Fielding out in front after British F4 qualifying

  • JHR’s Sennan Fielding increased his stranglehold on the British F4 Snetterton race weekend with a stunning qualifying performance.
  • Carlin’s DeFrancesco and Pull shine throughout the session to qualify second and third.
  • Caroline strikes back for Fortec Motorsports after difficult Friday, whilst Kjaergaard is quickest rookie.

SNETTERTON 30 JULY, 2016 – Sennan Fielding built upon his fine form in testing around the three mile Snetterton 300 circuit yesterday with a commanding pole position in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA powered by Ford. The JHR Developments driver left it late however, posting a time of 1m 52.396s on his final flying lap to put him over three tenths clear of Carlin’s DeFrancesco in second.

Fielding and DeFrancesco provided an entertaining last gasp battle for pole in the dying seconds of the session. Whilst DeFrancesco recorded the quickest middle sector on his final lap, it was Fielding who had the upper hand in sectors one and three. This proved to be enough to see him claim his second pole of the year with the added bonus of second fastest lap earning him another pole for race three of weekend.

Said a jubilant Fielding: “I was starting to doubt myself in the first half of the season. We didn’t really have any good qualifying sessions, but today is a great result. The team have done a fantastic job so a massive thank you to all of them.

“We only did one test day during the six week break and that was to make sure the car was running well and that the team had bolted it together correctly, but they’ve done a fantastic job. I would just like to say thank you to all of them.”

“We need to continue this form into the races. There is plenty of hard work ahead. We started well yesterday and we just need to keep this momentum going.

“I think the team are proving that they can take it to the likes of Carlin, Arden and Fortec. Those are teams with more resources that race all the way up the single-seater ladder to GP2. So I think for JHR who are only in their second season in single-seaters, to be competing against teams like this is an incredible. I think that shows how British F4 is a great place to be and that you can compete in this series on a limited budget.”

It was a tricky session for the Ford EcoBoost-powered young stars who were confronted with a damp and greasy circuit following a thunderstorm last night. Several drivers were caught out with Goddard, Quinn and Martins all succumbing to the gravel trap at Riches; Quinn and Martins’ respective offs enough to bring out the red flags.

However, it provided Goddard with an opportunity to trundle back to the pits. After a superb effort from his Double R team’s engineers who replaced his damaged front wing in rapid time, the Aussie was able to join the rest of the field for a thrilling final five minute shootout for pole on a drying track. A top ten grid slot was to be Goddard and Double R’s reward for their determination.

Sticking with the theme of bouncing back, Fortec Motorsport’s Jamie Caroline put in an excellent performance after a difficult day of testing yesterday to line up fourth on the grid.

Said Caroline: “I’m a little bit happier today. I lost quite a bit of time on my fastest lap, but fourth is not bad. We have a really good car and I wasn’t on the pace yesterday because of little mistakes I was making because I hadn’t been in the car since Croft. I’ve got back to grips with though. We have shown we have got the pace. I have got to thank my engineer Lego. He’s the man.”

Said Caroline’s engineer who goes by the moniker of “Lego” in the F4 British Championship paddock: “It’s great to see Jamie up there. You spend all day, every day at work smashing it out. You do it to be at the top and here we are. It’s been a long time coming to get Jamie towards the top, but we’ve made it.”

James Pull was particularly pleased with his second row grid slot, finally converting a strong showing on Friday into a qualifying success having been provisional pole sitter early on.

“Nearly on pole. We got a bit unlucky with the red flag I think. We were really fast in the first part of the session. We predicted the dampness of the track quite well and the car felt great. There are a lot of positives to take.

“I got a bit unlucky on my last flying lap as a driver in front of me went off at the last corner which meant I had to go around the outside through the water. I arrived into turn one on cold tyres so my fastest lap wasn’t ideal. P3 is still ok though. We’ve definitely broken the curse of good Fridays and bad Saturdays.”

Championship leader Max Fewtrell will line up sixth in the first of the day’s races after another solid performance behind the wheel of his Carlin prepared racer, with title rival Luis Leeds just one place ahead of him.

Fewtrell will be particularly pleased with his second fastest lap time however, netting him second on the grid for the tomorrow’s live televised race. Team-mate Florescu had a session to forget after only managing the 11th quickest time and will look to put his race craft to good use this afternoon.

Fortec Motorsport’s Nicolai Kjaergaard was another who delivered following his Friday testing form, qualifying eighth and finishing the session as quickest in the Rookie driver.

