- Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds soaks up pressure from Zane Goddard to take masterful win for TRS Arden.
- Chaotic first lap as front row starters Caroline and DeFrancesco crash out.
CROFT 19 JUNE, 2016 – Luis Leeds was calm and composed out front to take a brilliant win for TRS Arden in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. His second of the season and a huge shot in the arm for the Red Bull Junior driver’s title hopes. He took the chequered flag from this weekend’s form man Zane Goddard. Max Fewtrell crossed the line third, putting in yet another assured performance for Carlin to retake the lead in the standings.
There were fireworks on the opening lap. In a rare occurrence this season, customary fast starter Jamie Caroline struggled off the line from pole, whilst Devlin DeFrancesco flew from second.
Caroline kept DeFrancesco on his outside into turn one, but the Canadian bravely hung on to emerge out of Clervaux in the lead. It all ended in tears though as Caroline dived down the inside of DeFrancesco at Sunny – the two drivers colliding.
There was more contact further down the order as Alex Quinn and Frank Bird came together. It brought an unfortunate end to both of their races.
The safety car was swiftly deployed following the opening lap incidents and it was Luis Leeds who found himself at the front of the pack.
After several laps behind the safety car the Ford EcoBoost stars were unleased and as the race progressed Leeds came under pressure for compatriot Goddard, who pumped in a series of fastest laps on the hunt for his second win. Leeds was having none of it though. He responded brilliantly as Goddard upped the ante, able to match his pace and control the remainder of the race.
Said a jubilant Leeds: “It was a really interesting race with what happened at the start. I had to avoid the contact and tried to maintain my gap to Zane. I tried to pull out a gap in the first two laps and knew from there I could control the pace and save the tyres a bit for the last race.
“I thought I had a really big gap to Zane, but I didn’t. Zane is really quick around this track and you cannot underestimate that. He’s a fast driver.
“Full credit to Arden though. We had a tough time at Oulton Park so to turn it around is really positive. I’m finally back up there in the championship standings and now the plan is to keep this up.”
Added Double R’s Goddard: “I’m happy to be on the podium again with second. I got a really good launch to get past Fewtrell. It was unfortunate what happened to Devlin and Jamie. Luis was quick, but I tried to close the gap. I think we did the best we could with the car. I’m looking forward to the final race of the weekend where I hope to get the win from pole.”
Max Fewtrell was another driver who was all smiles after the race despite losing out to Goddard at the start. His second podium of the weekend enabling him to regain the lead in the championship. Fewtrell once again exhibiting the kind of metronomic consistency that will no doubt pay dividends in the title race.
Commented Fewtrell: “With it being a reverse grid race I knew there would be some chaos and I just made sure I was able to capitalise on that. The pace was really good in the middle of the race and towards the end I just relaxed a bit to bring home third.
“I’ll be looking to keep increasing my lead in the championship from here on out to ease the pressure. To be in the lead now is really good.”
It was a strong race for TRS Arden who have shown strong pace throughout the weekend. Rafael Martins followed up team-mate Leeds’s victory with an excellent fourth place and at times was inches away from working his magic to find a way past Fewtrell.
Young Racing Driver Academy members Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons capped off TRS Arden’s top performance, locking out the top two places on the Rookie class podium; whilst Nicolai Kjaergaard provided consolation for Fortec Motorsports with third in the Rookie class.
“It’s good to get another Rookie class win this weekend”, said Martin. “I made a mistake which let Fielding through and that cost me sixth, but it was still a good race and I got decent championship points in seventh so I’m pretty happy.
“This circuit is very technical and that’s where I seem to be stronger than a lot of other drivers. I can get consistent lap times around a circuit like this and that allows me to battle at the front.”
Said TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield: “We’ll take that result. That’s more points in the bag and another win under Luis’ belt. He’s back in the fight so watch this space.
“Jack is still very inexperienced and you can sometimes see that when he races against more experienced drivers, but he’s learning all the time and he’s got pace. It won’t be long until he’s really making his own mark. I’m pleased with his performance and I’m pleased with Ayrton too.”
TRS Arden team principal Garry Horner echoed Bloomfield’s sentiments: “I’m delighted to see Luis get another win. We’ve got good pace and the guys in the team have done a great job.”
Key title contenders Sennan Fielding and Petru Florescu proved their mettle by battling back through the field from 14th and 15th on the grid. Fielding sneaking past Martin for sixth down the main straight with three laps remaining.
Meanwhile Florescu’s drive through the field proved that the Romanian was not going to let the championship lead slip from his grasp easily. He will no doubt look to hit back in the final race of the day at 1746.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Provisional results Round 14 Croft 19 June 2016
13 laps / 27.625 miles
1 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 20m 28.615s / 80.94mph
2 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +0.547s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +2.072s
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +2.955s
5 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +5.262s
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +6.789s
7 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.131 +7.266s
8 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +9.128s
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +10.827s
10 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec + 13.402s etc.
Fastest lap Zane Goddard 1m 21.935s / 93.36mph
Rookie class 1 Martin, 2 Simmons, 3 Kjaergaard
Provisional championship standings
1 Fewtrell 169, 2 Florescu 162, 3 Leeds 151, 4 Pull 145, 5 Fielding 124, 6 DeFrancesco 121, 7 Caroline 105, 8 Martins 104, 9 Quinn 100, 10 Goddard 84 etc.