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

DeFrancesco masters Oulton Park for maiden British F4 pole

  • DeFrancesco leaves it late to win pole position battle by less than half a tenth from Carlin team-mate Florescu.
  • Thrilling qualifying session which saw Alex Quinn and Jamie Caroline take the fight to Carlin.
  • Several championship protagonists have it all to do after difficult session.

OULTON PARK 4 JUNE, 2016 – Carlin’s Devlin DerFrancesco claimed a brilliant pole at Oulton Park ahead of team-mate Petru Florescu and Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn.

In an entertaining qualifying, Quinn was the man who broke the Carlin stranglehold with six minutes remaining – their four drivers jockeying at the top of the timesheets for much of the session.

Quinn posted a 1m 22.741s to put him just under two tenths clear of Florescu and with the clock ticking down it looked as though the Racing Steps Foundation driver’s time wouldn’t be beaten, but DeFrancesco and Florescu had other ideas.

As the chequered flag fell on the session DeFrancesco posted a lightning lap of 1m 22.612s to storm his way to pole. Florescu leapt up from fourth to second to bag another front row start this season. He will also line up on pole in race three courtesy of his second fastest time being the best of the field.

Commented an ecstatic DeFrancesco: “This pole feels unbelievable. It was an unbelievable job by the team. The first few laps the car just kept on getting better and better and I knew there was more performance to come from the tyre. I really hooked up that last lap. I stayed cool, calm and collected to get the job done when it mattered. Things are coming together and we can definitely bridge the gap in the championship to be on top come the end of the year.”

Added Florescu: “It was a really tight qualifying, but I’m happy for my team-mate. The car was really quick. All the Carlins are quick. I’m looking forward to a good fight in race one and then to have pole for race three is great. With all my championship contenders behind me it’s a good chance to score more points than them.”

It looked as though Quinn might have the last laugh with his final flyer as he lit up the timing screen once more in the first part of the lap, but he was left ruing an encounter with traffic: “It was a good session. P3 is ok, but the potential was there for P1. I just got caught out by a little bit of traffic on my last lap when I was going quicker, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I’m looking forward to the races now because we’ve got excellent pace in the car.”

Pirtek Racing Jamun star Jamie Caroline, as well as Carlin’s Max Fewtrell and James Pull were in the mix for pole throughout, all taking turns at the sharp end of the provisional grid as the session evolved. The trio ended up fourth, fifth and sixth respectively and are sure to be key players in this weekend’s races.

Next up came TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons and Rafael Martins. The former had a fantastic pre-race test suggesting he had every chance to be inside the top 10. He well and truly delivered. Martins was also pleased with the step the team had made overnight with the car and cast an eye on a strong showing for the remainder of the weekend.

Said Martins: “We have improved the car a lot since yesterday. We went with a setup that we weren’t quite sure how much performance it would give us, but it proved to be a good step. We will try to do a good result in race one and then build on that to get really strong finishes tomorrow.”

Arden team-mate and championship protagonist Luis Leeds had a frustrating qualifying, damaging a rear suspension link after a heavy impact with a kerb. It brought a premature end to a session in which TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield was confident of a strong result for the Red Bull Junior racer: “We got off to a bit of a rough start this weekend, but we have made some big steps since yesterday.”

“I think the circuit is just highlighting the relative inexperience of our drivers. Ayrton has done a great job and we weren’t expecting him to be so quick early on. It’s a really fantastic performance. It was shame about Luis not being able to complete the session because it looked like he was going to be really strong, but I’m happy with the progress we have made as a team so far.”

Billy Monger was another whose session was cut short, spinning on oil leaking from his car and ending up in in the gravel trap.

It was a session to forget for championship leader and JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding. An experimental spring setup change backfiring terribly, meaning he will have to start from 14th.

JTR’s Patrik Matthiesen caught the eye with a series of quick laps late on to see him climb up several places and just miss out on a top 10 grid slot. However, the Dane was confident of breaking into the top positions during the weekend: “I’m happy with how qualifying has gone here. It’s getting better and better as the season progresses.

“I’m able to push the car harder and harder which is great. The key around here is being able to carry the speed through the corners. It’s something that I’ve been working on and I’m definitely getting stronger in this area.”

With the likes of Fielding, Leeds and Monger sure to battle their way through the field, while Messrs Quinn, Caroline and the Carlin quartet provide fireworks out front, the first race of the weekend at 1445 is one no will want to miss.