Newcomers Marinescu (Richardson Racing) and Mohnhaupt (Falcon Motorsport) drove well in the difficult conditions. They will line up 17th and 18th respectively.

Mohnhaupt said of her first F4 British Championship qualifying: “It was tough out there. The track is a tricky one and the drivers in British F4 are so strong, but I’m looking forward to races. It was a little bit wet out there so the key thing was to get temperature in the tyres. We are improving a lot on every single lap, so I think we can do well in the race.”

Round 16 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA –powered by Ford gets underway at 1355 this afternoon followed by round 17 at 1715.

Provisional qualifying times Snetterton 30 July, 2016
Grid order for Round 16
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1m 52.396s
2 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1m 52.743s
3 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1m 52.806s
4 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Fortec 1m 52.851s
5 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1m 52.871s
6 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1m 53.225s
7 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1m 53.310s
8 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec 1m 54.079s
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1m 54.206s
10 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1m 54.308s etc.
Round 18 grid order (based on second fastest times): Fielidng – Fewtrell – DeFrancesco – Leeds – Pull – Monger – Caroline – Florescu – Kjaergaard – Simmons

Full times

 

Fielding off to a flyer at Snetterton in British F4

  • JHR’s Fielding leads the way in super-close testing at Snetterton, with the majority of the field covered by less than a second.

SNETTERTON 29 JULY, 2016 – Sennan Fielding and JHR Developments got their weekend in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford off to a flying start by topping the times in testing. A time of 1m 52.254s from Fielding in the morning session proved to be enough to see him reign supreme at the end of the day’s proceedings by over two tenths of a second.

It represents a welcome return to form for a driver whose quest for the title is in need of a shot in the arm after a frustrating outing at Croft before the summer break. The Chesterfield racer looked at ease around the Snetterton 300 circuit and on the basis of today’s performance is sure to be in the thick of the fight for top honours.

Said Fielding: “The [Ford EcoBoost] engine feels very good and the car felt extremely good which gives me a lot of confidence. I think the pace we have had today being P1 in the first session and P2 in the second session shows how consistent we are which is nice. We are quick on old and new tyres which gives us a lot of confidence for the weekend.”

Fellow championship protagonist TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds also looked very at home around the three mile circuit finishing second in the timesheets. A buoyant Leeds commented: “I haven’t been in the car for a while so it’s good to be back with Arden boys and I think we can have a good weekend.

“I like Snetterton a lot because it’s a long track and it’s really technical so it makes it more about the driver. I think this weekend is a big turning point in the season because it’s the start of the second half.”

Frequent Friday star James Pull stood out once more with the quickest time in the afternoon session ending up third fastest overall. He was just three one thousandths away from Leeds, with Jack Martin proving to be quickest of the Rookie Class drivers a mere 0.025s back.

A cautiously optimistic Pull stated: “The wind was a bit strong so that made it a bit harder to get the confidence through the high speed corners, but the car felt really good. I just need to forget about today now and try to get a good time tomorrow. Whenever we have had a good Friday we have always struggled a little bit on the Saturday. It’s going to be all about getting the optimum qualifying session because half a tenth could be worth one or two places. It’s so close.”

Both Max Fewtrell and Nicolai Kjaergaard celebrated their 17th birthdays this today and both caught the eye; Fewtrell finishing fifth and Kjaergaard narrowly missing out on a top 10 time.

Explained Kjaergaard: “The first session went alright, but on used tyres in the second session we were very close to where we want to be. We were struggling a little bit on new tyres in the second session, so we need to work on that for qualifying tomorrow. To come back strong like this after the break gives me confidence that I can score good points in all three races.”

Carlin’s Petru Florescu and Devlin DeFrancesco wound up sixth and tenth; the former just under three tenths off of Fielding’s pace and clearly in good shape for the rest of the weekend.

Ayrton Simmons and Alex Quinn both found themselves inside the top ten when the chequered flag fell; Quinn showing strong pace behind the wheel of his Racing Steps Foundation backed racer in the afternoon.

“I felt really confident in the car right from the green flag this morning,” said Quinn. “It’s been a really positive start to the second half of the season and I’m looking forward to the rest of this weekend. We had really good pace in the afternoon. Qualifying is going to be really important. I think we have shown we can do well in that tomorrow and that will make the races easier.”

TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins and JHR Developments’ Billy Monger shone on old tyre runs, both running as high as fourth in the latter half of the afternoon session.

