DRIVER NEWS: Jack Butel battles the elements at Croft in British F4

Supplied by driver’s PR

20 JUNE, 2016 – Croft Circuit in Yorkshire saw Jersey driver Jack Butel battle the elements in rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the British Formula 4 Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford at the weekend. It marked a year with JHR Developments and Jack’s fortunes were not to be on his side as he was taken out in the first race of the weekend whilst running comfortably in the top 10. Jack bounced back and netted two solid finishes with 12th and 16th placed finishes.

The FIA certified series sees some of the best young drivers in the world go wheel-to-wheel in identical single-seaters and is seen as a stepping stone to the higher echelons of motorsport. The priority at Croft for Butel was to be back in the pack, secure race finishes, gain plenty of mileage and improve upon his Oulton Park weekend.

In Practice and Qualifying, Jack felt comfortable right from the off and was able to establish a good base set-up for the weekend. 15th in qualifying was a solid start in his Yuasa-backed machine.

The St Saviour resident was optimistic ahead of the first race of the weekend after a strong showing around the North Yorkshire venue a year ago. After making a trademark good start, Butel pounded around the 2.1 mile Darlington circuit gaining places lap after lap. Nestled in the top 10 and on for championship points, Jack was taken out of the race by another driver in a racing incident. Unable to restart, Jack had to take a disappointing retirement. Ever the optimist the Channel Islander knew he had made substantial progress but had to do it from the back of the grid.

Croft circuit was a former RAF base in the Second World War and in 2016 Jack Butel was looking to fly on the main race day on Sunday.  The challenging layout was a favourite for the Jerseyman as the range of fast flowing corners and the slowest hairpin bend in the country offered a real challenge to the single-seater exponent. A large crowd trackside and a quarter of a million people watching live coverage on ITV4 where treated to some fantastic racing entertainment.

In the first race on the Sunday starting from the back, Jack propelled his Ford Eco-Boost powered rocket into the race picking up places as drivers faulted around him. The 20-year-old found himself in the top 10 once again before a safety car was deployed as marshals cleared debris and stranded cars from around the circuit. When the race resumed, Butel suffered front wing damage, wounding the car in the process. Jack tried to press on, but the damage made the car difficult to drive, the JHR team brought the young-gun into the pits to change the nose cone. At the fall of the flag, Butel took his turbo-charged missile to 12th place overall.

Heavy rain descended upon Croft for the final race of the weekend. Spray and visibility made it difficult for Butel to make progress as he wanted to bring the car home in one piece ahead of the six-week mid-season break. It was a momentous effort as he gained in confidence lap after lap in the challenging conditions. As the clock hit zero, the Jersey-based driver notched up another solid 16th in the final race of the weekend.

“I was massively disappointed after Oulton Park. My arm was still giving me problems and I just didn’t have the car around me,” explained Jack Butel.

“Croft is a favourite of mine and a good test before the race weekend put me at ease ahead of the races. It just wasn’t to be our weekend however despite having good pace. It was very gutting to be taken out in race one as we were going so well in the top 10 and that put us on the back foot for the rest of the weekend.

“Two race finishes helped me get my confidence back. Another top 10 was denied with the front wing being damaged but the team did a good job to get me back out to complete the race. And the third race, well that was the worst conditions I have ever raced in. It was very greasy and I couldn’t see a thing –  giving me no confidence to push on at all.

“We must leave the weekend behind and look ahead to the second half. We had a good run in the second half of the season last time and I think we will again this year. During the summer break we plan to squeeze in a test or two to get the car dialed in ahead of Snetterton in July and push even harder to get to the front.”

The next stop on the British F4 Championship calendar after the summer break will be Snetterton in Norfolk on 30/31 July. Jack Butel and JHR Developments now look forward to the remainder of the year as they target further points in the second half of the season.

TEAM NEWS: Sensational first F4 British Championship win for Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard

Supplied by team’s PR

•    Dominant lights-to-flag victory at Croft for teenager Zane Goddard.
•    Rapid Double R driver converts season-long promise into maiden win.
•    Woking squad returns to winning ways in F4 British Championship.
•    Podium hat-trick and three fastest laps for quick Australian.

20 JUNE, 2016 – Australian single-seater racer Zane Goddard produced a true star performance for Double R Racing at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend, 18th/19th June, with an outstanding maiden F4 British Championship race victory in round 13 of the season sparking a hat-trick of podium finishes.

Dominating the first race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon from pole position, the 16-year-old opened up a lead of well over four seconds before a late race Safety Car period threatened to throw a potential spanner in the works.

During a final lap sprint, though, Goddard fended off a challenge by Devlin Defrancesco and went on to take the chequered flag 2.2 seconds to the good. He also posted the fastest lap of the race, a time of 1m20.978 seconds (94.47mph) – the only driver to circulate below the 1m21 second barrier.

During Sunday’s pair of contests, the Surfer’s Paradise racer set fastest lap again in round 14 and finished just 0.5 seconds shy of another win with a superb second place, from fifth on the grid, while in a rain-lashed round 15 he was second again and once more set fastest lap.

