SNETTERTON 31 JULY, 2016 – Following his flawless qualifying performance and lights to flag victory yesterday, many touted Sennan Fielding for the win once more. The JHR Developments driver didn’t disappoint from pole.
The Amigos backed star has been in the ascendancy all weekend and victory in Round 18 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered Ford capped off a stellar 48 hours for the driver.
Said the weekend’s double race winner: “I had a great first lap and I was hoping to build a good lead, but when the gap got under a second the tow was big down the straights. I worked out where DeFrancesco was quicker and where I was quicker and used that to my advantage.
“It was a great race and it’s been a great weekend for us. The team have done a fantastic job and thank you to everyone who has been here this weekend. All the marshals and everyone who has given their spare time to make it possible for us to go racing. A massive thanks to everyone at JHR and Amigos.”
Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco and Fewtrell were in close pursuit of Fielding throughout with TRS Arden’s Red Bull Junior star Luis Leeds getting in on the act too, lapping quicker than anyone else for a large part of the race in fourth.
Explained Leeds: “We had a lot of good pace. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me for the rest of this year to come out on top, but I’m looking forward to the last four race weekends and I will be working as hard as I can to win this championship.
“I don’t expect anything to come easy. It’s a great championship because all the drivers in it are so good. It’s what makes it tough, but it’s also what makes it one of the best championships in the world.”
DeFrancesco did well to leap past team-mate Fewtrell at the start, his second place making him the only driver to finish on the podium in all three races this weekend.
Commented DeFrancesco: “We had a good pace in the race, just not in the right places. We were all over Sennan in sector two in the tight and twisty bits, but there were a few other places where he was a bit better than me.
“I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year though. I think we did the maximum we could this weekend even though we didn’t get the win. I have made a massive gain in the championship.”
It was also a welcome return to the podium for Fewtrell, who endured a difficult Saturday, but bounced back brilliantly ensuring that he is only four points off the championship lead.
Added Fewtrell: “I think this podium softens the blow following the first race. I didn’t get a great start so Devlin got me off the line and then we just stayed in formation. I think the pace was fine and I’m looking forward to Knockhill now to get some better results. There is still a long way to go.”
Fastest lap of the race was snatched away from Leeds by fifth place man Petru Florescu on the penultimate lap. Championship leader Florescu went into the race seeking a strong points finish to ensure he left Norfolk at the top of the standings and he duly delivered.
Said the Romanian: “It was a good race. I managed to gain three positions and do the fastest lap on old tyres. I’m really happy to leave this weekend back in the lead of the championship. I think if qualifying had gone better we could have fought for more wins.”
Nicolai Kjaergaard made it a clean sweep of Rookie Class wins courtesy of an assured drive to sixth for Fortec Motorsports. The Dane has been a revelation following the summer break and has sent a message that he’s force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the season.
“I’m really happy,” said Kjaergaard. “I tried to get a good start off the line and be consistent and we did that. I gained three positions so it was a good race. I am confident behind the wheel. I have had consistency in my races without many mistakes and that’s how I can keep my positions and also gain some. I hope to carry on this good form at Knockhill.”
Fellow Dane Patrik Matthiesen has also enjoyed the best weekend of his season so far, finally achieving his target of finishing the points in all three races. A top ten finish a just reward for a driver who has been tireless in efforts to improve his performance and work his way up the grid with JTR.
Said 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and JTR team owner Nick Tandy: “It’s the best weekend we’ve had all year so far in the championship and the pace in the race looked good. We didn’t qualify well, but Patrik was able to run with the pack in front which shows good progress.
“It’s nice to be scoring points and getting in the top ten. We don’t want to be hanging out at the back. As long as we see improvement and we are going in the right direction we can be positive. If we keep going in this direction we will be knocking on the door of podiums.”
Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard endured a far from ideal Saturday, but put in a battling drive to climb four places and finish seventh.
Stated Goddard: “It was an interesting race. The start was good. I managed to get past a few people, but I would have liked to have got a few more. Seventh is not too bad points wise, especially after yesterday. That’s a positive, but as a race driver you always want to be higher up.
“It’s a bit annoying qualifying went the way it did because it would have helped being further up the grid. At Knockhill I think we will be on the pace and hopefully we can get some top results like we did at Croft.”
TRS Arden’s rookie double act of Ayrton Simmons and Jack Martin put in strong performances to finish inside the top ten and fulfil the promising pace they had shown in testing on Friday.
Said Simmons: “We finished in the points and it’s been a good result after yesterday. I’m really happy with the team effort in recent weeks. I want to say thanks to Arden for giving me such a great car over the weekend and I’m sure we will be even stronger at Knockhill. If we can get a good qualifying there we can do really well and I’m pretty sure we will arrive with good pace in the car.”
Added Martin: “It’s good to be back on the Rookie podium. It’s nice to end on a high after a frustrating weekend and recover some points in the Rookie class standings. I had really good pace on Friday and I think what the team have done over the summer break has been really good.”
Team-mate Rafael Martins was extremely unlucky to finish just outside the points and will look to feature at the sharp end in two weeks’ time at Knockhill.
The same can be said of JHR’s Billy Monger and Jack Butel who had an entertaining battle for 12th after Monger unfortunately fell back through the order having taken evasive action to avoid a heavy braking Leeds and Pull. His lightning reactions coming in handy, but scant consolation for a driver who has had the pace to be fighting for the podium.
“We’ve been fast enough to be on the podium battle in every race, but things haven’t turned out great for us this weekend. Hopefully we can bounce back and show our true pace.
“My sponsors Metro deconstruction, Reigate Environmental Services, as well as Baylis and Harding and Barnado’s children’s charity which I’m an ambassador for have been brilliant in supporting me.”
Newcomers Marinescu (Richardson Racing) and Mohnhaupt (Falcon Motorsport) finished their weekends with further solid performances in their Ford EcoBoost-powered racers.
Said Marinescu: “Our lap times were even quicker today so that was good. I’m really positive I can do better in the next races. It’s been really fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Added Mohnhaupt: “It was a good race. We have improved a lot. I have learned so much with the help of the Falcon Motorsport team and I think Knockhill will be better. The highlight has been seeing my lap times get better and better.”
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Provisional results Round 18 Snetterton 31 July 2016
8 laps / 23.75 miles
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 15m 14.464s
2 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +0.400s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +1.162s
4 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +1.662s
5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +4.915s
6 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec +11.530s
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +11.990s
8 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +12.203s
9 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden +12.899s
10 Patrik MATTHIESEN / DEN / JTR +14.059s etc.
Fastest lap Petru Florescu / Carlin 1m 52.690s / 94.84 mph
Rookie Class 1 Kjaergaard, 2 Simmons, 3 Martin, 4 Quinn
Provisional Championship standings
1 Florescu 205, 2 Fewtrell 201, 3 DeFrancesco 197, 4 Fielding 194, 5 Pull 186, 6 Leeds 174, 7 Quinn 122, 8 Goddard 120, 9 Caroline 115, 10 Martins 114 etc.
1 Quinn 324, 2 J Martin 255, 3 Kjaergaard 238, 4 Simmons 191, 5 R Martin 130