- Caroline quickest in rain hit qualifying, but come undone by technical non compliance.
- Advantage Fewtrell in championship battle after capturing double pole.
- Ayrton Simmons shines in wet conditions as quickest rookie.
BRANDS HATCH 1 OCTOBER, 2016 – The final qualifying session of 2016 for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford proved to be a thrilling affair at a rain hit Brands Hatch. This season’s wet weather wizard Jamie Caroline appeared to have double pole positions sewn up, but his bubble was burst after the session, resulting in his exclusion from qualifying and the promotion of Max Fewtrell to pole as well as the rest of the field up one position.
Caroline was excluded due to a technical non-compliance resulting in his times being taken away from qualifying which means he will start from the back of the grid with a 10 second time penalty.
Caroline attempted to stamp his authority early on. Having posted a time good enough for provisional pole, he ventured off the circuit at Druids resulting in a red flag and a halt to the session.
Caroline and the marshals did brilliantly to extricate the Ford EcoBoost-powered racer from the gravel to give the Pirtek backed star the chance to continue his endeavour for pole as the rest of the field improved their times.
Chief among those was the Carlin duo of Max Fewtrell and James Pull, as well as the TRS Arden double act of Rafael Martins and Ayrton Simmons who all had moments on provisional pole during the latter half of the session.
Simmons was the first driver to break into the 1m 43s bracket with just three minutes remaining, but Caroline gate-crashed the fight for pole in spectacular fashion having regained his confidence after his earlier off.
A time of 1m 42.615s from Caroline proved to be out of reach for the rest of the pack, but following his exclusion Fewtrell’s lap of 1m 43.064 would stand as the pole time.
It was a fantastic result for Carlin’s Fewtrell who fared best of the title contenders. He was Caroline’s closest challenger as the battle for pole intensified. The man who lies second in the standings crucially will start seven places ahead of championship leader Sennan Fielding who appeared to struggle in a car that wasn’t dialled into the tricky wet conditions.
Commented Fewtrell: “I haven’t driven around this circuit in the wet before so the first five minutes were about getting used to it all and then finding where the grip was. After the first red flag we went back out and I think we went top with really good times.
“In the final minutes the car was just getting quicker and quicker. I knew I had to keep improving my lap time until the flag otherwise I definitely fallen back.
“I think our pace was really strong. I felt really comfortable out there and I’m looking forward to the race.
“If the race is wet or dry we’re ready for it.”
James Pull rounded off the session in P2; an excellent grid position from which to keep himself in title contention and fellow title rival Luis Leeds bounced back from a quiet Friday testing to put the car P3.
Ayrton Simmons had to settle for fourth, but ended qualifying as the quickest rookie and earned a second row grid start for Round 30. The TRS Arden racer has come on leaps and bounds during the season and is determined to round off his rookie British F4 season in style.
Team-mate Rafael Martins qualified a solid fifth and Frank Bird put in one of his best qualifying performances of the year to end up inside the top 10 – running as high as fourth at one point. Fellow Fortec star Alex Quinn will line up seventh.
Further down the order frequent front runners Goddard, Florescu, DeFrancesco and Monger occupied 10th to 13th and have it all to do in the race when lights go out at 1620.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Provisional qualifying times Brands Hatch GP 1 October 2016 (am/pm)
1 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:43.064
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:43.154
3 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:43.629
4 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:43.763
5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:43.854
6 Frank BIRD / GBR / Fortec 1:44.195
7 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:44.493
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:44.624
9 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec 1:44.772
10 Zane Goddard / AUS / Double R / 1:44.808 etc.
Round 30 grid order (based on second-fastest times): Fewtrell – Simmons – Pull – Bird – Leeds – Fielding – Florescu – Goddard – Martins – DeFrancesco etc.