- Piastri wins from pole.
- Caroline fights back to take second, as Simmons completes podium.
- Ericsson takes Ford F4 Challenge Cup win for Fortec Motorsports.
- GW Motorsport’s Sam Smelt claims maiden point.
12 AUGUST, 2017 – TRS Arden’s Oscar Piastri made it win number four of the season in Round 19 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Knockhill from a hard-charging Jamie Caroline and team-mate Ayrton Simmons.
The Aussie managed to reduce the gap to Caroline in the championship to 39.5 points thanks to another excellent drive under pressure. At first from Quinn and then from Caroline.
Piastri made a perfect getaway from pole with fellow front row starter Alex Quinn in hot pursuit.
Behind them fifth place man on the grid Caroline was determined to make amends for a qualifying that didn’t go his way, dispatching with Simmons on the exit of Butcher’s on the opening lap after the TRS Arden racer dipped a wheel on the grass.
Moments later Caroline had team-mate Logan Sargeant in his sights, passing him on the run up to Hislop’s and into Taylor’s Hairpin with Simmons following suit.
The Pirtek Raicng-backed rising star then homed in on Piastri and Quinn, with Ayrton Simmons in tow.
On lap eight Caroline performed a bold lunge down the inside of Quinn at Taylor’s Hairpin to snatch second place, the move taking Quinn by surprise and opening the door for Simmons to overtake as well.
Seconds later at the same corner Oliver York pulled off a move on Fortec Motorsports team-mate Johnathan Hoggard. The two providing spectators with an entertaining intra-team battle.
Further back in the field Lucas Alecco Roy (Carlin) and Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) were locked in a thrilling duel, only for it to end in tears on lap nine which saw the Safety Car deployed and the race neutralised.
A mistake at Taylor’s Hairpin on the Safety Car restart scuppered Caroline’s chances for the win, despite setting fastest lap in the closing stages, and gave Piastri sufficient breathing room to take the chequered flag by a margin of 0.321s. The latter bringing home the win in stylish fashion having had to manage a wounded car in the final two laps after clattering a kerb.
“I had to work really hard for that win,” said Piastri. “Alex was catching me a little bit in the early stages and then I saw Jamie put a move on him. I had a bit of a gap, but the safety car destroyed all that.
“I got a really good restart. On the second-last lap I clipped the sausage kerb at the chicane and something broke at the rear of the car. It meant the last couple of laps were pretty interesting and I just hoped the car wouldn’t let me down. Thankfully it didn’t!
“Jamie managed to catch up quite a bit in those last couple of laps. The lap before I hit the kerb I did my best lap which was only a tenth off of what I did in qualifying so my pace was really good.
“Unfortunately Jamie starts in front of me for the next race, but he did make some mistakes so I think we can take the fight to him.”
“If I hadn’t made that mistake at the hairpin at the Safety Car restart, as well as a few more after that I could have possibly taken to the win, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Caroline.
“We were unlucky in qualifying and our pace in that race showed where we should have been.
“I start on pole for the second race so hopefully I can take my number of wins this season into double digits.
“The move I pulled on Quinn was pretty bold, but I knew I had to go for it and send the car up the inside. I think it caught Alex by surprise a little and then Ayrton got through behind me.”
“It was a really tricky race,” commented Simmons. “At the start I got on the grass a bit which meant I lost a position to Jamie. The conditions were so difficult. One lap it was spitting with rain and the next lap it wasn’t.
“I tried to drive calmly and stay steady. When I saw Jamie make the lunge on Alex, I knew it was my opportunity. I got past Alex and nearly overtook Jamie too.
“At the Safety Car restart Jamie locked up into the hairpin, but I couldn’t pass him because we hadn’t crossed the line yet.
“In the second half of the race we were really strong and hopefully we can get some more silverware this afternoon.”
The Safety Car restart provided Ericsson with the chance to climb up to seventh, passing Hoggard. A seventh place finish was enough to see Ericsson take the Ford F4 Challenge Cup win with Olli Caldwell and Harry Webb completing the podium having finished ninth and 11th respectively.
Seventh place also brought with it the added bonus of pole position for the reverse grid race tomorrow which will see a front row lock out for Fortec Motorsports with Oliver York alongside Ericsson.
Linus Lundqvist was a big mover on the opening lap, climbing two places to pass Hoggard and Sargeant. However, the Double R racer’s hard work was undone by an off track excursion on lap six demoting him from fifth to ninth. The Swede doing well to salvage a position and move up to eighth by the end of the race.
Meanwhile Sam Smelt brought home his maiden point score in the series in only his fourth race after holding on brilliantly to 10th place for GW Motorsport.
The second race of the weekend, the rescheduled Round 12 from Oulton Park earlier in the season, takes place later this afternoon at 1710.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional results Round 19 Knockhill 12 August 2017
21 laps / 26.60 miles
1 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 20m 29.443s / 77.90mph
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin +0.321s
3 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +2.440s
4 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden +4.221s
5 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin +5.046s
6 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec +6.779s
7 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec +9.830s
8 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R +9.909s
9 Olli Caldwell / GBR / Arden +11.314s
10 Sam SMELT / GBR / GW +12.941s etc.
Fastest lap: Jamie Caroline 49.970s / 91.27mph
Ford F4 Challenge Cup: 1 Ericsson; 2 Caldwell; 3 Webb; 3 Allen
Grid for Round 20 Ericsson – York – Sargeant – Quinn – Simmons – Caroline – Piastri – Lundqvist – Caldwell – Smelt etc.