As the most successful driver across the course of the fifth event of the season, Goddard moved into the coveted championship top 10 with a haul of 61 points across the weekend – more than doubling his previous total for the first four events.

“I’m so happy to take my first win”, said Goddard, “I like the track, it’s a great track to drive and the car has been on fire here this weekend. I reckon this could be the turning point for us this season, we’ve been working really hard at it and the results have been getting better and better.

“When the Safety Car came in at the last minute [in race one], I wasn’t expecting it at all. I had a good lead before the Safety Car, everything went perfectly up to that point, but we managed to hold on and take the win so I’m really happy. Huge thanks to the team, to my dad back home and my mum here [at Croft].”

Double R Racing’s young antipodean was outstanding from the off during pre-event testing at Croft on Friday, 17th June, by setting the quickest time in session one and ending the day second fastest, before topping qualifying for the first time in his rookie season with a time of 1m20.708 seconds.

At the start of round 13 on Saturday, Goddard got away from the front of the grid very cleanly and led through Clervaux for the first time before ending the first lap 0.7 seconds clear. Reeling off a series of fastest laps, Goddard steadily increased his advantage to 4.3 seconds by the end of lap 11.

As a result of two cars coming together at Tower, though, the Safety Car was deployed in time for the start of lap 13 and at the resumption a lap later the Double R driver saw off his pursuers to chalk-up a richly deserved first success on British shores and the fastest lap of all.

Lining-up fifth on the grid for round 14 on Sunday afternoon, Goddard made a great start to climb into the top four but when Jamie Caroline locked-up and collided with leader Devlin Defrancesco at Sunny In on the first lap, Goddard leapt into second position.

After a three lap Safety Car period, the action resumed on the fifth tour with Goddard tight behind compatriot Luis Leeds. Although Leeds opened a one second advantage by the end of lap seven, Goddard reeled off a series of fastest laps – including the best of the race, a time of 1m21.935 seconds – to finish the contest just 0.5 seconds shy of another win.

For the final race of the weekend, round 15, Goddard started on pole position again but the third contest took place in wildly different conditions to the previous pair of encounters with rain and a very wet track surface providing an intense challenge.

The Double R driver did a great job at the start to hold the lead from pole but at Tower he was edged back to second by Defrancesco. Under pressure from Max Fewtrell into lap three, Goddard then picked up his pace and pulled 1.5 seconds clear of his pursuer as the race entered its second half.

With the weather and spray worsening, Goddard reveled in the conditions and on lap nine he actually set the fastest lap of the race, a time of 1m30.435 seconds, before ending the race on lap 10 in second position to complete a stunning podium hat-trick.

“It’s fantastic for Zane”, said elated Double R team boss Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “We’ve been working hard all season and although there hasn’t been much luck up to now, this weekend has been absolutely outstanding – fast in testing, two pole positions, one win, two other podiums and fastest lap in every race.

“Hopefully we can get Zane on a race winning campaign now for the rest of the season. The team has done a great job, the combination of the Mygale chassis with the Ford engine isn’t the easiest to work with and get the best from but the boys have worked so hard and it’s great to be back at the front and winning again in this championship.”

Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk will be the venue for the start of the second half of the F4 British Championship season six weeks from now, over the weekend 30th/31st July.

DRIVER NEWS: Fewtrell commands British F4 with a triumphant trio of podiums

Supplied by driver’s PR

20 JUNE, 2016 – Max Fewtrell’s supreme skill and unrivalled chain of consistency, saw the Birmingham driver retake the lead of the British F4 championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford with a commanding lead.

The blazing young star shone in a skilful display across three hard fought races, to achieve a trinity of point-scoring podiums at Croft.

Qualifying in a promising 3rd place, Max headed into the weekend with resolute determination to improve on his performance at Oulton Park.

Despite losing his position to rival Luis Leeds at the start, Max kept his cool, confident in his abilities; to give an unrelenting chase throughout the race. Fiercely challenging the Australian, he forced Leeds to take every opportunity to stay ahead ultimately causing Leeds to cut the chicane on the final lap. The advantage gained by his mistake saw Leeds receive a 0.200s post-race time penalty and Max’s skilful performance was rewarded with second place, with just two points separating him from the championship leader.

Starting from 4th on the reverse grid for race two, the 16-year-old was poised to fight his way to regain the championship advantage. With a foray of first-lap drama, where race-leaders Caroline and DeFrancesco came together, along with a tangle for Quinn and Bird behind, the safety car was deployed. Holding off the challenge from behind, Max once again exhibited a mature and collected performance, to expertly power his Carlin charger to another podium and his 3rd place seeing the gifted young racer retake the championship lead.

Rain-soaked round 15 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford, set the scene for a challenging battle for the young racers. Equipped with his sharp racing talent, Max flawlessly sped his way round the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit, expertly showcasing his adaptability to any condition. In another consistent weekend for the intrepid youngster, he claimed the final step on the podium, to further extend his lead over Petru Florescu to 20 points.