Meanwhile Croft race winner Zane Goddard, Fortec Motorsport’s Jamie Caroline and JHR’s Jack Butel had a relatively quiet day on track. However, they are sure to strike back with a vengeance when the action hots up tomorrow.

The majority of drivers posted their quickest time of the day in the morning session with only Patrik Matthiesen (JTR), Frank Bird (Fortec Motorsports) and newcomers Marinescu (Richardson Racing) and Mohnhaupt (Falcon Motrosport) finding time in the afternoon. British F4’s newest recruits improving a by a massive 1.4s and 2s respectively.

Said Matthiesen: “We’re still struggling a little bit with the lap time, but it was definitely better in the afternoon. Top ten this weekend is a realistic target. It would be nice to get some good points. I’m enjoying driving this circuit more and more. We’re working a lot on sector three. That’s the part of the track I need to improve in.”

Added Bird: “Points are definitely the aim this weekend. The summer break came at a bad time for me really because we were just starting to hit form, but hopefully we can carry it on this weekend. Snetterton is a track I like. I was struggling a bit today, but I’m sure I will get on top of it.”

With the top 13 drivers covered by less than a second all eyes are going to be on the F4 British Championship’s bumper Saturday at Snetterton. It kicks off with qualifying at 0900 ahead of rounds 16 and 17 of the championship at 1355 and 1715 respectively. The stage will be then set for a thrilling finale which will be screened live on ITV4 at 1450 on Sunday.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Leading testing times Snetterton 29 July 2016 (am/pm)
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:52.254 / 1:52.777
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:52.477 / 1:53.310
3 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:52.480 / 1:52.592
4 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:52.505 / 1.53.333
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:52.524 / 1:53.323
6 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:52.530 / 1:53.214
7 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:52.531 / 1:53.587
8 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:52.614 / 1:52.841
9 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:52.835 / 1:53.504
10 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:52.895 / 1:53.133 etc.

Full times

DRIVER NEWS: James Pull picks up more points in F4 British Championship title race

Supplied by driver’s PR

21 JUNE, 2016 – James Pull picked up more precious points at Croft to stay in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford title hunt. The 16-year-old raced brilliantly to remain third in the overall standings.

After turning on the pace during testing once again, he staged impressive comebacks to finish fifth, sixth and eighth on a track notoriously difficult to overtake on.

And the ADD Motorsports-supported racer was delighted to have done more than enough to keep him in the battle for the title at the half-way stage of the Championship.

He said: “I’m third at the half way stage and right in the mix for the title.

“We know the pace is there and my decisions and driving have been really good.

“I was hit by another driver in the first race and the car was badly damaged, but I never come in if I can still get the car around the track as anything can happen.  In this instance, I got the car back from 15th to eighth so I’m happy to pick up the points for that.

“I was also happy with my race in the wet. It was very difficult to see anything starting from 11th but I managed my way through the spray up to 6th for a good end to the weekend.”

James took to Croft quickly, finishing with the third fastest lap overall in testing.

But the English driver, born in Singapore, now living in Herts, had an issue in qualifying that saw him finishing in ninth and 11th.

Race one got off to the worst possible start after the teen was hit by another driver at the last corner of lap one, leaving him back in 15th.

However, he fought back brilliantly, expertly overtaking two drivers on the final lap to finish in eighth.

He started in eighth on the reverse grid of race two, again showing some clever overtaking moves to gain three positions and finish fifth by the end.

But it was in the wet of the third race that James put on his best performance.

Starting in 11th, he managed to make up five places through the race to finish in sixth.

It leaves James in third in the standings and just 11 points off second, with a six-week break to the next race – enabling him to finish his exams and recharge his batteries.

He added: “I’m driving well, but know I could still do better.

“We have six weeks off now giving us a chance to work on things and hopefully I’ll come back even stronger.”

DRIVER NEWS: James Pull puts on best performance of the season in F4 British Championship

Supplied by driver’s PR

7 JUNE, 2016 – James Pull put on his best performance of the season to finish second at Oulton Park in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered Ford.

The 16-year-old Carlin racer did everything he could to take the win in the second race, but was unable to find a way through on a notoriously difficult track to overtake.

Although it was enough to propel him into third place in the Championship, the ADD Motorsports-supported driver believes he can get even better with some fine-tuning.

He said: “It feels great to get my first second place this season.

