DONINGTON PARK 16 APRIL 2016 – Rookie Alex Quinn put in a barnstorming performance at Donington Park to take his maiden Ford EcoBoost-powered pole for Fortec Motorsports and fly the flag for the Racing Steps Foundation.
Quinn’s time of 1:08.012 came with four minutes of the session remaining and at the time put him over half a second clear of the field, as drivers endeavoured to get their Hankook slicks up to temperature around the chilly Leicestershire circuit.
Said the pole sitter: “The team did well to get a good setup and all I had to do was optimise my lap. I knew the times would come at the end and what I was capable of. We timed everything perfectly and got the maximum out of the tyres.
“I didn’t know I was over five tenths up on the field. The team didn’t tell me because they wanted me to keep pushing. I’m just so happy with this qualifying result.”
Added Fortec Motorsports team manager Dan Mitchell: “We woke up this morning and the conditions were exactly what we wanted. Alex did the job and it’s a great team effort. Frank Bird is 11th and Ross Martin fifth. The team has come a long way since Brands.”
Quinn’s closest challengers proved to be Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds, Carlin’s Max Fewtrell, JHR’s Billy Monger and team-mate Ross Martin. Leeds saved his best for the very end of the session, climbing from 13th to second with 30 seconds remaining and at one point looked set to steal pole following a the fastest first sector on his final flyer.
Said Leeds: “It was an up and down session, but I got the lap together when it mattered at the end. I didn’t warm the tyres properly and I struggled with oversteer. I’ve never driven around a track this cold, so it’s all learning really.”
Max Fewtrell was also pleased with his morning’s work: “The time came quite late as the track was getting better. It was so cold out there. It took about four laps to get tyres working. I’m happy with third in race one and the consistency of my laps means pole for round six.”
After a difficult pre-race test Billy Monger was back with a vengeance in qualifying, consistently fighting at the top of the times. A fourth place grid slot in round four and third in round six a just reward for a driver rapidly getting to grips with his Ford EcoBoost racer.
Monger enthused: “Today was a big step in the right direction and I think there is more to come. It’s all a learning process. I’m making little steps each weekend, trying to get further up the grid. After the great test we had at Thruxton we’ve proved that it wasn’t a fluke. We’re here to be at the front and win trophies.”
Aside from Fewtrell, Carlin’s drivers struggled to show their full potential, with pre-race test pacesetter James Pull having to settle for sixth and Devlin DeFrancesco seventh. Championship leader Petru Florescu suffered an incredibly frustrating session hampered by technical problems which means he will line up at the back of the grid.
Qualifying also promised so much for Jamun’s Jamie Caroline who was disputing for top spot early on; only to fall foul of track limit violations and an off later in the session.
Home hero Sennan Fielding qualified eighth for JHR and will look to battle up the order this afternoon, as will TRS Arden’s Jack Martin and Rafael Martins.
Lights will go out for round four of the Ford British F4 season at 1500 this afternoon. With the majority of the field covered by just a second so many drivers are in with a chance of the podium places.
Provisional qualifying top 10 Donington Park 16 April, 2016
Grid order round 4:
1 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:08.012
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:08.116
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:08.175
4 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1:08.212
5 Ross MARTIN / GBR / Fortec 1:08.355
6 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:08.405
7 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:08.442
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:08.566
9 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:08.631
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:08.808
Round 6 grid order (based on second fastest times)
Fewtrell – Quinn – Monger – Leeds – R Martin – Fielding – DeFrancesco – J Martin – Pull – Martins