Delighted with his performance, but ever the racer, Fewtrell focuses his attention to how he can build upon a positive three rounds:

“We had a good weekend with three podiums, but we have a long break now where I can work on a few areas that I need to. It’s a nice bonus to go into the break with the championship lead, but already I can’t wait to get going again.”

The F4 British Championship races back into action in six weeks time at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk on 30 – 31 July where Max is eager to get back on track, to continue his formidable form.

Fearless DeFrancesco dominates in the rain at Croft

  • Carlin’s DeFrancesco superb in difficult conditions.
  • Zane Goddard rounds off excellent weekend for Double R Racing.
  • Max Fewtrell extends his lead in the championship.
  • Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn returns to top step of Rookie class podium.

Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco stormed his way to the third F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford victory of his career courtesy of a jaw-dropping move around the outside of Zane Goddard at Sunny on the opening lap. With a clear track ahead of him DeFrancesco pulled away from the field. The Canadian never put a foot wrong with an inch-perfect drive to the chequered flag; despite the inclement weather which had set in over the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit.

Said the three-time race winner DeFrancesco: “In race two we were incredibly unlucky, but we came back strong in race three. I thought the start was going to be the key to everything and Zane made a really good start.

“I felt I had a lot of grip under me and a lot of confidence in the car. I braked a little later than I normally would into the corner and Zane braked a little earlier so happy days.

“Then I just kept focusing on myself and my inputs every lap, getting the gears right and going quicker and quicker.”

Although he lost the lead on the first lap, Double R’s Zane Goddard was still ecstatic after the race. Another second place to his name and yet another fastest lap. Goddard leaves Croft having scored more points than any other driver this weekend; the Australian clearly building upon his prodigious testing form at the circuit.

Commented Goddard: “I’m happy with second. The race was really good fun. I loved it out there. It was awesome being able to slide around a bit. I got a good start, but I didn’t really know where the grip was and I didn’t want to risk too much.

“Devlin did really well out front, but I thought I would push for fastest lap even if I couldn’t get the win. It’s been a great weekend with a first and two seconds so no complaints from me.

“For the first time this season I went into the races aiming for a podium and even the top step instead of top five. We achieved that so it’s a definite confidence boost. The team and I have made a step forward this weekend. The team have done a great job. I cannot fault the car.”

Max Fewtrell once again found himself on the podium and with it extended his newfound lead in the championship to 20 points from Carlin team-mate Petru Florescu. Fewtrell executed a race devoid of mistakes, his consistency and speed making him a formidable competitor on the track and in the standings.

Fourth place man and Rookie class winner Alex Quinn was all smiles, finally having a race where he was able to avoid mid-pack skirmishes. The Racing Steps Foundation driver made a great start in his Fortec Motorsports prepared racer and looked rock solid in the tricky wet conditions.

Explained Quinn: “This weekend has been really mixed. Two of the races didn’t go to plan and were taken out of our hands. I went into this race knowing I had to come out of strongly and I did that.

“It was difficult to get close to the car in front because it was so hard to see anything with all the spray. We’re definitely in a more positive place than we were after the second race.

“We showed that we can push the guys currently leading the championship. I’m looking forward to hitting back at Snetterton and having a good second half of the season.”

Jamie Caroline made what appeared to be yet another storming start from 14th on the grid, but all was not quite as it seemed. The Pirtek Racing backed star cutting the chicane on the opening lap. It earned him a 10.5s time penalty in the process which saw him fall back in the classification from fifth to eighth.

Behind him in the top 10 came championship contenders Petru Florescu and Round 14 winner Luis Leeds. Both were unable to make major inroads towards the front of the field in the rain.

Fellow championship protagonists Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) and James Pull (Carlin) fared much better, showcasing their talent in the wet. The former gaining three places at the start and the latter climbing five places, expertly scything his way through the field.

Nicolai Kjaergaard once again caught the eye for Fortec Motorsports, brilliantly finding a way past TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons and Jack Martin during the race.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional results Round 15 Croft 19 June 2016
13 laps / 21.25 miles
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 15m 54.569s / 80.14mph
2 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +3.496s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +7.158s
4 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +8.390s
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +14.893s
6 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +15.337s
7 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +19.287s
8 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Fortec +19.785s
9 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +20.130s
10 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +23.223s

Fastest lap Zane Goddard 1m 30.435s / 84.59mph

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

Provisional championship standings
1 Fewtrell 184, 2 Florescu 164, 3 Pull 153, 4 Leeds 152, 5 DeFrancesco 146, 6 Fielding 134, 7 Quinn 112, 8 Martins 110, 9 Caroline 109, 10 Goddard 102 etc.

Rookie class
1 Quinn 276, 2 J. Martin 228, 3 Kjaergaard 163, 4 Simmons 143, 5 R. Martin 130

Full results

Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds heads the TRS Arden charge to British F4 victory

  • Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds soaks up pressure from Zane Goddard to take masterful win for TRS Arden.
  • Chaotic first lap as front row starters Caroline and DeFrancesco crash out.