“I tried everything to overtake the winner but I just couldn’t get past him. It’s a really difficult track to overtake on.

“I had a good weekend, but it could have been better. Qualifying is something we’re really working on at the moment and if we can get that right, I’m sure I can close the gap at the top of the Championship.”

James got the weekend off to the best possible start, finishing in P1 and P2 during testing.

But the English driver, born in Singapore, now living in Herts, couldn’t get a clear lap in again during qualifying, ending up in sixth place.

James started the first race in sixth and with no chances to overtake was content to finish in the same position and rack up some more points.

On the reverse grid of race two, however, he put on a brilliant performance for his best finish of the season so far.

Starting in third, he was up-to second by lap four after a mistake by the leader took him out of the race.

Time and time again, James tried to find a way past the new leader, running side by side with him on several occasions down the main straight.

But every time he came close to getting the breakthrough his driving and pace  deserved, the leader’s defence remained resolute, leaving a frustrated James in second by the end.

The third race was similar to the first, although the racer did manage to move up one position from sixth to finish in fifth through a well-timed move.

It leaves James in third place in the Championship – just five points off second place and 27 off first.

He added: “I gave it everything in race two, I couldn’t have done any more. I felt I had the pace on him but he defended well.

“My pace is there and I feel confident, so if I can just get qualifying right everything will hopefully click into place.

“I know the win isn’t far away and I am in a good position in the Championship.”

Martins’ masterclass in defensive driving sees him take maiden British F4 victory

  • Rafael Martins triumphs in 10 car battle for the lead, following immense pressure from James Pull.
  • TRS Arden break Carlin’s run of domination.
  • Heartbreak for Double R’s Zane Goddard who crashes out from the lead.

OULTON PARK 5 JUNE, 2016 – Rafael Martins took his first single-seater win in style at Oulton Park, surviving a race-long attack from Carlin’s James Pull and a host of challengers all vying close behind for the top positions. It was yet another F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford race full of suspense and drama, particularly as race victory for Martins looked far from certain early on.

Poleman Zane Goddard executed a perfect getaway. In clean air he was able to pull away from Rafael Martins and James Pull. The Aussie looked comfortable out front and all set for a well-deserved maiden British F4 victory, clearly having the measure of his pursuers.

However, on lap four it all fell apart. The Double R racer clipped the tyre bundle on the inside of Knickerbook which sent him spearing off through the gravel trap and into the barrier. It was a heart-breaking outcome for the Australian youngster who cut a disconsolate figure at the side of the track; reminiscent of a distraught Mika Hakkinen after spinning out from the lead in the 1999 Italian Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, take nothing away from TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins who put in a top drawer performance. Soaking up pressure from James Pull throughout, as the Carlin driver jinked from left to right lap after lap in a bid to force a mistake. On several occasions both drivers ran side by side down the main straight, but Martins was steadfast in his defence, clearly putting a previous season’s experience in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series to good use to secure victory.

Said a jubilant Martins: “This is my first race win in cars. I have no words to describe my feelings right now. Huge thanks to the team and my sponsors, FISK and Fish. Last year we had a good race here and I knew that this weekend was our weekend.

“We had a lot of problems at the beginning of this year, but this weekend feels like the start of our season. We can move forward in the championship and fight for the title.

“I was quicker than James in the first part of the circuit, but he was quicker than me in the second part so that’s why we were so evenly matched.

“We came here with a difficult setup, so to bounce back like this shows how Arden can find solutions and turn things around.”

Added second place man Pull: “The start was ok. Goddard got away really well and it was a shame what happened to him. I felt I had more pace than Rafa, but it’s pretty much impossible to overtake here. I tried really hard to get past him, but he defended well. This second place is still great for my championship.

“Of course I want to win, but more people remember the F4 British Champion and that’s what I’m aiming to be. Thanks to ADD Motorsports and Pioneered Athlete Performance who have been working with me to get me ready for this weekend which we knew would be so physically demanding.”

Behind the squabbling Martins and Pull, a train of eight cars were in hot pursuit, setting up an incredible 10-way fight for the podium places. It was on the final lap when the Ford EcoBoost formation flying came to an end. Florescu saw his chance to steal third from Max Fewtrell with a late lunge and deftly timed braking manoeuvre. Both drivers ran wide though in a bid to emerge in front, with Alex Quinn scything up the inside to steal the podium spot and his eighth Rookie Class win of the season.

