- Fielding and Leeds lock out British F4 front row at Silverstone.
- Entire field covered by just over a second in super-close session.
SILVERSTONE 17 SEPTEMBER, 2016: Sennan Fielding flew to a fantastic pole in damp conditions at Silverstone in F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford qualifying. Testing suggested there would be a fierce battle for pole and it proved to be the case with the entire field covered by just over second.
In tricky damp conditions drivers were put to the test, but not for the first time this season JHR Developments driver Fielding came to the fore in the wet. With five minutes of the session remaining the title contender posted a time of 1m 04.795s, to snatch provisional pole from title rival Luis Leeds.
The TRS Arden racer hit back though, improving his time by nearly two tenths as the clocked ticked down, but it wasn’t quite enough to top Fielding, leaving him just 0.010s off pole.
Round 27 of the championship sees the two drivers switching places on the front row however; with Leeds’ second quickest time netting him pole by just 0.027 seconds from Fielding.
Said poleman Fielding: “People keep saying I’m a master of these wet conditions and I really didn’t want to jinx it. I just go out there and try to do my job. It’s been a tough year and I just keep working hard. I think people can easily put too much pressure on themselves at this time of season. But I’ve just said to myself that I’m going out to enjoy it and do the best that I can by getting some great results.”
Added Leeds: “That’s one of our better qualifying sessions. We wanted to make amends for qualifying at Rockingham and the team have given me a really good car for this weekend to get P1 and P2. We’re really going for it this weekend.
“These conditions weren’t expected, and not what I’m used to as an Aussie. There’s been a lot of sacrifice leaving my friends and family back home and things do get tough sometimes, but we work hard and weekends like this make it all worth it. Hopefully we can top it off with a win.”
Billy Monger gave JHR Developments even more to celebrate with an excellent third place grid slot for this afternoon’s race.
“I’m gunning for the win after the disappointment of Rockingham,” said a bullish Monger. “I’m feeling more motivated than ever now and I’m looking forward to the race today. The wet conditions in testing yesterday definitely helped me hit the ground running in qualifying because I had never been around here in the wet before.”
Double R’s Zane Goddard and Carlin’s Max Fewtrell carried their strong testing pace into qualifying, just several tenths off of pole earning them fourth and fifth place grid slots respectively, as well as second row starts for tomorrow’s finale.
Behind them could be found Devlin DeFrancesco who looked very assured out on track, whilst Caroline was his usual exuberant self in the wet on the way to the seventh quickest time. The Fortec Motorsports driver finds himself in a Carlin sandwich on the grid with Petru Florescu and James Pull just behind him.
Commented DeFrancesco: ““The session went OK. We did quite a solid job. The conditions have definitely shaken up the order, but P6 is good. I’m confident in both conditions. There’s more work to do on my side in the dry, but I’m looking forward to race one and we will see what we can do.”
Explained Caroline: “The rear was sliding around and I did the best that I could with the car underneath me, but unfortunately it was only good enough for seventh. I got a bit held up in traffic on my last lap so I think I could have gone quicker. As long as it’s not really hot for the races this weekend I can hopefully battle my way through the field.”
Rafael Martins rounded out the top ten, whilst Frank Bird’s progression continues to catch the eye, having just missed out on the top 10 by fractions of a second.
Ayrton Simmons proved to be quickest of the Rookie class drivers maintaining his Rookie leading pace from testing yesterday, whilst class leader Alex Quinn had a session to forget in his Fortec Motorsports prepared racer.
Today’s race is due off at 1510.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Provisional qualifying times Silverstone 16 September 2016
Grid order Round 25
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:04.795
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:04.805
3 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1:05.007
4 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:05.033
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:05.114
6 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:05.179
7 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Fortec 1:05.258
8 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:05.392
9 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:05.491
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:05.554 etc
Round 27 grid order (based on second-fastest times): Leeds – Fielding – Goddard – Fewtrell – Monger – DeFrancesco – Caroline – Pull – Martins – Florescu etc.