CROFT 19 JUNE, 2016 – Luis Leeds was calm and composed out front to take a brilliant win for TRS Arden in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. His second of the season and a huge shot in the arm for the Red Bull Junior driver’s title hopes. He took the chequered flag from this weekend’s form man Zane Goddard. Max Fewtrell crossed the line third, putting in yet another assured performance for Carlin to retake the lead in the standings.

There were fireworks on the opening lap. In a rare occurrence this season, customary fast starter Jamie Caroline struggled off the line from pole, whilst Devlin DeFrancesco flew from second.

Caroline kept DeFrancesco on his outside into turn one, but the Canadian bravely hung on to emerge out of Clervaux in the lead. It all ended in tears though as Caroline dived down the inside of DeFrancesco at Sunny – the two drivers colliding.

There was more contact further down the order as Alex Quinn and Frank Bird came together. It brought an unfortunate end to both of their races.

The safety car was swiftly deployed following the opening lap incidents and it was Luis Leeds who found himself at the front of the pack.

After several laps behind the safety car the Ford EcoBoost stars were unleased and as the race progressed Leeds came under pressure for compatriot Goddard, who pumped in a series of fastest laps on the hunt for his second win. Leeds was having none of it though. He responded brilliantly as Goddard upped the ante, able to match his pace and control the remainder of the race.

Said a jubilant Leeds: “It was a really interesting race with what happened at the start. I had to avoid the contact and tried to maintain my gap to Zane. I tried to pull out a gap in the first two laps and knew from there I could control the pace and save the tyres a bit for the last race.

“I thought I had a really big gap to Zane, but I didn’t. Zane is really quick around this track and you cannot underestimate that. He’s a fast driver.

“Full credit to Arden though. We had a tough time at Oulton Park so to turn it around is really positive. I’m finally back up there in the championship standings and now the plan is to keep this up.”

Added Double R’s Goddard: “I’m happy to be on the podium again with second. I got a really good launch to get past Fewtrell. It was unfortunate what happened to Devlin and Jamie. Luis was quick, but I tried to close the gap. I think we did the best we could with the car. I’m looking forward to the final race of the weekend where I hope to get the win from pole.”

Max Fewtrell was another driver who was all smiles after the race despite losing out to Goddard at the start. His second podium of the weekend enabling him to regain the lead in the championship. Fewtrell once again exhibiting the kind of metronomic consistency that will no doubt pay dividends in the title race.

Commented Fewtrell: “With it being a reverse grid race I knew there would be some chaos and I just made sure I was able to capitalise on that. The pace was really good in the middle of the race and towards the end I just relaxed a bit to bring home third.

“I’ll be looking to keep increasing my lead in the championship from here on out to ease the pressure. To be in the lead now is really good.”

It was a strong race for TRS Arden who have shown strong pace throughout the weekend. Rafael Martins followed up team-mate Leeds’s victory with an excellent fourth place and at times was inches away from working his magic to find a way past Fewtrell.

Young Racing Driver Academy members Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons capped off TRS Arden’s top performance, locking out the top two places on the Rookie class podium; whilst Nicolai Kjaergaard provided consolation for Fortec Motorsports with third in the Rookie class.

“It’s good to get another Rookie class win this weekend”, said Martin. “I made a mistake which let Fielding through and that cost me sixth, but it was still a good race and I got decent championship points in seventh so I’m pretty happy.

“This circuit is very technical and that’s where I seem to be stronger than a lot of other drivers. I can get consistent lap times around a circuit like this and that allows me to battle at the front.”

Said TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield: “We’ll take that result. That’s more points in the bag and another win under Luis’ belt. He’s back in the fight so watch this space.

“Jack is still very inexperienced and you can sometimes see that when he races against more experienced drivers, but he’s learning all the time and he’s got pace. It won’t be long until he’s really making his own mark. I’m pleased with his performance and I’m pleased with Ayrton too.”

TRS Arden team principal Garry Horner echoed Bloomfield’s sentiments: “I’m delighted to see Luis get another win. We’ve got good pace and the guys in the team have done a great job.”

Key title contenders Sennan Fielding and Petru Florescu proved their mettle by battling back through the field from 14th and 15th on the grid. Fielding sneaking past Martin for sixth down the main straight with three laps remaining.

Meanwhile Florescu’s drive through the field proved that the Romanian was not going to let the championship lead slip from his grasp easily. He will no doubt look to hit back in the final race of the day at 1746.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional results Round 14 Croft 19 June 2016
13 laps / 27.625 miles
1 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 20m 28.615s / 80.94mph
2 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +0.547s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +2.072s
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +2.955s
5 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +5.262s
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +6.789s
7 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.131 +7.266s
8 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +9.128s
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +10.827s
10 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec + 13.402s etc.

Fastest lap Zane Goddard 1m 21.935s / 93.36mph

Rookie class 1 Martin, 2 Simmons, 3 Kjaergaard

Provisional championship standings
1 Fewtrell 169, 2 Florescu 162, 3 Leeds 151, 4 Pull 145, 5 Fielding 124, 6 DeFrancesco 121, 7 Caroline 105, 8 Martins 104, 9 Quinn 100, 10 Goddard 84 etc.

