- 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