- Oliver York and Fortec Motorsports come out on top in closely-fought qualifying.
- Alex Quinn and TRS Arden take pole for final race of weekend.
6 MAY, 2017 – Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver York claimed a fantastic maiden pole position at Thruxton in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost. An incredibly close-fought session saw almost the entire field covered by no more than one second around the 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit.
The pole protagonists came to fore with five minutes of the session remaining. York, Alex Quinn (TRS Arden) and Jamie Caroline (Carlin) all trading fastest sector times and the only drivers to break the 1m 14s barrier.
Championship leader Caroline took provisional pole with a 1m 14.073s which was almost immediately bettered by Quinn who recorded a lap of 1m 13.908s.
Ford F4 Challenge Cup runner York was flying though and had the last laugh pumping in a 1m 13.790s, despite Caroline improving his time with a 1m 13.974s and Quinn setting fastest first sectors.
“It feels really good to get my first pole in British F4,” said a thrilled York. “The car was amazing. We got the track positioning and timing right and we were so quick.
“I’ve improved so much since I joined the championship. Between every weekend I have gone away and worked on various aspects to help make me stronger both inside and outside the car.
“Working with Andy Priaulx Sports Management has really helped in this respect. I’ve been doing so much qualifying practice with them in the simulator and that’s really helped here on a weekend where we have gone straight into qualifying.
“I feel confident starting at the front. Hopefully I can get a clean start, break the tow to the cars behind and drive off into the distance to my first win.”
“I couldn’t get a tow on any of my fast laps so I think if I can work my way to the front I should be able to convert it into victory,” explained a confident Caroline.
“It’s the first weekend we have not been on the front row in qualifying, but we’ll be alright. I had a bit too much oversteer on my first run so we made a little change and that made the car feel mega.
“We’re always a little bit faster in the races which is when I’m sure we will find more time.”
Quinn’s efforts were far from in vain, his second fastest lap quicker than York’s and ensuring that he will start from pole in the final race of the weekend, from York and Caroline behind.
“I’m really happy with that qualifying,” commented Quinn. “We were so quick in sector one and even sector three. Sector two we weren’t quite quickest in, but that’s just because we couldn’t get the benefit of a tow like York did.
“I think our race pace should be good and I’m very confident for the race. Hopefully I can get a good start and that should make things easier.
“It’s definitely going to be an exciting race and consistency is going to be key too.”
Caroline’s team-mate Logan Sargeant took his testing form at Thruxton into qualifying to earn himself a second-row grid slot ahead of Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist who was the session’s early pacesetter.
Current second place man in the standings Oscar Piastri (TRS Arden) wound up sixth and did enough to move up a grid slot to fifth for race three, with Patrik Pasma (Carlin) just over a tenth adrift of Piastri’s best.
Double R Racing’s Karl Massaad broke into the top 10 just after the session’s halfway point. The Lebanese racer ended up eighth ahead of Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) who followed up his maiden point scoring exploits at Donington Park with his best qualifying result of the year in ninth, just 0.086s quicker than fellow Young Racing Driver Academy-backed start Ayrton Simmons (TRS Arden).
Lights go out for the first Ford EcoBoost-powered race of the weekend at 1505 which will see Oliver York bid the become the first Ford F4 Challenge Cup driver to win a race overall and with it a one-off £5,000 cash prize courtesy of Ford Motor Company.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional qualifying times Thruxton 6 May 2017
Round 7 grid order
1 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 1:13.790
2 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 1:13.908
3 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 1:13.974
4 Logan SARGENAT / USA / Carlin 1:14.021
5 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 1:14.140
6 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 1:14.238
7 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 1:14.369
8 Karl MASSAAD / LEB / Double R 1:14.467
9 Jamie SHARP / GBR / Sharp 1:14.553
10 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:14.689 etc.
Round 9 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Quinn – York – Caroline – Sargeant – Piastri – Lundqvist – Pasma – Massaad – Sharp – Simmons etc.