Petru powers to fifth British F4 victory of the season

  • Florescu leads home Carlin 1-2-3 and regains championship lead.
  • Kjaergaard’s excellent weekend continues with a fourth place finish and another Rookie class win for Fortec Motorsports.

SNETTERTON 30 JULY, 2016 – Round 17 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford at Snetterton was thrilling with action throughout the field. Whilst there was no shortage of overtaking in a rapidly evolving race, one thing remained constant; Petru Florescu powering away out front to claim his fifth win of the season and retake the lead in the standings.

An excellent start from the Romanian saw him run alongside pole sitter Rafael Martins into turn one, with Florescu boldly hanging on around the outside to take the lead. As has been the case on many occasions this year, once Florescu was out in front nobody could catch him.

Said Petru: “It was a really good comeback after the bad qualifying this morning. I feel really good about being back in the lead of the championship, but I need a good race tomorrow to stay in front.

“I didn’t really know how fast I could go around this track because in qualifying I missed my chance to push and this afternoon my fastest lap was quicker than the pole time. I’m also really happy for my team-mates with them being on the podium.

Florescu led home a Carlin 1-2-3 with James Pull and Devlin DeFrancesco completing the rest of the podium. However, the result was by no means a certainty for Carlin, their drivers taking full advantage as the drama unfolded during the race.

Commented second place man Pull: “Just one more step to go for the race win. The Arden situation at Riches helped me out a little bit, but I took the opportunity when it came. The same with passing Kjaergaard.

Up until then it was all about trying to hold off Sennan [Fielding] who was really fast, especially in sector one and sector three. I just had to hold him off, but I managed to do that.”

Added DeFrancesco: “it was a great race. Our pace has improved. It’s a step in the right direction. There are a few more things we need to work on, but we are going the right way as a team both on the driving and technical side of things. We can find more for sure. I cannot thank the team enough.

“Towards the middle of the race we were lacking a bit of pace to Sennan, but I saw my opportunity and went for it. It was the same with Kjaergaard. I got in his tow and managed to pull past him before turn one.”

Explained Carlin team manager Martin Knapman: “We thought we were struggling a little bit this morning. This result has been given to us a little by other people going off, but we just try hard and stick hard at it.

“It’s teamwork which makes the dream work. We all pull in the same direction and work hard to get the results.”

Further down the order Jamie Caroline made amends for a disastrous start in the first race of the weekend by climbing from last on the grid to 13th on the opening lap, later working his way up seventh in sublime fashion.

Another driver with a point to prove was Carlin’s Max Fewtrell. The title protagonist was his usual calm and composed self as he gradually picked his way through the field and into the points. Most notably gaining two places in quick succession on lap three, scything past Jack Butel and Frank Bird.

A couple of laps later the safety car ventured out on track to allow Jack Martin’s TRS Arden to be recovered at Agostini after it had suffered technical difficulties.

The restart was heart stopping as an unfortunate coming together between Martins and Leeds in the battle for second place scuppered their chances of the podium.

It meant Kjaergaard found himself running in second, but Pull and DeFrancesco were swift in their attack, the latter squeezing past Fielding at the restart after Fielding had got the upper hand on the opening lap.

Take nothing away from Kjaergaard though; his fourth place rounding off the best day in the Dane’s single-seater career to date as he brought home victory in the Rookie Class once more and a tidy sum of points for his Fortec Motorsports team.

Commented Kjaergaard: “The race was going well up until the safety car. My pace was getting better and better. The guys behind me pushed so hard when I was in second and I made a couple of mistakes.

“I’m proud of how I raced before the safety car. My plan was to hold my own and drive my own race and score more points for the championship. I hope to keep this level of performance up and get an overall podium soon.”

Kjaergaard’s team-mate Quinn put in another assured performance, climbing several places to come home sixth; whilst Frank Bird capped off a strong race for Fortec with all its cars finishing inside the points.

JTR’s Patrik Matthiesen was another who crossed the line pleased with his work; taking a well deserved points score in eighth having showcased some great defensive skills when in front of Fewtrell.

JHR’s Billy Monger was unlucky to finish just outside the points having started 17th. Meanwhile Richardson Racing’s Alexandra Marinescu appeared to have made a step forward following her first race of the season earlier in the day, working her way up to 12th, keeping cool amid all the drama.

Said Marinescu: “I’m really happy. I wasn’t expecting to finish 12th in my second race. I was a little bit lucky with other people going off, but I also did my best lap times in the last few laps so I’m really happy that we are improving.

“Top ten would be unbelievably great [in tomorrow’s race], but I’m trying to stay realistic. It’s really fun to be behind the wheel of the British F4 car and working with Richardson Racing.”

The finale to the F4 British Championship weekend commences at 1450 on Sunday. It will be televised live on ITV4 with Sennan Fielding starting from pole once again.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional results Round 17 Snetterton 30 July 2016
10 laps / 29.68 miles
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 20m 29.799s
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +2.741s
3 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +4.484s
4 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec +6.454s
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +6.578s
6 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +6.647s
7 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Fortec +8.372s
8 Patrik MATTHIESEN / DEN / JTR +9.010s
9 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +9.209s
10 Frank BIRD / GBR / Fortec +9.782s etc.

Fastest lap Petru Florescu / Carlin 1m 52.156s / 95.29 mph

Rookie Class 1 Kjaergaard, 2 Quinn, 3 Simmons

Provisional championship standings 1 Florescu 195; =2 Fewtrell 186; =2 Pull 186, 4 DeFrancesco 179; 5 Fielding 169; 6 Leeds 162; 7 Quinn 122; 8 Caroline 115; =9 Goddard 114; =9 Martins 114 etc.

