- Lights to flag victory for Carlin’s Canadian star.
- Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn excels yet again in Rookie class.
OULTON PARK 4 JUNE, 2016 – Devlin DeFrancesco converted pole into his second win of the season in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford, with a flawless performance at Oulton Park for Carlin. He was followed home by team-mate Petru Florescu, Pirtek Racing Jamun’s Jamie Caroline and Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn.
DeFrancesco made a perfect getaway off the line and proceeded to build a slender lead ahead of Florescu who came under immediate siege from Jamie Caroline who had leapt past Quinn at the start. However, Florescu was wise to Caroline’s attack and remained calm as he kept the 2015 Ginetta Junior champion at bay.
Caroline was unrelenting, constantly trying to put pressure on Florescu, achieving fastest race lap in the process. Florescu had the pace to respond and as the two drivers pushed each other they ensured DeFrancesco was unable to drive off into the distance. Yet despite their pace, DeFrancesco always had just enough in hand to remain unperturbed by his challengers.
Said Defrancesco: “I want to say thanks to the team and everybody supporting me. I got a good start which was key. I saw Petru and Jamie were quick because they were catching me towards the end, but I just kept my head down and managed the gap.
“I saved the tyres well for race two. I’ll start P8 so it will be about damage limitation. Race three will be the main focus starting on the front row. We still have a long way to go in this championship. A lot of ground to cover, but things are coming together.”
Florescu was jubilant with yet another podium, but more so because he has regained the championship lead: “The car wasn’t ideal in the first part of the race, but at the end I was able to go really fast. I definitely had more grip towards the end.
“I’m happy with my result because I’m now leading the championship. That was the objective in this race, to come out at the top and I’m very happy that my team-mate Devlin was able to get a win.”
Commented third place man Caroline: “I felt like I was overdriving the car a little bit and that killed the tyres towards the end, but we clearly had the pace with the fastest lap.
“I saw Devlin pull away and I was so keen to chase him down. It was a lot harder to overtake than I thought it would be, but I think we’ll be alright for tomorrow.”
Quinn stayed in touch with leaders throughout on the way to his seventh Rookie class win of the year, backing up the strong pace he had shown in free practice and qualifying. “The race didn’t quite go as I had hoped,” said the Racing Steps Foundation driver.
“I think my lack of experience at this track didn’t help. I got away well enough, I just lost out in the first corner. It was difficult to pass in the dirty air, but our pace was still good and I think we can do really well tomorrow.”
There was drama at the start when Ayrton Simmons stalled his TRS Arden, leaving him helpless as a stampede of Ford EcoBoost-powered racers charged past him. Team-mate Rafael Martins and Double R’s Zane Goddard were promoted to seventh and eighth; whilst Carlin’s Max Fewtrell and James Pull held station for the duration in fifth and sixth respectively.
Goddard was particularly pleased with the result: “At the start it was a close call with Ayrton stalling and then I had a challenge from Billy (Monger). I caught up to Rafa, but it’s so hard to pass at this track and there was no point risking it.
“The team told me via the pit board that eighth would put me on pole and that’s why I played it safe. Hopefully tomorrow we can have a good race with a clean start to get the win. It’s going to be exciting and I’m absolutely buzzing.”
Billy Monger put in another valiant attempt to battle through the field, bouncing back from qualifying which didn’t go to plan after spinning out early on. A hard fought ninth place finish his consolation prize.
Meanwhile JHR Developments team-mate Sennan Fielding struggled to make inroads after a torrid qualifying due to an experimental change in spring setup. Nevertheless, with the championship so close, the point he earns for tenth could make all the difference when the curtain falls on the season.
Fellow championship protagonist Luis Leeds also struggled to turn things around after a difficult qualifying which saw him unable to fight for pole due to damaging a rear suspension link. Leeds had to settle for 13th with the Fortec Motorsports double act of Nicolai Kjaergaard and Frank Bird rounding out the top 15.
Another driver who was also frustrated not to break into the top 10 was Patrik Matthiesen, but he remained positive: “I had a lot of understeer so we need to work on that. I really wanted to be in the top 10 so it’s frustrating to finish 12th. It could definitely have been better, but there’s still more races to come. The team and I have learnt a lot from this race.”
With Zane Goddard and Rafael Martins starting on the front row for round 11, both will revel in the fantastic opportunity to add their name to the Ford F4 British Championship winners’ list. The race gets underway at 1257 and will be broadcast live on ITV4 with round 12 kicking off at 1740.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Provisional results Round 10 Oulton Park 4 June 2016
15 laps / 33.39 miles
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 21m 2.083s / 95.24mph
2 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +1.634s
3 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun +3.112s
4 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +4.163s
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +7.125s
6 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +7.625s
7 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +14.125s
8 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +14.622s
9 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +15.774s
10 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +16.029s etc.
Fastest lap Jamie Caroline 1m 23.293s / 96.20mph Est Rec
Rookie class 1 Quinn, 2 Martin, 3 Kjaergaard, 4 Simmons
Grid for Round 11 Goddard – Martins – Pull – Fewtrell – Quinn – Caroline – Florescu – DeFrancesco – Monger – Fielding
Provisional championship standings
1 Florescu 121, 2 Fewtrell 114, 3 Fielding 110, 4 Leeds 107, 5 Pull 103, =6 DeFrancesco 85, =6 Quinn 85, 8 Caroline 80, 9 Martins 51, 10 Monger 49 etc.
1 Quinn 226, =2 R. Martin 130, =2 J. Martin 130, 4 Kjaergaard 99, 5 Simmons