- JHR’s Fielding leads the way in super-close testing at Snetterton, with the majority of the field covered by less than a second.
SNETTERTON 29 JULY, 2016 – Sennan Fielding and JHR Developments got their weekend in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford off to a flying start by topping the times in testing. A time of 1m 52.254s from Fielding in the morning session proved to be enough to see him reign supreme at the end of the day’s proceedings by over two tenths of a second.
It represents a welcome return to form for a driver whose quest for the title is in need of a shot in the arm after a frustrating outing at Croft before the summer break. The Chesterfield racer looked at ease around the Snetterton 300 circuit and on the basis of today’s performance is sure to be in the thick of the fight for top honours.
Said Fielding: “The [Ford EcoBoost] engine feels very good and the car felt extremely good which gives me a lot of confidence. I think the pace we have had today being P1 in the first session and P2 in the second session shows how consistent we are which is nice. We are quick on old and new tyres which gives us a lot of confidence for the weekend.”
Fellow championship protagonist TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds also looked very at home around the three mile circuit finishing second in the timesheets. A buoyant Leeds commented: “I haven’t been in the car for a while so it’s good to be back with Arden boys and I think we can have a good weekend.
“I like Snetterton a lot because it’s a long track and it’s really technical so it makes it more about the driver. I think this weekend is a big turning point in the season because it’s the start of the second half.”
Frequent Friday star James Pull stood out once more with the quickest time in the afternoon session ending up third fastest overall. He was just three one thousandths away from Leeds, with Jack Martin proving to be quickest of the Rookie Class drivers a mere 0.025s back.
A cautiously optimistic Pull stated: “The wind was a bit strong so that made it a bit harder to get the confidence through the high speed corners, but the car felt really good. I just need to forget about today now and try to get a good time tomorrow. Whenever we have had a good Friday we have always struggled a little bit on the Saturday. It’s going to be all about getting the optimum qualifying session because half a tenth could be worth one or two places. It’s so close.”
Both Max Fewtrell and Nicolai Kjaergaard celebrated their 17th birthdays this today and both caught the eye; Fewtrell finishing fifth and Kjaergaard narrowly missing out on a top 10 time.
Explained Kjaergaard: “The first session went alright, but on used tyres in the second session we were very close to where we want to be. We were struggling a little bit on new tyres in the second session, so we need to work on that for qualifying tomorrow. To come back strong like this after the break gives me confidence that I can score good points in all three races.”
Carlin’s Petru Florescu and Devlin DeFrancesco wound up sixth and tenth; the former just under three tenths off of Fielding’s pace and clearly in good shape for the rest of the weekend.
Ayrton Simmons and Alex Quinn both found themselves inside the top ten when the chequered flag fell; Quinn showing strong pace behind the wheel of his Racing Steps Foundation backed racer in the afternoon.
“I felt really confident in the car right from the green flag this morning,” said Quinn. “It’s been a really positive start to the second half of the season and I’m looking forward to the rest of this weekend. We had really good pace in the afternoon. Qualifying is going to be really important. I think we have shown we can do well in that tomorrow and that will make the races easier.”
TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins and JHR Developments’ Billy Monger shone on old tyre runs, both running as high as fourth in the latter half of the afternoon session.
Meanwhile Croft race winner Zane Goddard, Fortec Motorsport’s Jamie Caroline and JHR’s Jack Butel had a relatively quiet day on track. However, they are sure to strike back with a vengeance when the action hots up tomorrow.
The majority of drivers posted their quickest time of the day in the morning session with only Patrik Matthiesen (JTR), Frank Bird (Fortec Motorsports) and newcomers Marinescu (Richardson Racing) and Mohnhaupt (Falcon Motrosport) finding time in the afternoon. British F4’s newest recruits improving a by a massive 1.4s and 2s respectively.
Said Matthiesen: “We’re still struggling a little bit with the lap time, but it was definitely better in the afternoon. Top ten this weekend is a realistic target. It would be nice to get some good points. I’m enjoying driving this circuit more and more. We’re working a lot on sector three. That’s the part of the track I need to improve in.”
Added Bird: “Points are definitely the aim this weekend. The summer break came at a bad time for me really because we were just starting to hit form, but hopefully we can carry it on this weekend. Snetterton is a track I like. I was struggling a bit today, but I’m sure I will get on top of it.”
With the top 13 drivers covered by less than a second all eyes are going to be on the F4 British Championship’s bumper Saturday at Snetterton. It kicks off with qualifying at 0900 ahead of rounds 16 and 17 of the championship at 1355 and 1715 respectively. The stage will be then set for a thrilling finale which will be screened live on ITV4 at 1450 on Sunday.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Leading testing times Snetterton 29 July 2016 (am/pm)
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:52.254 / 1:52.777
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:52.477 / 1:53.310
3 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:52.480 / 1:52.592
4 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:52.505 / 1.53.333
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:52.524 / 1:53.323
6 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:52.530 / 1:53.214
7 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:52.531 / 1:53.587
8 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:52.614 / 1:52.841
9 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:52.835 / 1:53.504
10 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:52.895 / 1:53.133 etc.