Provisional qualifying times Oulton Park 4 June 2016
Grid order for round 10
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:22.612
2 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:22.644
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:22.741
4 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 1:22.761
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:22.780
6 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:22.982
7 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:23.165
8 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:23.224
9 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:23.287
10 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:23.361

Round 12 grid order (based on second fastest times) Florescu – DeFrancesco – Fewtrell – Caroline – Quinn – Pull – Simmons – Martins – Kjaergaard – Bird etc.

Full times

 

DeFrancesco leads the way in British F4 testing at Croft

  • Devlin DeFrancesco maintains rich run of form to top the timesheets.
  • Alex Quinn fastest in the morning session with late flyer.
  • Electrifying pace from much of the field, as majority covered by less than a second.

CROFT 31 MAY, 2016 – Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco set the pace in an entertaining first day of testing at Croft in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. The test saw nine drivers lap the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit quicker than last season’s pole time of 1m 21.369s. It underlined the depth of talent on this year’s grid, as well as the performance gains made by Ford with its EcoBoost technology and Mygale with the British F4 chassis.

DeFrancesco wasted no time in trying to seize the initiative, just over three weeks after his popular maiden victory at Thruxton. Despite his best efforts in the morning the Canadian wound up fourth fastest, but it was in the afternoon where he really excelled.

There was a tussle for supremacy shortly after Carlin team-mate Petru Florescu staked his claim at the top, with DeFrancesco and TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds deposing the Romanian from top spot with 40 minutes left on the clock.

Leeds posted his quickest time of the day, a 1m 20.791s to put him fractionally ahead of DeFrancesco’s first flyer. However, DeFrancesco made his second attempt count with a blistering 1m 20.671s which would see him end up outright fastest.

It was a good day for British F4’s Aussie contingent with both Leeds and Double R’s Zane Goddard topping the times at various stages. Leeds’ eye-catching afternoon performance was backed up by third fastest in the morning, whilst Goddard recorded an impressive 123 laps on his way to seventh. A tally second only to JHR’s Jack Butel, who racked up a staggering 125 laps.

Racing Steps Foundation driver Alex Quinn stamped his authority on the morning session to go quickest with just four minutes remaining. Although he was unable to better his time in the afternoon, the Rookie class leader is sure to be pleased with his day’s work, finishing just a quarter of a second off of DeFrancesco’s time.

Like Quinn, Carlin’s Max Fewtrell was another who couldn’t better his morning’s effort which saw him head into the lunchbreak second. The 16-year-old having to settle for fifth overall, just behind team-mate Petru Florescu.

Championship leader Sennan Fielding had a relatively quiet day in sixth, but is sure to have plenty more in his locker having shown flashes of front running pace, particularly in the morning.

Fortec Motrosports’ Nicolai Kjaergaard showed the greatest rate of improvement, bettering his morning time by nearly six tenths of a second with a flying lap late in the day.

Finally, Jack Martin put in one of his best testing performances of the season so far to be fastest Rookie class driver in the afternoon and finish the day comfortably inside the top ten.

Day two of testing at Croft commences at 0900 tomorrow and with the Ford EcoBoost-powered field so evenly matched, it’s going to be fascinating to see who ends the test on top.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Leading testing times Croft 31 May 2016 (am/pm)
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:21.082 / 1:20.671
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1.21.066 / 1:20.791
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:20.921 / 1:21.343
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:21.207 / 1:20.940
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1.20.951 / 1:21.246
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:21.150 / 1:21.395
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:21.371 / 1:21.212
8 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.486 / 1:21.213
9 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:21.682 / 1:21.248
10 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.482 / 1:21.572 etc.

Full TSL timesheets

DeFrancesco triumphs in five-way British F4 thriller at Thruxton

  • Devlin DeFrancesco takes memorable maiden victory
  • Super-close racing and a masterclass in wheel-to-wheel racing cements the Ford EcoBoost-powered series’ standing as the world’s toughest FIA F4 championship to win.

THRUXTON 8 MAY, 2016 – Round nine of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford will live long in the memory; with a five-way battle for the lead and wheel-to-wheel action throughout the field. It was Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco who triumphed, taking a popular victory ahead of Billy Monger, Max Fewtrell, James Pull and Sennan Fielding. The quintet’s battle for glory provided a spectacle which firmly puts British F4 on the map as arguably the most entertaining single-seater series in the world.

