Fortec Motorsport’s Rafael Villagomez was delighted to score an overall podium on his first weekend in single seaters as the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost roared back into life at Donington Park.
The Mexican announced his arrival in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series with an emphatic brace of Rookie Cup victories in the opening two rounds, the latter of which also yielded a maiden trip to the podium in third overall.
Villagomez then rounded out the weekend with another points-scoring run to ninth, completing a hat-trick of Rookie podiums with third in class to establish a 17-point lead in that regard heading to Brands Hatch (GP) next weekend [08-09 August].
The 18-year old, who will also contest the French F4 season in 2020 on his graduation from karting, was a little surprised to be so far forward on his debut, but says the result is a confidence-booster now going forward into the rest of the campaign.
“I was a bit surprised, to be honest. Our goal for the weekend was to finish in the top three in the Rookie Cup, but to take two wins and one overall podium is pretty good for us!” explained Villagomez.
Villagomez is quickly building a reputation as a fast-starter; in the first contest he charged through from 11th to 6th, and, although he didn’t feel he had the pace to win from the front row in the reverse-grid race, fighting at the sharp end has given him belief he can repeat the feat further down the line.
“My first start was pretty good and we kept doing the same. The first laps were really fast, the car felt pretty good, and I was just trying to put in the laps and be very consistent.”
“We started on the front row; we didn’t keep up with the front guys, to be honest, but the pace wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t perfect. And this motivates me for future races, because we know we can be at the front to fight for good results.”
His points lead in the Rookie standings is 17 over Arden Motorsport’s Frederick Lubin heading to Kent, but Villagomez insists his focus is on extending that advantage with each race meeting.
“I always want more and more, I think everyone is the same in racing, you always want more. So it gives me a bit of extra motivation and confidence, but every weekend we need to learn something new to keep on improving.”
“Our goal for the year is to take the Rookie Cup, so this gives me confidence and motivation, but of course I want to make that gap bigger.”
He also paid tribute to Fortec Motorsport, and new team mates Roberto Faria and Luke Browning, for providing a family-like atmosphere and helping him develop on and off-circuit.
“Fortec is a such a good team, it’s more like a family, we’re all together the whole time and having two really fast team mates helps me a lot, because you can, of course, compare the data and everything.
“Having a team like Fortec really helps me.”
Looking ahead to the second event of 2020 this weekend, Villagomez underlined his fondness for Brands Hatch despite only one test day on the iconic GP loop, and is hopeful of another strong set of results.
“I’m super excited to go back racing again, because it was such a long break and it’s nice to have two weekends in a row, it’s amazing. I got my first test [at Brands Hatch] a couple of weeks ago, the track is just amazing.
“We’ll see now in the race weekend how it goes.”