Martins’ masterclass in defensive driving sees him take maiden British F4 victory

  • Rafael Martins triumphs in 10 car battle for the lead, following immense pressure from James Pull.
  • TRS Arden break Carlin’s run of domination.
  • Heartbreak for Double R’s Zane Goddard who crashes out from the lead.

OULTON PARK 5 JUNE, 2016 – Rafael Martins took his first single-seater win in style at Oulton Park, surviving a race-long attack from Carlin’s James Pull and a host of challengers all vying close behind for the top positions. It was yet another F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford race full of suspense and drama, particularly as race victory for Martins looked far from certain early on.

Poleman Zane Goddard executed a perfect getaway. In clean air he was able to pull away from Rafael Martins and James Pull. The Aussie looked comfortable out front and all set for a well-deserved maiden British F4 victory, clearly having the measure of his pursuers.

However, on lap four it all fell apart. The Double R racer clipped the tyre bundle on the inside of Knickerbook which sent him spearing off through the gravel trap and into the barrier. It was a heart-breaking outcome for the Australian youngster who cut a disconsolate figure at the side of the track; reminiscent of a distraught Mika Hakkinen after spinning out from the lead in the 1999 Italian Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, take nothing away from TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins who put in a top drawer performance. Soaking up pressure from James Pull throughout, as the Carlin driver jinked from left to right lap after lap in a bid to force a mistake. On several occasions both drivers ran side by side down the main straight, but Martins was steadfast in his defence, clearly putting a previous season’s experience in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series to good use to secure victory.

Said a jubilant Martins: “This is my first race win in cars. I have no words to describe my feelings right now. Huge thanks to the team and my sponsors, FISK and Fish. Last year we had a good race here and I knew that this weekend was our weekend.

“We had a lot of problems at the beginning of this year, but this weekend feels like the start of our season. We can move forward in the championship and fight for the title.

“I was quicker than James in the first part of the circuit, but he was quicker than me in the second part so that’s why we were so evenly matched.

“We came here with a difficult setup, so to bounce back like this shows how Arden can find solutions and turn things around.”

Added second place man Pull: “The start was ok. Goddard got away really well and it was a shame what happened to him. I felt I had more pace than Rafa, but it’s pretty much impossible to overtake here. I tried really hard to get past him, but he defended well. This second place is still great for my championship.

“Of course I want to win, but more people remember the F4 British Champion and that’s what I’m aiming to be. Thanks to ADD Motorsports and Pioneered Athlete Performance who have been working with me to get me ready for this weekend which we knew would be so physically demanding.”

Behind the squabbling Martins and Pull, a train of eight cars were in hot pursuit, setting up an incredible 10-way fight for the podium places. It was on the final lap when the Ford EcoBoost formation flying came to an end. Florescu saw his chance to steal third from Max Fewtrell with a late lunge and deftly timed braking manoeuvre. Both drivers ran wide though in a bid to emerge in front, with Alex Quinn scything up the inside to steal the podium spot and his eighth Rookie Class win of the season.

Commented Quinn: “Once again we showed we had the pace to be at the front. I got a better start this time and I didn’t lose any places. It’s so hard to pass on this track. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

“I’ve got even more confidence for the next race with this podium. I braked as late as I could to pull off that last lap move. I think if I had left it any later it might have been a different story, but I judged it perfectly and it was an exciting end to the race.”

Despite recording fastest lap of the race, Sennan Fielding was unable to put his pace to good use. Like so many drivers, he found the Oulton Park circuit notoriously difficult to overtake on.

Finishing in ninth the JHR Developments driver remained positive: “It was just one big train of cars, but it was good to get fastest lap. We knew the weekend was going to be hard from qualifying and we’ve been trying a few different things with the car that haven’t been working. I’m scratching my head a little bit, but I’m looking forward and hopeful that we can get them resolved.”

Fielding finished just behind Luis Leeds who had a much better showing than his 13th place finish yesterday. The Red Bull Junior brilliantly moving up five positions during the race to score valuable points, as he followed home yesterday’s race winner Devlin DeFrancesco and Billy Monger.

Jack Martin rounded out the top 10, capping off a strong race for the TRS Arden team. The Young Racing Driver Academy member was pleased with another Rookie class podium: “It’s good to get these points. It was a tough race, but the pace was good. Arden have done a brilliant job setting up the car so big thanks to them. We’ve got the pace now, so we’ll try to push on in race three.”

Jamie Caroline was an early casualty, trundling back to the pits in his wounded Pirtek Racing Jamun racer with a clutch issue on lap one and will look to strike back in the final race of the weekend which gets underway at 1740.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional results Round 11 Oulton Park 5 June 2016
14 laps / 31.164 miles
1 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 20m 04.690s / 93.12mph
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +0.130s
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +0.765s
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +1.431s
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +1.889s
6 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +2.426s
7 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +2.617s
8 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +3.044s
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +3.166s
10 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden +3.529s

Fastest lap Sennan Fielding 1m 24.664s / 94.65mph Est Rec

Rookie class 1 Quinn, 2 Martin, 3 Simmons, 4 Kjaergaard
Full results