The start was all about Petru Florescu who leapt away from pole with JHR’s Fielding in his wheel tracks, getting the jump on Fewtrell to move into second. Fewtrell responded a lap later in tandem with Carlin team-mate DeFrancesco, as both drivers dived down the outside of Fielding along the back straight.

With the bit between his teeth DeFrancesco then proceeded to blast past Fewtrell on the subsequent lap and apply serious pressure to Florescu with the lead now firmly in his sights. It immediately took its toll on the Romanian, who made an uncharacteristic mistake by taking too much kerb on the exit of Club to see not only DeFrancesco, but also Fielding and Fewtrell go by.

The situation deteriorated further two laps later for the race one winner. A spin sending him down to ninth immediately after DeFrancesco out-braked himself into the final chicane allowing Fielding to take the lead.

The Canadian made amends the following lap, judging his braking perfectly into the same chicane to retake control at the head of the field. The battle at the front was soon joined Monger and Pull who closed up to Fielding and Fewtrell. It set up a captivating five-way showdown for the win and a masterclass in wheel-to-wheel racing as the quintet jockeyed for position lap after lap.

The highlight of which taking place on the penultimate lap, as DeFrancesco found his mirrors full of the JHR pairing of Fielding and Monger, as well as team-mate Fewtrell. The three drivers were three abreast across the pit straight and it was Monger who seized the initiative. He dared to brake latest into turn one to take second, with Fewtrell squeezing past Fielding, who moments later succumbed to Pull’s attack.

A jubilant DeFrancesco stated: “It feels unbelievable to get this win. What a race! What a fight at the front! There was so much respect amongst all the drivers, with good overtaking and clean moves. I cannot wait for what the rest of the season has in store. There were so many touch-and-go moments out on track and the key was just trying to keep focused.”

Said second place man Monger: “It’s not the top step, but we’re getting closer. I’m not here to make up the numbers. I wanted to prove to people that I deserve to be here and I think I have done that this weekend. We’ve had two podiums this weekend and I want to take this momentum into Oulton Park and get my first win. There was so much respect out there between all the drivers. It enabled such close racing. I think it’s the best racing in Europe and that’s why this is such a highly rated championship.”

Whilst Fewtrell was in a philosophical mood after his Thruxton trials and tribulations: “To grab a podium after a really tough weekend and the big incidents in races one and two is a good confidence booster. I hung in there and kept going. I think that last race wasn’t really about pace because of the slipstream effect around here. It’s all about using that slipstream to your advantage and timing moves to perfection which is what I tried to do.”

Messrs Luis Leeds, Alex Quinn and Zane Goddard added further drama with a fantastic tussle for sixth. Quinn and Goddard went either side of Leeds as they hit the pit straight at the end of lap five leaving the crowd speechless; swallowing up his TRS Arden prepared racer following his slow exit from Club. Quinn’s seventh place was enough to see him record an impressive sixth Rookie class win of the year.

Commented Quinn: “It could have been a lot better this weekend. We were a bit unfortunate, but I’m already looking forward to Oulton Park. It was really tough battling with Luis and Zane. We all drove really well and it was such a tough race. It just demonstrates how competitive British F4 is.”

Added Goddard: “I didn’t get the start I would have liked, but I came through and somehow got past Luis on the outside. At the last corner I locked up and the rear stepped out on me. I was just able to hold it together. It was such a close finish and it’s nice to get the Aussie bragging rights over Luis on this occasion.”

Patrik Matthiesen once again held on valiantly to finish in the last points paying position for JTR, just as he had in race two.

Meanwhile, a collision between Jack Butel and Rafael Martins in the closing stages left the former at the back of the field and brought an end to Martins’ race. A frustrating finish to a weekend that promised so much for both drivers, after strong showings in testing and Butel’s pole position start in the race two.

There was also disappointment for Jamie Caroline whose race was fated before the lights went out due to contact on the lap to the grid. He elected to start from the pit lane, giving his Jamun team the chance to repair a damaged front wing, but their efforts were in vain as Caroline was forced to retire with the wing hanging precariously from the nose of his car.

Despite both missing out on the podium in round nine, it is Fielding who leaves Thruxton at the top of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford standings. Leeds, Fewtrell, Florescu and Pull lie within touching distance of the leader however and as this weekend has proved there are sure to be plenty more surprises at Oulton Park in four weeks’ time.

