TEAM NEWS: Quinn and Kjaergaard forge ahead with Fortec in British F4 Rookie class

Supplied by team’s PR.

29 AUGUST, 2016 – Alex Quinn cemented his lead in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford Rookie Class competition with a hat trick of class victories at Rockingham Motor Speedway, taking his 2016 tally to 15 wins. Fortec Motorsports team mate Nicolai Kjaergaard stormed to second place in the 2016 Rookie class standings after an impressive event, with Jamie Caroline producing some of the most outstanding overtaking of the weekend.

The Fortec Motorsports squad commenced its British F4 Rockingham attack with Quinn rounding out the top ten in the combined classification for Friday’s practice sessions. Jamie Caroline, in the #38 Fortec Motorsport Mygale-Ford, set the twelfth fastest time, with team-mates rookie Nicolai Kjaergaard and Frank Bird in fourteenth and fifteenth respectively.

Saturday brought changeable conditions and a drying track for qualifying, but the Fortec squad pulled it together once again to make the best of the tyres and track time. Quinn was the fastest rookie and Fortec driver ending the session in P3, however, with second fastest driver Devlin DeFrancesco carried a 10 place grid penalty from the Knockhill event, therefore Quinn was promoted to the front row of the grid for the start of race one (round 22). Kjaergaard was ninth, followed by Bird in P10 and Caroline in a surprisingly disappointing eighteenth.

The afternoon brought a thrilling round 22 for the spectators at Rockingham and as the rain fell Quinn flew off the line ensuring that he was side by side with pole sitter James Pull going into the first corner. Pull emerged from Deene hairpin in the lead, but 15 year-old Quinn continued to match the pace of the Carlin racer up until the half way stage when only then did Pull edge a gap to take the victory in the increasingly slippery conditions. Quinn took the chequered flag not only achieving a further second placed championship podium and fastest Rookie lap, but also his 13th Rookie class win of 2016.

After a below par qualifying, British F4 appointed rainmaster, Jamie Caroline, ended the day as the standout driver by a country mile.  A storming start from the back of the grid saw him fly through the field in the drag around the banking on the run down to Deene hairpin, boldly hanging on around the outside to pass several cars to conclude his opening lap an astonishing ten places higher. The Pirtek Racing star continued to shine when he passed another four cars on his way to fourth position, pulling off the move of the race going cleanly around the outside of Sennan Fielding (JHR) at Tarzan.

Nicolai Kjaergaard came home in eighth place overall, and as the second Rookie, earning him points to boost him in to the runner up position of the 2016 Rookie class cup and awarding him pole position for the start of round 23. Frank Bird drove a solid race to cross the finish line in P14.

With a reverse grid for the start of round 23 it was Kjaergaard who lined up in pole position for #TeamFortec, with Caroline on the third row in P5, Quinn directly behind him in P7 and Bird in P13.

When the lights went out the leading four drivers all dived into the first corner, with Rafael Martins (Arden) and Kjaergaard making contact. Luckily both stayed pointing in the right direction as the Ford EcoBoost stampede sped around the Rockingham Motor Speedway banking. Kjaergaard bravely held on to own to take the chequered flag as third rookie in P11 overall.

Caroline profited from the drama at the start to finding himself soon running up in third, only to lose out on position at a safety car restart after the recovery of Matthiesen’s JTR car at Yentwood corner. He then found himself under attack from team-mate Quinn, but as the race progressed was able to gradually break clear and complete the contest in P4.

In the closing laps Quinn fell into the clutches of James Pull who pulled off a late braking move on the Racing Steps Foundation backed rookie to claim fifth. However, Pull was later excluded from the race for overtaking under safety car boards and flags, leaving Quinn to claim P5 in addition to his 14th Rookie Class win. An electrical issue caused Bird’s premature retirement from the race on lap eight.

