- Pull gets the better of poleman Fewtrell on opening lap to set up victory.
- Fielding climbs six places and pulls off dramatic last lap lunge to pass main title rival Fewtrell.
- Ford’s super six becomes three as Fielding (JHR), Fewtrell (Carlin) and Leeds (Arden) are the only drivers left in title contention.
- Ayrton Simmons adds fourth Rookie win to his name.
BRANDS HATCH 1 OCTOBER, 2016 – Carlin’s James Pull was inch perfect in slippery conditions at Brands Hatch to claim his second win of the season in Round 28 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.
As team-mate and poleman Max Fewtrell squirmed off the line struggling for traction, front row starter James Pull took control of the race by getting the better of Fewtrell into Druids on the back of a better start.
With clear air ahead of him Pull was in effortless control out front. Not even a safety car early on following an off for Billy Monger and Devlin DeFrancesco at different parts of the track could break his rhythm. The Carlin racer mastering the restart and managing his pace out front.
Commented the race winner: “I got a bit of wheel spin off the line, but Max got a worse start and then unfortunately for him I managed to get the cut back into Druids.
“After that I just focused on trying to hit my marks and braking points, just like I did when I won at Rockingham and pulled quite a large gap.
“The race was made more difficult by the safety car because I lost the temperature in my tyres and then the rain started to come down again, but I just made sure I got the best exit out of Clearways as I could to pull away at the restart.”
“Towards the end I was a bit nervous about Fielding coming back towards me and I have to say he drove a fantastic race.”
Fewtrell did well to remain in second place, but there was a swarm of TRS Arden cars all eager to pass him. Luis Leeds, Rafael Martins and Ayrton Simmons in hot pursuit. However, Leeds’ chances of the podium were dashed when his car slowed dramatically just seconds before the safety car restart.
Leeds fought his way back up to 10th, but it will come as little consolation as the Red Bull Junior now sits 36 points adrift of championship leader Fielding with just 50 up for grabs tomorrow.
Said a resolute Leeds: “I’ve had so many things happen this year, but I will be giving it my all to take the fight to Fielding and Fewtrell. I’ve got nothing to lose and I’m coming for them.”
Fielding was spectacular, bouncing back brilliantly from a qualifying where his car was not dialled into the wet track conditions. Starting from eighth he picked his way past the Fortec’s Quinn and Bird, as well as the Arden’s Martins and Simmons.
Fielding had more up his sleeve, his piece de resistance coming on the final lap with a daring late move down the inside of title rival Max Fewtrell at Paddock Hill Bend. An overtake which could prove crucial when the curtain falls on the season tomorrow, as it enabled Fielding to extend his lead over Fewtrell in the standings by three points.
“I put everything into that race after a tough qualifying. I didn’t let my head go down. I know that anything can happen in this exciting British F4 series.
“It was about finding the grip out there. I had a mega start and a bit of rubbing with a few people which put me on the grass so I lost a few positions, but then as soon as I got a clear space I got my head down and found where the grip was. It was a mega race.
“There are not many points between Max and I in the standings. Given all the work that both I and JHR Developments have put in all year I know I have got to do everything I can this weekend.
“That move on Max was so close. I started locking both fronts and I managed to get the car stopped, release the brakes and thankfully the car turned in. I thought either it would pay off or we would both end up in the gravel!”
“I’m going to go out there tomorrow and show that we truly deserve this title. The team has done a phenomenal job for the budget we have.
“This title is going to go down to the wire.”
Fewtrell emerged from the race still buoyant about his title prospects. A well-deserved podium place after a drag race to the finish line with Rafael Martins. Carlin’s remaining title hope starts one place ahead of Fielding in Round 29 and on pole for the season finale, whereas Fielding will start sixth.
Said Fewtrell: “I think the initial start to the first corner wasn’t actually that bad, but James caught up to me and then got the switch back because I was really struggling for grip.
“I really struggled to find the grip and I just had to keep it on the track.
“Sennan was something like two seconds quicker at the end and his experience definitely helps him in these kind of situations. He’s a lot more experienced than me and he’s done a lot more races.
“I saw the rate he was coming at me and I felt there was no point in risking a shunt. It’s obviously not ideal he passed me, but I start ahead of him in both races tomorrow and there is still all to play for.”
It was a race full of comebacks with Jamie Caroline overcoming a last place grid slot and 10 second penalty following a technical non-compliance in qualifying to finish seventh and Petru Florescu was superb battling his way up from 11th to sixth. A perfectly judged overtake to squeeze past Kjaergaard at Paddock Hill bend a particular highlight.
Importantly for Caroline, seventh place earns him pole for tomorrow’s first race and a chance of race winning glory, but one senses Florescu starting alongside him might well make life difficult.
Ahead of Florescu could be found Ayrton Simmons and after a brilliant showing in qualifying as quickest Rookie class driver, he followed up with a spirited drive to class victory and fifth overall. He will hope for more of the same in tomorrow’s opener starting from third.
Explained Simmons: “It was a really interesting race, especially in those sorts of conditions which always spice it up. I’m really pleased with the result and got a really good start.
“My inexperience in these conditions came into play a little bit on the first lap when I lost a couple of places, but I managed to gain a place back during the race.
“You had to have two different mindsets looking for a dry line around the Indy part of the circuit and then look for the wet lines around the GP part of the track which wasn’t easy at all.”
Fortec Motorsports Alex Quinn finished behind team-mate Caroline in eighth, whilst Jack Butel put in one of his best performances of the year for JHR with an excellent top ten drive to bring home some very valuable points.
The title battle is perfectly poised heading into the final two rounds; the first of which gets underway at 1030 with the season finale set for 1543 which will be screened live on ITV4.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Provisional results Round 28 Brands Hatch GP 1 October 2016 (am/pm)
11 laps / 26.76 miles
1 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 21m 24.773s / 75.00mph
2 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +1.488s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +2.822s
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +2.030s
5 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden + 5.669s
6 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +6.396s
7 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Fortec +6.592s
8 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +17.955s
9 Jack BUTEL / GBR / JHR +19.319s
10 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +21.849s etc.
Fastest lap Jamie Caroline / Fortec / 1m 37.902s / 89.47mph
Rookie class 1 Simmons; 2 Quinn; 3 Kjaergaard; 4 Martin
Grid for Round 29 Caroline – Florescu – Simmons – Martins – Fewtrell – Fielding – Pull – Quinn – Butel – Leeds etc.
Provisional championship standings 1 Fielding 326; 2 Fewtrell 318; 3 Leeds 290; 4 Pull 273; 5 DeFrancesco 259; 6 Quinn 244; 7 Florescu 238; 8 Goddard 230; 9 Martins 192; 10 Caroline 154 etc.
Rookie class 1 Quinn 553; 2 Simmons 380; 3 Kjaergaard 370; 4 J Martin 369; 5 R Martin 130