Rookie Class 1 Quinn 312; 2 J Martin 240; 3 Kjaergaard 213; 4 Simmons 173; 5 R Martin 130

Full results

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

 

Florescu reigns supreme on second day of British F4 test at Croft

  • Petru Florescu keeps Carlin out front at Croft.
  • Zane Goddard puts in emphatic testing performance.

CROFT 1 JUNE, 2016 – The phenomenal pace exhibited yesterday throughout the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford field showed no signs of letting up today; with a number of drivers consistently lapping quicker than last year’s pole time. Nonetheless, the plaudits go to Carlin’s Petru Florescu whose time of 1m 20.591s was not only the quickest of the day, but of the entire test.

It was another fantastic display from Florescu, who currently has the most victories and pole positions to his name in 2016 and will undoubtedly look to build on a fantastic two days of testing when racing resumes at Oulton Park.

The man who grabbed yesterday’s headlines, Devlin DeFrancesco, was hot on the Romanian’s heels with a time of 1m 20.616s. It put him second fastest overall, capping off an incredibly positive 48 hours for British F4’s most recent race winner.

Both Florescu and DeFrancesco’s quickest times arrived with just under two hours of the afternoon session remaining, deposing long-time leader Zane Goddard. Max Fewtrell and Luis Leeds soon got in on the act, posting times which would see them end the day fourth and fifth respectively.

Despite dropping down the order in the afternoon, Goddard is likely to leave North Yorkshire with a smile on his face. After a strong showing yesterday the Double R racer upped his game even further, recording the fastest time of the morning and third fastest of the test.

Rookie Ayrton Simmons’ rapid rate of development shows no sign of letting up. His time of 1m 20.985s just under half a second quicker than his best on Tuesday, leaving him as fastest Rookie in the morning.

James Pull also improved by almost half a second. However, the biggest improver over the entire two day test was Fortec Motorsports’ Frank Bird, who found a staggering eight tenths.

TRS Arden’s Jack Martin built upon an eye-catching performance yesterday with a 1m 20.910s to go sixth fastest overall and claim the title of quickest Rookie.

Jamie Caroline made an appearance for Pirtek Racing Jamun, having not attended yesterday and was quickly up to speed in the morning; ultimately winding up tenth on the timesheet. A respectable result given he was up against opposition who already had a day’s running under their belts.

Attention now turns to rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford, which will take place at Oulton Park this weekend. The drivers will hit the track for pre-race testing on Friday 3 June, all eager to perfect their setup around the Cheshire circuit.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Leading testing times Croft 1 June 2016 (am/pm)
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:20.865 / 1:20.591
2 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:20.917 / 1:20.617
3 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:20.713 / 1:21.063
4 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.093 / 1:20.842
5 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:20.997 / 1:20.906
6 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.234 / 1:20.910
7 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:21.061 / 1:20.985
8 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:21.522 / 1:21.015
9 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.689 / 1:21.074
10 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 1:21.406 / 1:21.224 etc.

Full TSL timesheets

Carlin completes its MSA Formula line-up

 

  • Romanian karter Petru Florescu named as squad’s third man for new championship
  • Joins Lando Norris and Colton Herta on driving strength

5 January, 2015 – Petru Florescu is today named as the Carlin team’s third driver for MSA Formula, Britain’s accredited FIA Formula 4 championship. Romanian Petru, 16, graduates from the Carlin Academy, the team’s junior programme, to join Briton Lando Norris and American Colton Herta in the Carlin squad for the championship’s inaugural season.

Forced to sit out the 2014 season after a karting crash in which he broke both his legs, Petru now feels ready to make his car-racing debut: “I am very happy to be able to race with Carlin in 2015. I feel at home in the team and the Carlin Academy helped me immensely. The comeback from my accident has been a difficult struggle, but I’ve worked hard and feel more prepared than ever. I am very much looking forward to the challenge.”

Florescu completed a bespoke programme with the team, making good use of its simulator and school cars as well as a physical rehabilitation programme with Carlin sports science partner Pro Performance. “The progress that Petru has shown since he first started testing with us in the Academy is quite staggering,” said Trevor Carlin. “From being unable to get himself in the car for a seat fit, he’s now applying the same brake pressure as his peers and demonstrating a competitive pace in testing. He has shown utter determination and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to help him through his period of recovery and back into a race seat again. I’ve no doubt that he will be a great asset to the team and will progress further as the 2015 season unfolds.”

Petru starting karting in 2009, and was the 2011 Rotax Mini Max Grand Festival winner. He raced with top Italian squad Tony Kart in the FIA World Junior Karting Championship in 2013.

Carlin is one of the largest teams outside Formula 1, with race-winning experience in a variety of championships including Formula 3, Porsche Supercup, World Series by Nissan, Formula Renault 3.5, A1GP, GP3 and GP2.

All 32 cars for the new championship have found buyers in the 12 teams which will contest MSA Formula – Powered by Ford EcoBoost, certified by FIA. Carlin’s rivals for the inaugural crown will be Arden Motorsport, Double R Racing, Falcon Motorsport, Fortec Motorsport, JHR Developments, JTR, MBM Motorsport, Richardson Racing, Scorpio Motorsport, SWB Motorsport and Team Pyro.

The opening rounds of the BTCC-supporting championship will take place in front of ITV4’s live cameras at Brands Hatch at the beginning of April.