- Oscar Piastri takes second double Ford EcoBoost-powered pole of career.
- Top three drivers covered by less than one tenth of second in ultra-competitive qualifying.
12 AUGUST, 2017 – Just a fortnight after TRS Arden’s first front row lock out in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost, the Banbury outfit was at it again in qualifying at Knockhill. Oscar Piastri stormed his way to a double pole just as he had done two weeks ago, with team-mate Alex Quinn set to start alongside him on the front row.
On a drying track drivers boldly elected to leave pit lane on slick tyres and they danced their way around the 1.27-mile Fife track. However, two drivers succumbed to the tricky conditions causing red flags which played a pivotal part in the session.
With just under half of the 20 minute session remaining Lucca Allen’s off brought out the first red flag with Quinn on provisional pole. A delay of several minutes ensued while Allen’s car was recovered with the track going green with just over seven minutes on the clock. It resulted in a stampede of Ford EcoBoost-powered racers as the field dived out onto the track, and left many caught up in traffic.
Piastri did brilliantly to find himself plenty of clear air, waiting a fraction longer than the majority of the field to take to the track. As others jostled for space while trying to better their lap time, Piastri was able to pump in his fastest times unhindered.
Another red flag was triggered by Karl Massaad’s stricken car with three minutes on the clock which saw the session brought to a premature end. Piastri’s best lap of 49.913s enough to see him take pole by just 0.038s from Quinn with Carlin’s Logan Sargeant only 0.033s further back.
Said poleman Piastri: “This P1 is a great result. It’s great to get another front row lock out for the team and I’m ahead of my main title rival Jamie Caroline.
“I came into today with a fresh head after a tricky day yesterday. In the first part of the session I was a little bit off of where I needed to be, then the red flag came and that gave me a chance to go back out there and nail it. The car felt better than yesterday which helped a lot too.
“In both parts of the session we left it later than the others to go out on track and that meant I could get some clear track in front of me.”
“The key was to push hard, but not go over the top otherwise it would have been so easy to go off in those conditions.
“I’m really happy that we are one-two on the grid, but I think I could have quite easily taken pole if the red flags hadn’t come out,” commented Quinn. “I found a gap in the traffic, but then the red flag came out.
“I think as along as we get a good start we can fight for the win. The car felt amazing again and we’ve got great pace.
“I set my best time in traffic after the first red flag and then I finally found a gap but the second red flag came out and that prevented me from going any faster.”
“We definitely had the speed for pole position,” added Sargeant. “It was a bit of a frustrating session with the red flags which took away our shot at pole, but we’ll see what we can improve on and do better in the race.
“I don’t think traffic really hindered us, I just had to back out from my best lap which we reckon looking at the sectors could have put us on pole.
“We showed yesterday in free practice we have really strong pace so we have nothing to worry about this weekend and have the potential to get some great results.
Ayrton Simmons and Jamie Caroline were others who lamented the timing of the red flags. It thwarted their pole position bids and left them fourth and fifth respectively.
Johnathan Hoggard’s fine weekend continued for Fortec Motorsports with his best qualifying result in sixth on only his second British F4 race weekend.
Lining up alongside Hoggard will be Linus Lundqvist who was once again the quickest Double R runner, with Hoggard’s team-mate York in eighth. The latter frequently recorded outright fastest first sectors, but was unable to hook up a complete lap to see him vault up the order.
Patrik Pasma made a welcome return to the top 10 in qualifying after a far from enjoyable outing at the last meeting at Snetterton, while Sam Smelt once again put his GW Motorsport-prepared car into the top 10 after another assured performance from the newcomer.
Round 19 gets underway at 1430, with lights out for race two (the rescheduled Round 12 from Oulton Park earlier in the season) at 1710.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional qualifying times Knockhill 12 August 2017
Round 19 grid order
1 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 49.913s
2 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 49.951s
3 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin 49.984s
4 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 50.078s
5 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 50.102s
6 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec 50.140s
7 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 50.182s
8 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 50.233s
9 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 50.327s
10 Sam SMELT / GBR / GW 50.676s etc.
Round 21 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Piastri – Quinn – Caroline – Simmons – Sargeant – Hoggard – Pasma – Lundqvist – York – Caldwell
Round 12 (Race two) grid order (based on second-fastest times from qualifying at Oulton Park 20 May, 2017)
Caroline – Piastri – Sargeant – Quinn – Lundqvist – Massaad – Pasma – Simmons – Webb – York – Sharp – Roy – Liu