need more than this consistency to fight Dufek.

“I have to say I have been really surprised by my performance. The team did a really good job, especially for a first year in the category. Joshua did a mega job on the last three rounds, he has been so fast, so congrats to him,” Fornaroli told F1 Feeder Series.

I have been really surprised by my performance

Leonardo Fornaroli (Trident)

The Trident driver will start seventh this afternoon. With his rival starting five positions ahead of him, Fornaroli knows what he has to do.

“It will be full attack for this last race. I just need to recover as much as I can to close the rookie championship. I will be pushing as much as I can.”

The final FRECA race of the season will start this afternoon at 14:45 local time at Mugello.

Header photo credit: FRECA

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