Commented Quinn: “Once again we showed we had the pace to be at the front. I got a better start this time and I didn’t lose any places. It’s so hard to pass on this track. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

“I’ve got even more confidence for the next race with this podium. I braked as late as I could to pull off that last lap move. I think if I had left it any later it might have been a different story, but I judged it perfectly and it was an exciting end to the race.”

Despite recording fastest lap of the race, Sennan Fielding was unable to put his pace to good use. Like so many drivers, he found the Oulton Park circuit notoriously difficult to overtake on.

Finishing in ninth the JHR Developments driver remained positive: “It was just one big train of cars, but it was good to get fastest lap. We knew the weekend was going to be hard from qualifying and we’ve been trying a few different things with the car that haven’t been working. I’m scratching my head a little bit, but I’m looking forward and hopeful that we can get them resolved.”

Fielding finished just behind Luis Leeds who had a much better showing than his 13th place finish yesterday. The Red Bull Junior brilliantly moving up five positions during the race to score valuable points, as he followed home yesterday’s race winner Devlin DeFrancesco and Billy Monger.

Jack Martin rounded out the top 10, capping off a strong race for the TRS Arden team. The Young Racing Driver Academy member was pleased with another Rookie class podium: “It’s good to get these points. It was a tough race, but the pace was good. Arden have done a brilliant job setting up the car so big thanks to them. We’ve got the pace now, so we’ll try to push on in race three.”

Jamie Caroline was an early casualty, trundling back to the pits in his wounded Pirtek Racing Jamun racer with a clutch issue on lap one and will look to strike back in the final race of the weekend which gets underway at 1740.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional results Round 11 Oulton Park 5 June 2016
14 laps / 31.164 miles
1 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 20m 04.690s / 93.12mph
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +0.130s
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +0.765s
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +1.431s
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +1.889s
6 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +2.426s
7 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +2.617s
8 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +3.044s
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +3.166s
10 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden +3.529s

Fastest lap Sennan Fielding 1m 24.664s / 94.65mph Est Rec

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

 

Carlin’s fantastic four dominate British F4 pre-race test

  • Carlin puts in ominous pre-race testing performance at Oulton Park.
  • Romanian Petru Florescu ends the day top of the pile.

OULTON PARK 3 JUNE, 2016 – Carlin got its Oulton Park race weekend off to the perfect start by dominating both practice sessions. All four of their drivers locked out the top spots on the timing sheets. Of the Carlin quartet it was Petru Florescu and James Pull who really stole the show, the former recording the fastest time of the day.

Having spent free practice one experimenting with his setup, it was in the second session where Florescu set out to dial his car in for qualifying. An entertaining skirmish at the top of times ensued between himself and Pull who had been the morning’s standout performer with the quickest time.

At the halfway stage of free practice two it was Pull who led proceedings, but with just over 10 minutes remaining Florescu set about reeling in his team-mate; eventually getting within seven hundredths of Pull. However, Pull responded by increasing his margin at the top with a 1m 22.685s, only for Florescu to flash across the line moments later with a 1m 22.615s lap to put him top of the pile.

Said pacesetter Florescu: “In the morning I tried some different setups. I’m really happy with my pace and to be P1. I really like this track and I’m pleased that I was able to put a lot of fast, consistent laps together. I’ve worked so hard over the last year and the car feels so good out on track. For the rest of the weekend the key will be to concentrate and not make any mistakes.”

Commented Pull: “It’s been a really good day. I love the track. It suits my driving style and Carlin are so dominant here. I didn’t optimise my best run of the day because I did a couple of mistakes on my new tyres so I know there is more in the bag for qualifying. It’s so close at the front and that’s what makes British F4 so exciting.”

Devlin DeFrancesco, rounded out Carlin’s fantastic four at the top, just over a tenth slower than Max Fewtrell. Racing Steps Foundation star Alex Quinn was next up in fifth. The Fortec Motorsports driver not only finding himself in his customary position of quickest rookie, but also quickest of the non-Carlin runners and confident of taking the fight to the reigning champion team.

Meanwhile, TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons was all smiles having posted a top 10 lap time and showing the kind of pace which suggests he could challenge Quinn in the Rookie class this weekend.

“We were quite quick. The car feels really good and I improved throughout the day. We’ll analyse the data tonight to make another step forward,” explained Simmons.“It’s nice that we are battling at the front of the Rookie class, but we are focused on what we are doing and trying to get the best out of the car. The results will come. We’re up against some of the best drivers in the UK so to be high up the order shows that the hard work is paying off.”