The 20 minutes long weekend finale on Sunday saw Quinn complete a hat trick of Rookie class victories by achieving a fifth placed finish overall. Caroline, who started round 24 in P18 after his disappointing qualifying session, took the chequered flag in P14 with his Danish team mate Kjaergaard finishing in P18 whilst achieving a third place trophy in the Rookie class. Bird, who had started the race from the sixth row of the grid in P11 crossed the finish line to conclude the Rockingham weekend in P17.

Dan Mitchell, team manager, Fortec Motorsports British F4 Team:
“The weekend was frustrating. After a disappointing Friday we really left ourselves with a lot of hard work to do over night. The work paid off and we saw a very different Saturday. Qualifying was much better; Frank was P11 in the end but the session saw him fighting for pole at one stage! Nicolai did a great job to find his Snetterton form and be in the top eight. Quinn on the front row was a brilliant job.
“We would have liked better results from Sunday’s races; we didn’t quite race hard enough to enable more podiums, but the boys are still learning. Silverstone is next and after a good couple of tests we are really looking forward to this one.”

Alex Quinn, #7 Fortec Motorsports
“Overall it was a pretty good weekend with constantly good points thanks to my 2nd, 5th and 5th. I know where I need to improve for Silverstone and our pace should be good!”

Jamie Caroline, #38 Fortec Motorsports
“It was a decent weekend made hard by the poor qualifying session we had. I did the best I could given the positions I had to start all the races from and had a great time in race two! It was unfortunate that race three was ruined by my having to avoid an incident, but we’re looking ahead to Silverstone now and what we can do there.”

TEAM NEWS: Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn extends lead in F4 British Championship Rookie Class

16 AUGUST, 2016 – Racing Steps Foundation backed Alex Quinn extended his lead in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford Rookie Class competition with a hat trick of class victories and two overall race wins at Knockhill circuit, Fife. Fortec Motorsports team-mate Nicolai Kjaergaard also secured two rookie class podiums to close the gap to second place in the 2016 class standings during what proved to be a dramatic weekend for the series.

Quinn wasted no time in acclimatising to the 1.27-mile Scottish circuit and shone when conditions were at their best to set the day’s quickest practice time on Friday. Fortec Motorsports drivers Jamie Caroline (supported by Pirtek Racing), Danish rookie Nicolai Kjaergaard and Ginetta Junior’s graduate Frank Bird set the 12th, 14th and 15th fastest combined practice times respectively.

There was a change in pace on Saturday morning when a bold decision taken by the Daventry based squad, led by team manager Dan Mitchell, meant that all four Fortec drivers were able to impress by the end of qualifying. With a dry line beginning to emerge after a sudden downpour at the start of the session, the team elected to fit the quartet with slick tyres with just minutes on the clock remaining. With only Petru Florescu (Carlin) also on the dry weather tyre, the battle for pole rapidly became about who could get their slicks up to temperature before the chequered flag.

Florescu stole pole position in the closing seconds, but overall it was front of grid domination for Fortec Motorsports. Quinn was second quickest and netted pole for the final race of the weekend, Kjaergaard was fourth followed by Bird in a superb P5, his best qualifying finish of the season, and Caroline, who had twice posted times good enough for provisional pole only to have them removed for track limits and a five place grid penalty carried over from Snetterton a fortnight ago, on row four in P8.

Quinn drove an impeccable first race in the afternoon, chasing Florescu from lights to flag to make a welcome return to the podium and clinch the Rookie win along with the fastest class lap. Kjaergaard defended well for much of the race and kept his nose clean when the more experienced title contenders fought their way through the field. Caroline made up several positions in a solid drive to cross the line in fifth with Kjaergaard in P11.

With a reverse grid for the start of Round 20 on Sunday morning Caroline lined up in P2, Quinn in P7, Kjaergaard P11 and Bird in P13. During the 17 lap contest Caroline received a 10 second time penalty for making a false start, but maintained concentration to defend fiercely against Devlin DeFrancesco and Florescu as they set upon his #38 Fortec Motorsport Mygale-Ford. The Carlin pair’s fortunes took a downturn at Taylor’s Hairpin when they made contact together and slid into the tyre barriers. Following the incident, the officials chose to exclude Florescu from the meeting due to a trackside altercation, whilst DeFrancesco and Caroline were handed ten place grid penalties to be taken when possible to do so.