Full times

 

Goddard drives to redemption with victory at Croft in F4 British Championship

  • Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard claims brilliant maiden win in F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.
  • Frantic final lap sees plethora of wheel-to-wheel action and sublime overtaking.

CROFT 18 JUNE, 2016 – Zane Goddard bounced back in style at Croft; making up for missing out on a maiden F4 British Championship victory a fortnight ago with a superb drive from pole for Double R Racing.

Despite dominating the race, Goddard’s victory was put in jeopardy when the safety car peeled into the pits with one lap remaining. It set up a thrilling final lap battle for top honours as Devlin DeFrancesco went into maximum attack mode.

DeFrancesco chose to make his move at Clervaux, but as the two drivers ran side by side in a heart-stopping moment Goddard was resolute in his defence. It was hard, but it was fair. The Australian clearly unwilling to see victory escape his grasp once more.

Until the final lap Goddard had been in a league of his own. After a clean getaway he settled into a rhythm and proceeded to rattle off fastest lap after fastest lap. The race victory a fitting reward for a driver who has shown flashes of brilliance all year and this weekend appears to have found another level of performance.

Said an ecstatic Goddard: “That was a hectic race. I got a good enough start and then I nearly went off at Sunny because I thought the tyres had more temperature in them. I got the gap up to about four seconds. I tried to manage the life in the tyres by not pushing too hard, but I was still able to pull away.

“Then the safety car came out and I thought we were going to finish under it. I didn’t expect it to come in and then so much happened at turn one. I left Devlin as much room as I could. I just managed to hold him off.

“I’m so stoked and absolutely buzzing now I have got my first win. Oulton was tough, but I’ve come back strong this weekend. There are still two more races to go so let’s see what we can achieve.”

Carlin’s DeFrancesco has been the only man to consistently take the fight to Goddard this weekend and did so in the race. A strong start from the Canadian wasn’t quite enough to see him take the lead, but when the safety car came in with one lap remaining it provided him with an opportunity for a last gasp assault.

As usual DeFrancesco was bold and brave, but was unable to pull off a race winning move. Instead he was forced to take evasive action through Hawthorn which ultimately saw him lose out to Luis Leeds and Max Fewtrell.

Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds arrived at Croft with a point to prove and on a mission to get his title challenge back on track. This determination was evident at the race start when he leapt past Max Fewtrell and kept his cool on the hectic final lap to avoid contact with DeFrancesco.

Said Leeds: “It’s great to be on the podium after a tough time at Oulton Park. I had a really good start to get up to third. The safety car came in really late and I knew that was my opportunity to move forward. I saw Devlin and Zane have a real go at each other at the first corner and was lucky to avoid Devlin. I had a real good battle with Max too who was on my tail throughout.”

Fewtrell is another who has the F4 British Championship title in his sights. Despite losing out to Leeds off the line he put in an assured performance to claim yet another podium this season and close the gap to Petru Florescu at the top of the standings.

Added Fewtrell: “I didn’t get a great start. Luis did a really good job braking late into turn one. Towards the middle of the race I started to come back at him quite a lot and I was quite pleased with the pace. Then the safety car came out and there was a bit of chaos in turn one.

“I’m glad to get this podium after the start which wasn’t so good. Overall the race pace was really good and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

After the race it was deemed that Leeds gained an unfair advantage by cutting the chicane on the final lap and he was given a 0.200s time penalty. Enough to see Fewtrell move up to second in the final classification.

Florescu’s race ended almost before it even began. The Romanian an unlucky victim of a mid-pack skirmish at the first corner. Fellow championship contenders James Pull and Sennan Fielding didn’t fare much better. The former colliding with Ayrton Simmons at the final corner on lap one and the latter forced to retire due to damage to his car.

James Pull fought back valiantly however. He profited from Kjaergaard and Butel’s collision at Tower Bend on lap 11 which triggered safety car, but then showed his class to overtake both Matthiesen and Bird on the final lap.

JTR’s Matthiesen put in a stellar performance to race comfortably inside the top ten for the duration of the race, whilst Bird was also a very popular point scorer. Tenth place his best result of the season and evidence of the progress that this young Fortec Motorsports talent is making in a fiercely competitive series.

From 13th Jamie Caroline put in a trademark lightning start to make his was up to seventh on the opening lap. He found himself fending off TRS Arden’s Jack Martin for the majority of the race. However, on the final lap stage two of the Caroline comeback sparked into life as he found a way past Rafael Martins and Alex Quinn.

Contact between Martins and Quinn was sufficient to end Quinn’s race and meant that Jack Martin emerged victorious in the Rookie class – the second rookie win of the year for the driver. It was a welcome win for a driver who loves racing at Croft and has been in fine form this weekend.

Commented Martin: “I think Alex Quinn was a little unlucky, but this is a great result. The team have done a great job setting up the car and I was able to get the maximum out of it. I think we can perform even better in the remaining races. We have made a big step forward.”