Championship leader Sennan Fielding had a solid day in his JHR Developments car; posting the seventh fastest time around the circuit where he recorded his maiden British F4 victory in 2015. He finished just two tenths off of championship rival Luis Leeds.

Aussies Leeds and Goddard were both pleased with their performances as they got to grips with the 2.2 mile Cheshire track for the first time. Said Goddard: “I’ve been really looking forward to this weekend. Today has been all about getting used to a new track, but I’m happy. There are little aspects we need to improve upon, but they will come.”

Pirtek Racing Jamun’s Jamie Caroline wound up closest to the Carlin runners in the morning, only to fall away in FP2. “I’m unable to get the most out of the new tyres at the moment and I don’t know why. On old tyres our pace is really good, but we’re just not finding the lap time gain on new tyres. I think the track will be less rubbered in tomorrow for qualifying so there will be less grip which plays to my strengths and our race pace is absolutely mega.”

With the top 10 drivers from today’s F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford pre-race test covered by less than a second, Carlin are unlikely to have things their own way. All the signs suggest that there will be a fiercely contested Ford EcoBoost-powered battle for both pole and the podium places tomorrow.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Leading testing times Oulton Park 3 June 2016 (FP1/FP2)
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:23.441 / 1:22.615
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:23.259 / 1:22.685
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:23.283 / 1:22.830
4 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:23.445 / 1:22.974
5 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:23.653 / 1:23.049
6 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:24.068 / 1:23.206
7 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:24.077 / 1:23.453
8 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 1:23.509 / 1:23.465
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:23.684 / 1:23.488
10 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:24.165 / 1:23.493 etc.

Full TSL timesheets

DRIVER NEWS: Plenty of points for Pull after strong performance in British F4

Supplied by driver’s PR

10 MAY, 2016 – James Pull was satisfied with his consistency after picking up plenty of points at Thruxton in the F4 British Championship.

The 16-year-old Carlin driver was unlucky to finish just outside the podium in each race of the recently rebranded competition.

But after finishing fourth, sixth and seventh, his haul of points still left him fighting for the title and just 14 points off the leader.

Now the ADD Motorsports-supported racer hopes to add some wins to his performances as the Championship hots up.

He said: “The third race was difficult but fantastic to be involved in. I had used my newer tyres in the previous race so to be running in a tight front five thriller and finishing fourth, with older tyres, was pleasing.

“I was satisfied with my consistency and it’s nice to get a load of points on the board, but now I want to push on for some wins.”

With testing taking place last month, it was straight into qualifying for James – the English driver, born in Singapore, now living in Herts.

Unfortunately, he was unable to get a clear lap in, ending up in sixth place.

James got off to a good start in the first race, moving into fourth from sixth and soon battling to get into third.

But a collision with another driver put him back in sixth and he was unable to get back into a podium-fighting position.

James began the next race in second place on the reverse grid and kept his position going into the second lap. Frustratingly, he was hit and spun by another driver which pushed him down to fifteenth place. With a number of incidents requiring safety cars though, the racer did well to pull himself back to seventh by the end.

James started sixth but finished fourth in what was the most thrilling race of the weekend.

One of five drivers battling for the lead, James playing his part in what was to become a much talked about race.

The points left James in fifth in the standings and just 14 points off the leader.

He added: “Now I just want to keep looking forward, learn from my mistakes, focus on the positives and hopefully the win is just around the corner.”

DRIVER NEWS: James Pull shows his racing skills after two fourth place finishes in Ford British F4

Supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 19 APRIL, 2016 – James Pull was determined to take the positives away after narrowly missing out on a podium at Donington in Ford British F4.

The 16-year-old Carlin driver finished in fourth place twice and was pushing hard for the win in the other race when he suffered technical problem with four laps to go.

After three podiums on the opening weekend at Brands Hatch, he was unlucky not to add to his tally.

The ADD Motorsports-supported racer remained upbeat after some fast lap times in practice and excellent racing across the weekend.

He said: “Everything is so tight that the smallest things can impact your whole weekend. We were unlucky with qualifying, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

“We were the fastest in practice but left it a little too late in qualifying and did not get the pole we were aiming for.

“There wasn’t a lot I could do with my fourth places in the races, I drove well in both, made up places, but couldn’t get into a position to challenge the leaders.

“I was in second with four laps to go when my gears stuck in third, leaving me unable to continue. I was quick and had a good chance for the win so it was frustrating.