Quinn found himself in the middle of the leading pack action, but despite just missing out on a main podium at the end of the eventful race, claimed his 11th Rookie class win of the year. Bird closed out the top 10 with Kjaergaard following in P11 and taking the third place Rookie trophy.

In true British F4 fashion, the weekend finale was not short of drama either. Quinn made an impressive start from pole position for his Fortec team only to suffer a lack of straight line pace which was to endure until the chequered flag. Despite this handicap, he completed a hat trick of Rookie class victories and fastest laps by achieving a third place podium finish to conclude Sunday afternoon.

Jamie Caroline, who started Round 21 in P12 and DeFrancesco resumed their earlier battle, this time for eighth position. Caroline came up trumps at the chequered flag with his Danish team mate Kjaergaard rounding out the top ten and closing the gap to second place in the Rookie class to just five points with a second place trophy. For the majority of his race Bird was locked in close combat with Ayrton Simmons (TRS Arden) and took the chequered flag in P14.

With the time sheet for round 19 amended by the stewards after Florescu’s exclusion from the meeting, Quinn was awarded the overall race one win, with Caroline promoted to fourth and Kjaergaard earning a point for P10.

Dan Mitchell, team manager, Fortec Motorsports:
“Firstly, I’d like to say a big thanks to all my guys; Saturday morning qualifying was a complete team effort to get all four drivers in to the top six. Alex took advantage of his high qualifying position which eventually saw us pick up our first win since Donington, which is a great feeling.

“Frank, Nic and Jamie struggled for pace in race one, which gradually got better in race three, but we’ve got to work much harder to convert these higher positions in to valuable points. Pole in race three proved difficult to convert as a failing wire loom caused Alex to lose a significant amount of straight line speed, which got progressively worse through out the race. But he drove superbly through the corners to nurse a sick car home into third place.”

Alex Quinn, #7 Fortec Motorsports
“In the last race I lost the lead to Zane on the opening lap and I think that was just down to tyre temperature which we have been struggling with all weekend, but I’m still really happy with this. A win in race one and a podium is not a bad thing to be coming out of the weekend with. I’m really happy with my performance and the team’s performance. It’s definitely been a step higher after the summer break. It’s great to be back at the top here and I’m looking forward to the next round.”

Nicolai Kjaergaard, #63 Fortec Motorsports

“It’s been a tough weekend really. We’ve struggled with the setup of the car and I haven’t managed to adapt to this track as well as I would have hoped. I still managed to keep some of the rookies’ behind me though which has given me good points for the Rookie Championship.”
Rounds 22, 23, 24 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford take place on 27-28, August at the Rockingham Motor Speedway, Northamptonshire.

Florescu leaves it late for British F4 pole at Knockhill

  • Carlin’s Petru Florescu claims thrilling last gasp pole.
  • All four of Fortec Motorsports’ drivers star after team’s inspired decision to switch to slicks.

KNOCKHILL 13 AUGUST, 2016 – Championship leader Petru Florescu was in the right place at the right time at Knockhill thanks to an expertly judged last gasp switch to slicks to claim his sixth pole of the season in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.

With a dry line beginning to emerge after a sudden downpour at the start of qualifying Carlin’s Florescu and Fortec Motorsports’ quartet of runners boldly elected to come into the pits to fit slick tyres with just minutes remaining. The battle for pole rapidly becoming all about who could get their slick tyres up to temperature and cross the line last before the chequered flag fell.

Florescu used every ounce of his experience and guile to time his run to perfection. Having crossed the line with one second to spare, he proceeded to light up the timing screens to steal pole from Fortec’s Alex Quinn with a 51.447s lap.