 

Provisional results Round 9, Thruxton 8 May, 2016
16 laps / 37.69 miles
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 20m 16.559s / 111.54mph
2 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +1.476s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +1.659s
4 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +1.929s
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +2.187s
6 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +4.366s
7 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +5.818s
8 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +6.420s
9 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +6.910s
10 Patrik MATTHIESEN / DEN / JTR +7.095s etc

Fastest lap DeFrancesco 1m 14.713s / 113.52mph

Rookie class 1 Quinn; 2 R Martin; 3 J Martin; 4 Kjaergaard; 5 Simmons

Full results

Provisional championship standings
=1 Fielding 109 points; 2 Leeds 107 points; 3 Fewtrell 104; 4 Florescu 103; 5 Pull 95; 6 Quinn 73; 7 Caroline 65; 8 DeFrancesco 60; 9 Monger 47; 10 Martins 45 etc

Rookie Class 1 Quinn 201; 2 R Martin 130; 3 J Martin 112; 4 Kjaergaard 84; 5 Simmons 50

DeFrancesco sets the pace in Ford MSA Formula test at Thruxton

  • Devlin DeFrancesco maintains Carlin’s run of form in Thruxton test.
  • Luis Leeds and Max Fewtrell prove to be Canadian’s closest challengers, with Rafael Martins and Billy Monger also impressing.

THRUXTON 07 APRIL, 2016 – Devlin DeFrancesco took advantage of the best of the day’s weather to top the times for Carlin in Ford British F4 testing at Thruxton. The test was beleaguered by damp and cold conditions, as drivers sought to lay down a marker ahead of the Thruxton race weekend on 7-8 May.

After a quiet start, the Canadian bettered his morning time by over a second to post a 1:13.500 in the dying minutes of the second session. It was a time that would remain unbeaten as more inclement weather set in at the 2.4 mile Hampshire circuit.

His closest challengers were TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds who was within two tenths of the DeFrancesco’s time and Max Fewtrell who once again impressed in the final session when the track was at its wettest.

There was drama 20 minutes into the second session as Ayrton Simmons, who had just recorded his fastest time of the day, got caught out while pushing on slick tyres through Goodwood on the damp asphalt. The Essex-based driver hurtled into the tyre barriers but walked away unscathed, testament to the safety of the FIA F4 homologated Ford EcoBoost-powered racer.

A number of drivers elected to sit out the final session due to the bad weather, including pacesetter DeFrancesco. JHR’s experienced pairing of Jack Butel and Sennan Fielding also followed suit, the former breaking into the top 10 overall and 2016 race winner Fielding finishing the day a strong sixth.

Fellow JHR Developments driver Billy Monger caught the eye throughout, ending both the morning and late afternoon sessions in third. Whilst TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins was star of the show in the first session going fastest and ending the day fourth, with Carlin’s James Pull less than a tenth away in fifth.

It was a difficult day for Fortec Motorsports, with early leader in the Rookie Cup Alex Quinn posting their fastest time of 1:14.334 to go ninth. Team-mate Ross Martin found himself stuck in the pits for much of the first session due to technical problems, while Frank Bird had a frustrating end to the test, bringing out a red flag after making contact with the barrier at Club.

Ford British F4 teams now have a week’s respite before testing at Donington Park gets under way on Thursday, 14 April, ahead of the next three rounds of the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.

Leading testing times Thruxton 7 April 2016 (Sessions 1 / 2 / 3)
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CAN / Carlin 1:14.887 / 1:13.500 / No time set
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / TRS Arden 1:15.012 / 1:13.665 / 1:21.248
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:14.803 / 1:13.713 / 1:20.030
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / TRS Arden 1:14.683 / 1:13.909 / 1:21.666
5 James PULL / GBR / JHR 1:16.053 / 1:13.995 / 1:20.141
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:14.945 / 1:14.047 / No time set
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:15.148 / 1:14.065 / 1:21.298
8 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1:14.859 / 1:14.120 / 1:20.455
9 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:16.738 / 1:14.334 / 1:21.565
10 Jack BUTEL / GBR / JHR 1:15.990 / 1:14.404 / No time set etc.

Ross Martin overcomes Carlin’s boys in blue in final Ford MSA Formula test

  • Allan McNish mentored Ross Martin steals Carlin’s thunder.
  • All four of Carlin’s drivers maintain ominously fast pace.