“We could be leading the Championship now, but we are still fourth and not far away, so we will have to come back even stronger in the next race.”

James – the English driver, born in Singapore, now living in Herts, again posted the fastest time in practice – after doing the same at Brands Hatch earlier this month.

The team kept to the same strategy in qualifying that worked very successfully at Brands Hatch two weeks before,  but the cold weather and Donington track meant it was difficult to warm the tyres up sufficiently and with the clock running down he struggled to get a good lap time in, qualifying in sixth and ninth place.

A hail storm made conditions difficult and visibility poor in race one. But James got off to a good start and drove well, getting into fourth place where he remained for the rest of the race.  With the leading three drivers consistently fast and not making mistakes, James was unable to push on further for a podium, despite setting the fastest lap of the race.

James started the second race in fourth place and did well to overtake to get into second place during an incident-packed race that saw several collisions.

A perfect restart after a safety car saw him stay in second and in a good position to take on the leader, when his gears stuck in third gear leaving him unable to finish.

He started the final race in seventh and had moved into fifth by the first turn after another confident start.

He got into fourth, but again was unable make up time to the leaders to take a podium.

However, James drops just two places to fourth in the standings thanks to his fourth place finishes and heads to Thruxton just 20 points off the leader.

He added: “I felt I did as well as I could throughout the weekend, so I was happy with my overall performance.

“My driving and restarts were good and I was very pleased with my overtaking.

“It’s a shame I didn’t come away with at least a podium, but we feel that if we continue like this we will still be really strong and up there fighting for the title at the end of the season.”

Pull leads the way in Ford MSA Formula pre-race test at Donington Park

  • James Pull heads incredibly evenly matched Ford EcoBoost-powered field.
  • Alex Quinn and Luis Leeds at the front of the chasing pack.

DONINGTON PARK 14 APRIL, 2016 – Carlin’s James Pull topped the times in Ford British F4’s pre-race test at Donington Park today, just as he did at the Brands Hatch opener a fortnight ago. He headed a super-close field where the top 15 drivers were covered by just a second.

Fresh from a hat-trick of podiums at the season opener, Pull was fifth fastest in the morning and let loose in the afternoon, posting the quickest time of 1:08.195 halfway through the session.

It was a time that left Pull over three tenths clear of the field, but Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn and TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds hit back in the final minutes to see them finish second and third fastest respectively, with Quinn just over a tenth off of Pull.

Said Pull: “I really enjoy driving this circuit and it’s my favourite on the calendar. We hooked up a great lap. There’s still more in the bag, but it felt really good and I’m very happy.

“It’s all about getting in the groove at Donington. Finding a rhythm, staying smooth and not overdriving. The goal is to get the win this weekend. Qualifying will be tense. I just need to stay calm and focus.”

Quinn added: “I think we are quick enough to be fastest. In the second session I was really improving towards the end and the chequered flag came just too soon. I learnt loads at Brands and now it’s time to put it into action.”

Said TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield of Leeds’ performance: “It was disappointing that Luis got held up in traffic at the end of his run, but from the sector times we know that we’ve got the pace in the car. He’s already feeling quite confident which is very impressive given that he’s never driven around this circuit before.”

An entertaining morning session saw the track move from wet to dry and it was Quinn who grabbed the attention by topping the times, but only just. JHR’s Sennan Fielding was less than three thousandths of a second away from the Racing Steps Foundation backed driver.

All drivers improved upon their morning’s best efforts thanks to far better track conditions, but Fielding was the exception to the rule due to technical problems.

TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins found himself third quickest in the morning and ended the day fifth fastest overall. “We were quick this morning”, said Martins. “I think a P2 or P3 grid slot is possible. We’ll obviously aim for pole, but James Pull was very fast today. We’ll look at the data to try to find something extra for qualifying and I’m sure our race pace will be even stronger.”

Harry Hayek was another who seemed to revel in the morning’s variable conditions ending up seventh and just dropping outside of the top ten by the time the chequered flag fell on the test, with his Jamun team-mate Jamie Caroline finishing several places ahead of him.

Said Hayek: “It’s been an up and down day. The first session was wet and then it was drying. We were right up there. In the second session we struggled a bit, but we’ll look at the data and aim to break into the top ten in qualifying.”

Championship leader Petru Florescu had a relatively quiet day in tenth, but after his emphatic performance just two weeks ago, it’s hard to believe that there’s not plenty more pace up the Romanian’s sleeve.