The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford action continues tomorrow with Round 14 commencing at 1317. Jamie Caroline will start from pole and look to be the second newcomer to the Ford EcoBoost-powered winners’ club this weekend in the live televised race on ITV4. Meanwhile Goddard will want to replicate today’s performance to add another victory to his name in the final race at 1746.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional results Round 13 Croft 18 June 2016
14 laps / 29.75 miles
1 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 20m 9.253s / 88.56mph
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +2.402s
3 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +2.427s
4 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +2.760s
5 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Fortec +5.583s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:21.254 +6.391s
7 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.131 +6.856s
8 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.383 +7.116s
9 Patrik MATTHIESEN / DEN / JTR +7.710s
10 Frank BIRD / GBR / Fortec +8.267s etc.

Fastest lap Zane Goddard 1m 20.978s / 94.47mph

Rookie class 1 Martin, 2 Simmons

Grid for Round 14 Caroline – DeFrancesco – Leeds – Fewtrell – Goddard – Martins – Martin – Pull – Matthiesen – Bird etc.

Provisional championship standings
1 Florescu 158, 2 Fewtrell 154, 3 Pull 135, 4 Leeds 126, 5 DeFrancesco 121, 6 Fielding 116, 7 Caroline 105, 8 Quinn 100, 9 Martins 92, 10 Goddard 66 etc.

Rookie class
1 Quinn 251, 2 J. Martin 188, 3 Kjaergaard 136, 4 R. Martin 130, 5 Simmons 113

Full results

Goddard doubles up in F4 British Championship qualifying at Croft

  • Zane Goddard puts in flawless qualifying performance to take pole for Double R Racing.
  • Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco within touching distance of pole and Goddard’s closest challenger.

CROFT 18 JUNE, 2016 – Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard is a step closer to claiming the first F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford win of his career, having claimed pole position for rounds 13 and 15 at Croft this weekend.

The Australian appears at one with the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit following standout performances in testing at the track. He was calm and collected in qualifying. While others squabbled for provisional pole, Goddard bided his time in the session.

With five minutes remaining he unleashed his phenomenal Ford EcoBoost-powered pace to post a time of 1m 20.749s. A lap of 1m 20.708s followed, and with both times clear of the field pole was sewn up for Goddard, rounding off a flawless qualifying performance.

Said a grinning Goddard: “This feels awesome. Really happy with that. It felt like I wasn’t going to get the lap in because there was a lot of traffic, but fortunately I didn’t get baulked.

“On my first lap when I should have set my best time, I was still trying to find the best track position so I didn’t get the optimum out of the tyres, but I think the car was very consistent. I was really happy with the setup.

“I didn’t put the full lap together so there is still more to come. I can’t complain though. I’m on pole and that’s what we wanted. We will see what we can do in the race. We know we are quick on used tyres.

“We haven’t had any problems really this weekend so fingers crossed that’s the way it stays. I’m really enjoying it and I’m having a really fun weekend. The team have done a fantastic job as well.”

Goddard’s main rival, as was the case in testing yesterday, was Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco. A 1m 20.833s putting him just over a tenth away from pole, but ensuring a front row grid slot and an opportunity to try to turn the tables on Goddard in the race.

Added DeFrancesco: “P2 and a good job from everybody in the team. It’s always nice to be beating my team-mates and carry my form Thruxton to Oulton, and almost all of it here too.”

“We knew Zane was going to be a big threat in qualifying and he hooked up a better lap than me. That’s the way it goes sometimes. There’s still plenty of racing to do and we will see what happens. We will be going for the win.

“If you look at most tyres, they are quite grained and that’s because of how abrasive the track surface is here. How they drop-off is going to be a key factor this weekend.”

Carlin team-mate Max Fewtrell has shone this weekend, despite missing out on one of yesterday’s test sessions. Third on the grid a just reward for a driver looking to retake the lead in the championship after a difficult couple of rounds.

Commented Fewtrell: “P3 is a good starting position for here. I think it’s going to be tricky to overtake. The first flying lap was the best lap with the tyres having most grip and I wasn’t quite able to maximise it, but I’m happy with P3. Oulton was the best weekend for me, but I’ve been working hard since then and I want to be back on the top step as soon as possible.”

Racing Steps Foundation backed driver Alex Quinn was quickest of the Rookie class qualifiers in P4, as well as the Fortec Motorsports runners; backing up the confidence he had in the car following pre-race testing. His performance was the only real positive for a Fortec team which saw its other drivers, Jamie Caroline, Nicolai Kjaergaard and Frank Bird only manage 13th, 14th and 16th respectively.

TRS Arden had a much happier time out on track; Luis Leeds, Jack Martin and Rafael Martins all well inside the top ten and showing they have the pace to fight for big points scores this weekend.

Championship leader Petru Florescu’s quiet weekend continues with the eighth quickest time. A surprise for many given his front-running form of late.

Fellow title protagonist JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding did well to break into the top ten. Early in the session he was as high as provisional pole, the multiple British F4 race winner extracting the most out of a car which has been hindered by technical problems this weekend.

The lights will go out on this afternoon’s race at 1525 when Zane Goddard will be looking to complete his redemption having come so close to victory two weeks ago. The Australian has been on another level so far this weekend and it will be fascinating to see if he can finish the job. He’s got his work cut out however, as Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco and Max Fewtrell are major contenders for Ford EcoBoost-powered victory.