Said the poleman: “I managed to get two flying laps on the slicks and I almost went off on the second lap because I was pushing so hard. It was a good qualifying and now we’ll see what we can do in the race.

“I made the call to change the tyres. I saw a dry line forming, but I didn’t know how dry it was in the first sector. I thought it was still going to be wet, but I saw it was dry and just pushed.”

The Fortec Motorsports runners were the first to make the inspired switch which paid huge dividends. Racing Steps Foundation-backed star Alex Quinn going second quickest and netting pole for the final race of the weekend courtesy of his second fastest lap time.

Commented Quinn: “I’m so excited. It’s really good to be back at the front after Snetterton and I’m looking forward to the next races. To be on the front row for race one and pole for race three is what we wanted, although it would have been nice to have pole for race one but that’s how it goes sometimes.

“The track was drying and I was always wondering when it would be possible to go to slicks. It was quite difficult on the slicks in the first sector because it was so wet and it was hard to judge how much I could push because the track was drying so quickly. I think we did really well to get on top of that.”

Jamie Caroline looked like a real contender in the dying minutes, twice posting times good enough for provisional pole, only to have them removed for track limits. A clean lap finally arriving on his last attempt, but leaving Caroline ruing a case of what might have been compounded by a five place grid penalty carried over from Snetterton a fortnight ago.

Said Caroline: “It could have been even better. I didn’t have enough time to warm the tyres up properly and I feel that if I hadn’t been so close to Petru on my final lap I would have been able to get a really good time in.

“It was such a fine line between the dry line and the wet line out there. I understeered onto a wet patch on my final lap and thankfully I didn’t spin, but that moment cost me pole. I was loving it out there though on a damp track with slicks.”

Added Fortec Motorsports team manager Dan Mitchell: “We tested here last year in November and Alex had 20 minutes in the sort of conditions we had today so we knew the crossover time. As soon as we hit that time we brought the cars in for slicks.

“The mechanics did an awesome job changing the tyres. To change tyres on all four cars so quickly to get them out there and qualify so well is brilliant.”

Rafael Martins was quickest of the TRS Arden drivers ahead of Fortec’s Nicolai Kjaergaard and Frank Bird; the latter having by far his best qualifying of the season.

Explained Bird: “It feels really good and it’s a great result for the Fortec team. Hopefully we can carry this through into the race.

“I didn’t know how well I was doing out there because the lap times weren’t showing on my dashboard. When I pitted for slicks I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision, but then there was a dry line on the last few laps and it paid off.”

Championship protagonists Leeds, Fielding, Fewtrell and Pull remained on wet tyres and this proved to be their undoing as the track conditions went away from them. They will line up 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th respectively, but are sure to provide an entertaining spectacle as they try to fight through the field.

Fellow title contender Devlin DeFrancesco fared better in qualifying. He will start from the third row of the grid and look to take further points away from his rivals.

Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard’s ended up seventh fastest having been on provisional pole at various stages throughout the session. The slippery 1.27-mile track playing into the hands of Aussie who excelled in similar conditions during testing yesterday. Billy Monger also shone, at times also finding himself in P1. He will line up ninth in this afternoon’s race which gets underway at 1635.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional qualifying times Knockhill 13 August 2016
Grid order for Round 19
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 51.447s
2 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 51.871s
3 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 52.664s
4 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec 52.722s
5 Frank BIRD / GBR / Fortec 53.048s
6 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 53.223s
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 53.561s
8 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Fortec 52.415s (5 Place Grid Penalty)
9 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 53.627s
10 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 56.638s etc.

Round 21 grid order (based on second-fastest times): Quinn – Caroline – Leeds – Goddard – Fielding – Monger – Florescu – Fewtrell – Martins – Pull  etc.

Full times 

 

TEAM NEWS: Hat Trick of Class wins for Nicolai Kjaergaard in British F4 at Snetterton

Supplied by team’s PR.