It was a premature end to the day for Patrik Matthiesen who brought out the red flags with 20 minutes remaining after beaching his car in the gravel at Coppice. Nevertheless, the Dane was quick early on suggesting he’s capable of bringing home his first points of the season.

With the field so evenly matched, everyone is eagerly awaiting qualifying at 1100 on Saturday and for the lights go out in the first of the weekend’s three races at 1500.

Leading testing times Donington Park 14 April, 2016 (am/pm)
1 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:09.297 / 1:08.195
2 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:08.966 / 1:08.337
3 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:09.205 / 1:08.407
4 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:09.515 / 1:08.571
5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:09.085 / 1:08.674
6 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:09.813 / 1:08.773
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:09.448 / 1:08.792
8 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:10.537 / 1:08.827
9 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 1:09.982 / 1:08.891
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:09.625 / 1:08.926 etc.

Full times

Carlin 1-2-3 in Ford MSA Formula Brands Hatch qualifying

  • Reigning champion team maintains dominant form from Friday testing.
  • Romanian Petru Florescu puts in best ever qualifying performance to beat team-mate James Pull to pole by 0.016s.

2 April, 2016 – Reigning Ford British F4 champions Carlin got their 2016 off to a flying start with a front three lockout on the grid in this morning’s qualifying at Brands Hatch. Romanian Petru Florescu took pole in a session which evolved rapidly as an array of drivers topped the times throughout.

Florescu put a year of Ford British F4 experience to good use as he stormed his way to his best ever grid slot (his previous qualifying best fourth in the series last year).

Said the pole man: “I struggled for grip on the first few laps, but by the end of the session when it really mattered I was able to go very fast.”

“The key to the session was maintaining concentration and focus to put together the perfect lap. After testing yesterday I knew that if I put my fastest sectors together I would have the pace to fight for pole.

“Now my attention turns to the race where my aim is to get an excellent start and drive a perfect race from the front.”

The leading driver from yesterday’s test, James Pull, another Ford British F4 returnee, just missed out on pole, less than two hundredths off of his team-mate’s time.

Pull was extremely upbeat after the session: “It was so close out there and great to see so much competition. The car was so well balanced. Although I’m not on pole, I’m very happy and I’ve got a great chance to pull off a fantastic result from P2.”

Completing the top three was Max Fewtrell, who like Pull was able to get within a tenth of the pole time: “Around this track you get into a rhythm and if I could have got one more lap in before the chequered flag with the tyres at optimum temperature then I think pole would have been possible.

“Nevertheless, I’m really pleased to be fastest of the newcomers to the series. I can be proud of that and look forward to a strong showing in the race.”

Despite the final classification the session was far from Carlin’s for the taking. Ginetta Junior champion Jamie Caroline was the early pacesetter as his Pirtek Racing Jamun prepared racer blitzed the circuit.

Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard soon got in on the act deposing Caroline with just over half of the session remaining.

However as the session progressed both their challenges faded with the powerhouse teams of Carlin and Arden coming on strong.

Luis Leeds put a rather quiet Friday testing behind him to go fourth fastest and show the kind of pace that has seen many single him out as a driver destined for big things this season. He was the first driver to break into 45s and was the only non-Carlin driver to achieve such a feat.

Meanwhile Arden’s standout performer from yesterday, Rafael Martins, put in another assured performance to line up sixth on the grid.

Alex Quinn took top honours of the Rookie Class drivers with a lap that earned him fifth for Fortec Motorsports.

He was left ruing a last gasp lap with all the makings for pole that ended up thwarted by traffic: “Overall I’m pleased with my first ever qualifying. It could have gone better as I was blocked on my fastest lap, but we know the pace is there and we are determined to show what we are capable of in the race.”

The first race of the Ford British F4 season kicks off at 14:15 and it promises to provide a captivating battle for the first win of the year.

Provisional qualifying times Brands Hatch Indy 2 April 2016
Grid order for Round 1
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 45.834s
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 45.850s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 45.885s
4 Luis LEEDS / AUS / TRS Arden 45.996s
5 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 46.000s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / TRS Arden 46.063s
7 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 46.083s
8 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 46.098s
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 46.141s
10 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 46.201s etc

Round 3 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Florescu – Leeds – Pull – Fewtrell – Martins – Quinn – DeFrancesco – Caroline – Goddard – Fielding etc

Full times