Provisional qualifying times Croft 18 June 2016
Grid order for round 13
1 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:20.708
2 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:20.833
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.056
4 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:21.066
5 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:21.103
6 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.131
7 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:21.254
8 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:21.280
9 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.383
10 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:21.384 etc.

Round 15 grid order (based on second fastest times) Goddard – DeFrancesco – Fewtrell – Quinn – Martins – Martin – Leeds – Fielding – Florescu – Simmons

Full times

DeFrancesco and Goddard steal a march in F4 British Championship pre-race test

  • DeFrancesco stakes his claim for top honours at Croft.
  • Zane Goddard touted for success as everyone left talking about his ominous testing performance for Double R Racing.
  • Ford EcoBoost-powered field looks to be closer than ever.

CROFT 17 JUNE, 2016 – Devlin DeFrancesco topped the times for Carlin in testing at Croft in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. The entire day was plagued by wind and fine drizzle, but that didn’t stop motorsport’s leading lights from brightening up the day with a fascinating pre-race test.

DeFrancesco’s best of the day came in the afternoon with just minutes to spare, as he elected to fit a set of new Hankook slicks to his Carlin-prepared racer and blitz the 2.125-mile track with a 1m 20.753s. It was another assured performance from a driver in the ascendancy, having taken two victories and two podiums in the last six races.

Said DeFrancesco: “The team has done a great job. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this weekend. There is a lot more to come. There are a few little bits to refine here and there, but we’re in good shape for qualifying.

“It would be nice to make it two pole positions in a row. I really like this circuit. It’s one of my favourites. It’s a real driver’s circuit. I would like to think it’s an ideal circuit for me.”

Whilst DeFrancesco grabbed the headlines, Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard had everyone talking. The Australian excelled in testing at the circuit just over a fortnight ago. Fast-forward to today and the Australian put in an ominous performance, the majority of which on old tyres.

He was fastest in the morning session with a 1m 20.931s and only just lost out on P1 in the afternoon having led the way for the majority; at one point by a margin of over six tenths of a second.

Explained Goddard: “Today went well. We had really good speed on old tyres. The conditions were a little bit different to when we were here last, but I felt like I got in the groove quickly. I was able to put together three very quick consecutive laps in the morning, but wasn’t quite able to hook up the perfect lap so there is still more time there.

“We didn’t put new tyres on when others did this afternoon, that’s why we didn’t finish P1 and that’s where the time was. When they were on new tyres we saw what their pace was and didn’t feel the need to go again. I’m confident ahead of tomorrow. There is still more to come.”

Frequent Friday star James Pull once again shone with a time good enough for P3. Despite juggling exam commitments he’s confident that his preparation for this weekend has put him in good stead for victory.

“It’s always difficult balancing things like this. I think education is very important, especially in a sport like this”, said Pull. “Compared to last time I was here this performance is a massive improvement. It’s so close out there and qualifying will be really important. That’s the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle for me.”

Max Fewtrell was another who had to contend with academic responsibilities, missing out on the morning’s running to sit an exam. However, he wasted no time getting into the groove when behind the wheel to go an impressive fifth fastest in the afternoon session.

Like compatriot Goddard, Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds did a stellar job flying the Australian flag. He wound up fourth, just three tenths off of top spot, suggesting he’s more than capable of bouncing back from a frustrating outing at Oulton Park two weeks ago.

Commented Leeds: “I’m looking to claw some points back in the championship. As I always I’ll be focusing on performing to the very best of my ability. It’s nice to see Zane up there and it would be great to have two Aussies on the podium.”

Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn emerged triumphant in an almighty tussle for early Rookie class supremacy going fifth quickest overall; less than three one hundredths of a second clear of Jack Martin’s best. Meanwhile, Ayrton Simmons was a further seven one hundredths away from his rookie rivals.

Commented Quinn: “It was tricky out there with the weather. We will go through the data and I think we can hook a lap together to be right up there. The battle in the Rookie class is going to be so close and I want to come out on top.”

Added Martin: “It was difficult because it was rainy on my visor, but the track wasn’t actually wet. I feel there is more time in the bag. I think the team have done a great job setting up the car. It feels great through the corners and very stable under braking.”

Championship leader Petru Florescu had a relatively quiet day in ninth, but having topped the times last time the British F4 cohort was at this circuit, one cannot help but feel there’s plenty more pace up the Romanian’s sleeve.

The same can be said of JHR Developments. Sennan Fielding and Jack Butel struggled to shine, but are sure to be protagonists after pouring over the data to hone their setups.

Another team confident they have not shown their full potential is Fortec Motorsports, having disguised the pace of their runners. It indicates we should expect better showings in qualifying from Frank Bird, Nicolai Kjaergaard and new addition to the squad Jamie Caroline.

Said Fortec team manager Dan Mitchell: “Alex is up there. We are close. We are chipping away. Jamie has to get used to many new things. He isn’t as high up as he has been this season because he has got to take one step back to go two steps forward. Tomorrow morning he will be fine. We’re just taking him through a full system that we take all our drivers through. He will move forward and he will win races this year.”

