- Oscar Piastri takes emphatic double pole.
- Ayrton Simmons will line up alongside his team-mate in Round 16.
- Carlin’s Logan Sargeant follows up strong practice pace with excellent showing.
- Championship leader Caroline qualifies ninth.
29 JULY, 2017 – TRS Arden recorded a historic maiden front row lock out in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Snetterton, as Oscar Piastri maintained the rapid pace he showed in free practice with team-mate Ayrton Simmons not far behind.
While Piastri was unable to lap quite as quickly as he did in free practice, his lap of 1m 51.236s was still more than good enough for pole, putting him 0.215s clear of team-mate Simmons.
The latter’s performance made all the more impressive given that the Epping racer missed out on the entirety of free practice one due to technical gremlins.
Piastri underlined his strength around the Norfolk circuit by claiming pole for the Round 18 of the season courtesy of his second fastest lap being a tenth quicker than fellow Friday practice star Logan Sargeant.
“I don’t think my pole lap was quite as good as my lap in free practice, but I think everyone was a little bit slower than yesterday,” explained Piastri.
“After my performance yesterday I was a little worried I might have peaked too early so I’m really pleased to be able to deliver in qualifying and back up the pace we showed in practice.
“The key was very much about bringing in the tyres properly. Getting them up to optimum temperature in the right manner.
“This double pole is a great way to return from the summer break. We’ve got to back it up in the races, but hopefully we can get a good start and lead from the front.”
Said team-mate Simmons: “The guys have done an amazing job considering we didn’t have any data from my car in free practice one. We had to kind of guess on the direction we wanted to take the setup and then we improved it further overnight.
“I really want to thank TRS Arden for the amazing car. I never would have imagined after what happened in FP1 that I would be P2 in qualifying.”
Said an ecstatic TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield: “We’ve worked so hard and this front row lock out is a great reward for everyone in the team. It’s the first time that the team as ever has locked out the front row in British F4. It’s a big milestone for us.
“Olli got an impressive tow from Sulaiman and then hooked up the rest of lap. He capitalised brilliantly when his chance came. He’s very happy and we’re really happy with his performance. The improvements he has made over the summer have really paid off.
“Ayrton was fantastic. After being deprived of running in free practice one yesterday, he bounced back brilliantly and carried that on in qualifying. He’ll be fighting for the win and will not make Oscar’s life easy.”
Sargeant followed up an impressive showing in free practice with third on the grid for race one and a front row slot in the final race of the weekend. The American leading the Carlin charge and looking the most comfortable he has been all season behind the wheel of his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer.
Commented Sargeant: “P3 in race one and P2 in race three. I’m happy with that. We just need to keep working hard to take the fight to Oscar.
“I think our race pace is really strong. We should be able to stay with Oscar in race and hopefully we can get in front of him to take the win.
“I’ve always known I had these kind of performances in me, but I think in the second half of the season people are really going to see me coming on strong and take some wins.
“Carlin keep doing such a great job setting up the car. We’ll make a few more tweaks for this weekend, but the work the team is doing is incredible.”
Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist joined Piastri, Simmons and Sargeant in the 1m 51s bracket to line up alongside the latter on the second row in the first race this afternoon.
TRS Arden had further reason to celebrate with Olli Caldwell fifth fastest, ahead of team-mate Alex Quinn, in his first British F4 qualifying session. It sets him up perfectly to claim his first Ford F4 Challenge Cup win with rivals Hampus Ericsson (Fortec Motrosports) and Lucca Allen (Falcon Motorsport) seventh and sixteenth respectively.
Ericsson got the better of team-mate York by just over one tenth of a second, while championship leader Jamie Caroline (Carlin) had a quiet session and was unable to qualify higher than ninth.
Elsewhere Sam Smelt recorded GW Motorsport’s first ever top 10 grid slot after a solid performance on his British F4 qualifying debut.
The lights will go out for Round 16 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost this afternoon at 1400 with Round 17 set to start at 1715.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional qualifying times Snetterton 29 July 2017
Round 16 grid order
1 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 1:51.263
2 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:51.451
3 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin 1:51.606
4 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 1:51.900
5 Olli CALDWELL / GBR / Arden 1:52.317
6 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 1:52.361
7 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec 1.52.425
8 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 1:52.531
9 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 1:52.596
10 Sam SMELT / GBR / GW 1:52.612 etc.
Round 18 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Piastri – Sargeant – Simmons – Lundqvist – Quinn – Caldwell – Ericsson – York – Caroline – Massaad