Carlin 1-2-3 in Ford MSA Formula Brands Hatch qualifying

  • Reigning champion team maintains dominant form from Friday testing.
  • Romanian Petru Florescu puts in best ever qualifying performance to beat team-mate James Pull to pole by 0.016s.

2 April, 2016 – Reigning Ford British F4 champions Carlin got their 2016 off to a flying start with a front three lockout on the grid in this morning’s qualifying at Brands Hatch. Romanian Petru Florescu took pole in a session which evolved rapidly as an array of drivers topped the times throughout.

Florescu put a year of Ford British F4 experience to good use as he stormed his way to his best ever grid slot (his previous qualifying best fourth in the series last year).

Said the pole man: “I struggled for grip on the first few laps, but by the end of the session when it really mattered I was able to go very fast.”

“The key to the session was maintaining concentration and focus to put together the perfect lap. After testing yesterday I knew that if I put my fastest sectors together I would have the pace to fight for pole.

“Now my attention turns to the race where my aim is to get an excellent start and drive a perfect race from the front.”

The leading driver from yesterday’s test, James Pull, another Ford British F4 returnee, just missed out on pole, less than two hundredths off of his team-mate’s time.

Pull was extremely upbeat after the session: “It was so close out there and great to see so much competition. The car was so well balanced. Although I’m not on pole, I’m very happy and I’ve got a great chance to pull off a fantastic result from P2.”

Completing the top three was Max Fewtrell, who like Pull was able to get within a tenth of the pole time: “Around this track you get into a rhythm and if I could have got one more lap in before the chequered flag with the tyres at optimum temperature then I think pole would have been possible.

“Nevertheless, I’m really pleased to be fastest of the newcomers to the series. I can be proud of that and look forward to a strong showing in the race.”

Despite the final classification the session was far from Carlin’s for the taking. Ginetta Junior champion Jamie Caroline was the early pacesetter as his Pirtek Racing Jamun prepared racer blitzed the circuit.

Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard soon got in on the act deposing Caroline with just over half of the session remaining.

However as the session progressed both their challenges faded with the powerhouse teams of Carlin and Arden coming on strong.

Luis Leeds put a rather quiet Friday testing behind him to go fourth fastest and show the kind of pace that has seen many single him out as a driver destined for big things this season. He was the first driver to break into 45s and was the only non-Carlin driver to achieve such a feat.

Meanwhile Arden’s standout performer from yesterday, Rafael Martins, put in another assured performance to line up sixth on the grid.

Alex Quinn took top honours of the Rookie Class drivers with a lap that earned him fifth for Fortec Motorsports.

He was left ruing a last gasp lap with all the makings for pole that ended up thwarted by traffic: “Overall I’m pleased with my first ever qualifying. It could have gone better as I was blocked on my fastest lap, but we know the pace is there and we are determined to show what we are capable of in the race.”

The first race of the Ford British F4 season kicks off at 14:15 and it promises to provide a captivating battle for the first win of the year.

Provisional qualifying times Brands Hatch Indy 2 April 2016
Grid order for Round 1
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 45.834s
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 45.850s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 45.885s
4 Luis LEEDS / AUS / TRS Arden 45.996s
5 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 46.000s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / TRS Arden 46.063s
7 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 46.083s
8 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 46.098s
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 46.141s
10 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 46.201s etc

Round 3 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Florescu – Leeds – Pull – Fewtrell – Martins – Quinn – DeFrancesco – Caroline – Goddard – Fielding etc

Full times