Patrik Matthiesen was unlucky not to have ended the day inside the top ten for JTR, particularly after a strong showing in the morning when he tallied the most amount of laps. “The morning went well”, commented the Dane. “I was happy with that, but this afternoon the performance dropped a little. We know what we need to work on. Top ten is the aim because I want to have more points than I do at the moment.”

With the entire F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford field covered by almost a second, the grid is shaping up to be closer than ever. Official qualifying is scheduled for 1050 tomorrow and the first of the weekend’s races is set to follow at 1525.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Leading testing times Croft 17 June 2016 (am/pm)
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:21.071 / 1:20.753
2 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:20.931 / 1:21.033
3 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.005 / 1:21.446
4 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:21.351 / 1:21.060
5 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:21.269 / 1:21.094
6 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.123 / 1:21.292
7 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin No time set / 1:21.181
8 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:21.283 / 1:21.193
9 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:21.350 / 1:21.401
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:21.409 / 1:21.357 etc.

Full times

Croft timetable and info links

CROFT 17-19 JUNE, 2016 — The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford title battle rolls onto the 2.125-mile Croft circuit in North Yorkshire, where motorsport’s brightest young talents will look to claim a psychological advantage before the summer break.

Carlin’s Petru Florescu arrives with a 22 point lead in the championship ahead of a host of fellow title contenders including team-mates Max Fewtrell and James Pull, as well has JHR’s Sennan Fielding and TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds. Meanwhile, fan-favourite Jamie Caroline makes his debut for powerhouse team Fortec Motorsports. 

Here’s everything you need to know to stay in touch this weekend.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA -powered by Ford timetable

Friday 17 June – Testing 1030-1110 & 1500-1540

Saturday 18 June – Qualifying 1050-1110; Round 13 1525,

Sunday 19 June – 1030 British F4 Driver Autograph & Interview Session at Ford Race Centre; Round 14 1317 LIVE ON ITV4; Round 15 1746

Live timing
Follow the live timing screen and download results via TSL Timing

Twitter
Follow us @BritishF4

Listen live
You can listen to the circuit commentary live via Ford British F4 Radio

You can also listen to the latest interviews from drivers, teams and championship personnel throughout the weekend by clicking on the link below:

Front-running Florescu the man to beat as British F4 heads to Croft

  • Petru Florescu goes into the weekend as favourite for more victories.
  • Sennan Fielding, Luis Leeds and Zane Goddard all arrive at the 2.125-mile North Yorskshire circuit with points to prove.
  • Rafael Martins looking to build on breakthrough win for TRS Arden.
  • Jamie Caroline aiming for positive debut with Fortec Motorsports.

16 JUNE, 2016 – The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford title battle rolls onto Croft and all eyes are on Carlin’s Petru Florescu. With four wins, five pole positions and having been the quickest man in testing at this circuit just over a fortnight ago, it would be a brave person who bets against him extending his championship lead.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the Romanian is going to have things all his own way. The title fight is still wide open. Leading protagonists include his team-mates Max Fewtrell, James Pull and Devlin DeFrancesco. The latter has put together a run of form in recent rounds which has propelled him up the standings.

Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) and Luis Leeds (TRS Arden) both have something to prove after a difficult time at Oulton Park. Fielding’s team-mate Jack Butel is also aiming to score big points this weekend and is relishing the chance to compete at a circuit which suits his driving style.

Double R’s Zane Goddard will strike back with a vengeance after coming tantalising close to his first British F4 victory a fortnight ago and having been a leading player at Croft in testing. He will try to emulate TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins who at the 41st time of asking claimed his maiden victory. Meanwhile Martins’ team-mates Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons will look to shine.

Jamie Caroline arrives as a Fortec Motorsports driver having previously raced for Jamun. It is a move that could prove pivotal for his title ambitions and everyone will be keen to see if this new partnership gets off to a flying start. He will race alongside Fortec’s super-talented rookie line-up: runaway Rookie class leader Alex Quinn; Frank Bird and Nicolai Kjaergaard.

JTR’s Patrik Matthiesen has had a frustrating couple of races, but with the Dane becoming increasingly accustomed to his Ford-EcoBoost-powered machinery it’s just a matter of time until he starts featuring towards the sharp end of the grid.

The Croft weekend gets underway with two test sessions on Friday when drivers will want to refine their setups ahead of official qualifying and round 13 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA –powered by Ford on Saturday. The Ford EcoBoost action ramps up further on Sunday with two more races, the first of the day at 1317 to be screened live on ITV4.

Croft timetable
Friday 17 June
1030-1110 & 1500-1540 Testing
Saturday 18 June
1050 Qualifying; 1525 Race 1
Sunday 19 June
1030 British F4 Driver Autograph Session at Ford Race Centre
1317 Race 2; 1746 Race 3
On TV – Live on ITV4 & itv.com/btcc Sunday 1317
On Radio – Listen to live circuit commentary on British F4 Radio.
Listen to interviews throughout the weekend here.