2 AUGUST, 2016 – Fortec Motorsports Danish driver Nicolai Kjaergaard not only celebrated his 17th birthday, but also a hat trick of trophies from his sensational Scholarship Class wins in each of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford rounds at Snetterton circuit last weekend, where the series returned for the second half of the 2016 season after a six-week summer break.

Kjaergaard immediately displayed his ever improving race craft when the series took to the Norfolk track for the first time on Friday. He narrowly missed out on a top ten position in the second free practice session and continued to show his mettle on a damp and greasy circuit on Saturday morning when he posted the eighth quickest lap time as the fastest rookie and Fortec driver. The Dane kept his head during an incident filed race one in the afternoon to not only set the fastest lap in class, but take the chequered flag in P6 to collect the top Scholarship Class accolade.

Round 17 of the F4 British Championship was actioned pack from lights-out, with plenty of overtaking in a rapidly evolving race. Kjaergaard’s excellent weekend continued with a fourth place finish, his best single-seater performance to date, and another Rookie class win for his Fortec Motorsports team. Starting from P9 on the grid for race three (with positions determined by the second fastest lap times taken from the qualifying session), Kjaergaard once again drove an impeccable race; he made up three positions and achieved his third class-winning trophy to conclude a stand-out weekend for the birthday boy!

Team-mate Alex Quinn was the quickest Fortec driver and top rookie in FP2 on Friday, however, the tricky track conditions the following morning caught out the usually consistent Quinn in qualifying along with a few of his rivals. From the back of the grid for the start of race one Quinn put in a valiant drive to cross the finish line ten places higher in P9. He mustered another assured performance to take the chequered flag in sixth place at the end of race two and came home in P15 from the back of the grid in the weekend finale whilst setting the fastest rookie lap of the race.

It was a weekend that team-mate Jamie Caroline will want to forget, however, with two DNFs in rounds 16 and 18. Nevertheless a strong outing in race two on Saturday afternoon saw him climb through the field from P19 to take the chequered flag in a respectable seventh.

Ginetta Junior’s graduate and single-seater rookie Frank Bird once again produced a solid weekend in the #5 Fortec Motorsports Mygale-Ford. His trio of races produced two thirteenth placed finishes and a P10 in race two, rounding off all four Fortec challengers finishing inside the points to conclude a strong round for the Daventry based team.

Dan Mitchell, team manager, Fortec Motorsports British F4 Team:
“It was a mixed event for the team, but great for Nicolai who drove consistently well all weekend. It was unfortunate for Alex and Jamie, but we’ll keep pushing ahead as we turn our attentions to Knockhill later this month.”

Nicolai Kjaergaard, #63 Fortec Motorsports
“I think going away over the summer has helped me. I have new found confidence in the car to lean on the tyres in the corners and I can just go for it now. I’m really happy; I tried to get a good start off the line for all three races and I gained three positions in the final round, so it was a good race. I have had consistency in my races without many mistakes and I hope to carry on this good form at Knockhill and get an overall podium soon.”

The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford heads to Knockhill circuit, Fife, Scotland for rounds 19, 20 and 21 on 13-14 August 2016.

Fewtrell fires warning shot in Ford MSA Formula test

  • 16 year-old Carlin driver Max Fewtrell quickest at Donington Park circuit.
  • Top 10 drivers covered by less than a second.

16 March, 2016 – The second collective Ford British F4 test of the season at Donington Park was a thrilling tale of two halves. Jamie Caroline lit up the timing screens throughout the morning; whilst Messrs Quinn, Goddard and Fewtrell stole the plaudits in the afternoon. The latter storming his way to the quickest time of the test.

Jamun Racing’s Jamie Caroline was the unquestionable star of the morning session, going fastest with a time of 1:07.866. He was the only driver to break into the 1:07s; clearly putting his previous experience at the circuit from Ginetta Juniors to good use. However, the Pirtek Racing and Keltbray backed driver’s morning time was only good enough for fourth when the chequered flag fell at the end of the day.