24 March, 2016 – Fortec Motorsports’ Ross Martin shone in the final collective pre-season test for the Ford EcoBoost-powered series yesterday; setting the fastest time of the entire two day test at Rockingham.

Despite the continued dominance of Carlin, the day belonged to Formula Kart Stars champion Ross Martin. The young Scot appeared to find his feet around the Rockingham circuit on day two, posting his quickest time of 1:18.218 in the morning and never looking back.

Fortec team manager Dan Mitchell said: “Ross managed to get through his entire test programme in the morning and was extremely happy with the car so elected not to post a time in the afternoon.”

Snapping at the heels of Martin on the timesheets was Carlin’s quartet. The familiar face of Max Fewtrell, undoubtedly one of the stars of testing, once again played a prominent role. The 16 year-old ending the day second, just a tenth and half away from Martin.

Teammates Petru Florescu (fastest in the afternoon session) and Devlin DeFrancesco followed in the times.

TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and JHR Developments’ Sennan Fielding joined the fray, aiming to ensure that the Carlin drivers didn’t have things completely their own way.

Leeds succeeded, posting a time of 1:18.464 in the afternoon which put him fifth overall and ahead of Tuesday’s quickest driver James Pull.

Meanwhile, Fielding was remarkably consistent throughout and found himself lying in eighth when the chequered flag fell.

Young Racing Driver Academy driver Ayrton Simmons also impressed for TRS Arden. He showed significant improvement as the day progressed, bettering his quickest time of the morning by over six tenths of a second in the afternoon.

With collective pre-season testing having concluded, all attention turns to Brands Hatch where the inaugural rounds of the Ford British F4 season will take place on 2/3 April.

Leading testing times Rockingham 23 March, 2016 (am/pm)
1 Ross MARTIN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.218 / No time set
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.377 / 1:18.852
3 Petru FLORESCU / ROM Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.571 / 1:18.405
4 Devlin DeFRANCESCO / CAN Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.547 / 1:18.438
5 Luis LEEDS / AUS Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.890 / 1:18.464
6 James PULL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.471 / 1:18.490
7 Alex QUINN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.823 / 1:18.800
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR JHR / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.810 / 1:18.861
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.448 / 1:18.816
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.865 / 1:19.132 etc.

Devlin DeFrancesco signs for Carlin for MSA Formula 2016

Devlin Defrancesco (CAN)
  • Ganassi protégé to be championship’s first Canadian driver

10 DECEMBER, 2015 – Canadian teenager Devlin DeFrancesco has been named as Carlin’s second MSA Formula Championship driver for 2016. DeFrancesco, who turns 16 in January, will line up in one of the champion team’s Ford EcoBoost-powered machines alongside Briton James Pull, as well as a further two yet-to-be-named running mates.

Devlin has spent 2015 in the UK as part of the Carlin Academy, preparing for his first full season of single-seater action. He has a successful background in karting, winning the Canadian National Junior Championship in 2013 as well as finishing second in the CSAI Italian Championship and third overall in the CIK FIA European Championship.

A 2014 kart accident left DeFrancesco with a fractured wrist which ruled him out of a full time race programme this year. During his rehabilitation, he tested alongside Carlin’s 2015 MSA Formula drivers as well as competing in selected rounds of the Ginetta Junior Championship.

Said Devlin: “It is a great honour for me to continue with the Carlin ‘family’. So far it has been an awesome year, with a pole position at Rockingham. I’m really looking forward to 2016 and can’t wait to be in a racecar again. I need to thank everyone who has supported me for making this happen.”

“Devlin is a welcome addition to the race team,” commented Trevor Carlin, “although he has been part of Carlin for a season already. We’ve seen him come a very long way over the last year and he has potential that has obviously been recognised by us and the Ganassi Racing Teams. I look forward to seeing what he can achieve on track in 2016.”

The Toronto born teenager is the first member of Generation Ganassi, a programme established by the legendary Ganassi Racing Teams to identify 13-18-year-old drivers as ‘ones to watch’ in the world of motorsport. DeFrancesco and his counterparts will be offered professional guidance to aid their growth within the sport, including working with a current Ganassi driver who will act as mentor.

MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost is Britain’s official version of the FIA’s Formula 4 concept and was introduced this season as a supporting series to the British Touring Car Championship, enjoying live TV coverage and bumper raceday spectator attendance. The scheduled opening rounds are set for Brands Hatch next April.