- Lundqvist claims double Ford EcoBoost-powered pole.
- Closely fought qualifying session sees top five drivers covered by less than two tenths.
15 APRIL, 2017 – Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist bounced back in the best way possible from a debut weekend to forget, to take pole position at Donington Park for the fourth round of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.
A chilly Leicestershire circuit playing host to a thrilling qualifying session with lap times falling rapidly in the closing stages as drivers got their tyres up to optimum temperature.
With under 10 minutes remaining, Lundqvist and the Carlin pairing of Jamie Caroline and Logan Sargeant were the first men to break the 1m 9s barrier. While Sargeant could only improve by a further tenth of a second, Messrs Lundqvist and Caroline continued to better their lap times as the clock ticked down.
Double R’s Karl Massaad and TRS Arden’s Oscar Pisatri then joined the party in the 1m 8s with five minutes to go. Lundqvist was flying though and posted a lap time of 1m 8.195s which would prove good enough for pole, a mere 0.075s clear of Jamie Caroline, with Piastri’s best just 0.007s further adrift. Lundqvist’s second-fastest lap of 1m 8.336s ensured a double pole for the weekend.
“It feels so good to bounce back from such a difficult weekend at Brands,” said Lundqvist. “The yellow flags towards the end stopped us from posting the absolute quickest times when the tyre temperatures were at their optimum. I think without the yellow flags it might have been a different result.”
“The tyre wear is so low at this track. It means you can basically run the whole session without overheating them. So the first part of the session was all about bringing them in as best as possible.
“You need to do your warm up laps and then once you have done them you have to be able to nail your flying lap and that was key for me to get pole before the yellow flags.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do from race one. Hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans.”
Oscar Piastri looked capable of snatching pole with just over a minute remaining. A personal best first sector and quickest second sector of anybody the hallmarks of an absolute flyer. Yet Piastri came to grief at the final corner, pushing fractionally too hard and taking a trip to the tyre barrier.
“The lap I was on before I went off felt really good, but to go green [in the first sector], purple [in the second] and then wall was a bit upsetting,” said Piastri. “We’re still at the sharp end of the grid though so that’s the important thing.
“We used a different strategy to a lot of the others when it came to the tyres. I did a lap and then came into the pits, fitted two new tyres and then went back out again. It meant that my tyres switched on when the track was it its best. It was just unfortunate that it didn’t quite end how I would have hoped.”
With yellow flags waving Piastri’s off effectively brought an end to the session, leaving drivers unable to improve in the final sector.
Championship leader Jamie Caroline profited most as the last man across the line and setting a time good enough to jump ahead of Piastri to second. It ensured front row grid slots for not only round four, but also the final race of the weekend from which he will start from second on the grid courtesy of his second-fastest lap time.
“I had a very messy session,” explained Caroline. “I kept on getting caught up in traffic. I got traffic on one of my quickest laps. I messed up at Old Hairpin on another of my best laps, but to be on the front row again is great.
“Linus is very fast and he was unlucky at Brands so I’m not surprised to see him on pole, especially after pre-season testing. It should be a good fight between him and I. We’re both aggressive drivers and it will be good fun for the spectators to watch.”
Behind Piastri on the timesheets could be found team-mate Alex Quinn in fourth, Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver York in fifth as the top qualifying Ford F4 Challenge Cup entrant, and Ayrton Simmons in sixth.
Karl Massaad and Yves Baltas jostled at the top of the times for provisional pole for much of the opening stages. Both drivers improving on their qualifying performance a fortnight ago at Brands Hatch, qualifying seventh and eighth respectively, ahead of Ford F4 Challenge Cup runners Billy Monger (JHR Developments) and Harry Webb (Richardson Racing).
Following the qualifying session a number of drivers were found to have gained an advantage by recording fastest laps under yellow flags resulting in a raft of changes to the the grid for rounds four and six.
Lights go out for the first Ford EcoBoost-powered race of the weekend at 1440, followed by round five of the F4 British Championship at 1735.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional qualifying times Donington Park 15 April 2017 (am/pm)
Amended Round 4 grid order
1 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 1:08.195
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 1:08.278
3 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 1:08.321
4 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 1:08.354
5 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 1:08.3777
6 Karl MASSAAD / LEB / Double R 1:08.448
7 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1:08.707
8 Harry WEBB / GBR / Richardson 1:08.756
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:08.777
10 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 1:08.792 etc.
Amended Round 6 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Lundqvist – Caroline – Quinn – Massaas – Piastri – Simmons – Monger – Sargeant – York – Pasma etc.