Max Fewtrell dominated much of the afternoon session. In the final 10 minutes he used a set of new tyres to stamp his authority all over proceedings with a 1:07.391. A time that was quicker than the 2015 Donington Park MSA Formula pole lap and a clear signal that both he and reigning champions Carlin will be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.

Fewtrell was also one of the test’s biggest improvers following a quiet morning which saw him lie seventh at the lunch break. Yet the driver who progressed the most in terms of sheer lap time was Fortec Motorsports’ Frank Bird who improved upon his best morning time by over a second and a half.

Bird’s teammate Alex Quinn shone throughout. The Racing Steps Foundation driver clearly revelling in the cold conditions at the circuit. The 15 year-old dropped to third with just four minutes remaining as Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard swooped in with a 1:07.719, claiming second just as he did at Brands Hatch several weeks ago.

Although Goddard once again missed out on the bragging rights, his tally of 190 laps for the day was second only to TRS Arden’s Jack Martin on 196. Both drivers demonstrating the sheer reliability of both the 1.6 litre Ford EcoBoost engine and the Mygale chassis.

Ford British F4 heads to Rockingham on Tuesday 22 March for its next collective test.

Testing times Donington Park 16/03/16 (am/pm)

1 Max FEWTRELL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.284 / 1:07.391

2 Zane GODDARD / AUS Double R / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.166 / 1:07.719

3 Alex QUINN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.465 / 1:07.818  

4 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR Jamun / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:07.866 / 1:07.912

5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR JHR / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.171 / 1:07.896

6 James PULL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.033 / 1:07.966

7 Rafael MARTINS / BRA Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.039 / 1:08.048

8 Devlin DeFRANCESCO / CAN Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.806 / 1:08.078

9 Ross MARTIN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.141 / 1:08:303

10 Billy MONGER / GBR JHR / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:08.464 / 1:08.160 etc.

Full TSL timesheets

 

Frank Bird makes switch to Ford-powered MSA Formula

  • Frank Bird signs with Fortec Motorsports to compete in Ford British F4
  • 2016 seen as a learning year for the 16 year-old

19 February, 2016 – Frank Bird is to contest the 2016 Ford British F4 season with Fortec Motorsports. The 16 year-old enters the single-seater fraternity after a 2015 which saw him compete in the Ginetta Junior Championship.

His signing completes Fortec’s 2016 Ford British F4 driver line-up. It includes Formula Kart Stars champion Ross Martin, Dane Nicolai Kjaergaard and Alex Quinn who is backed by the Racing Steps Foundation.

Bird joins Jamie Caroline in making the switch to the Ford EcoBoost-powered series. He has high hopes of emulating the on-track success of his father Paul Bird who had a prolific racing career on both four and two wheels. Nevertheless, he is keen to temper expectations for his first year in the series.

Said Bird: “2016 will be a learning year. I know the season is going to be tough, but I know I will have a great team around me supporting me all the way and I’m looking forward to seeing how I fare against fellow Ginetta Junior graduate Jamie Caroline.

“The Ford British F4 is an ideal series in which to start my single-seater career. It really is exciting times, to be racing with the Fortec team and competing in motorsport where my Dad has such a great background. Plus I’ve got some fantastic sponsors on board for 2016 including Be Wiser Insurance, Mac Tools and Frank Bird Poultry.”

Fortec Motorsports team manager Dan Mitchell echoed the sentiments of Frank, emphasising that 2016 would be very much about development: “Frank has spent a year competing in Ginetta Juniors and hasn’t done any karting so in many respects he’s a proper single-seater rookie. We took him on last summer and he’s been working with us a lot as part of our driver development programme.

“The target for this season is constant improvement and to get him to the front of the Ford British F4 grid within two years. As long as he keeps improving throughout the year we will be happy.  I would like to think that in his second season he’ll be a strong favourite for the title.”