TEAM NEWS: Fourth British F4 podium of season for Lundqvist at Oulton Park

Supplied by team’s PR.

  • Linus Lundqvist secures fourth podium of 2017 in wet Round 10.
  • Double R ace sets fastest lap by more than half a second in race one.
  • Best of P8 for Karl Massaad and highest finish of P9 for Daniel Cao.
  • Round 11 red flagged and Round 12 postponed due to timetable delays .

22 MAY. 2017 – Front-running F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford racer Linus Lundqvist secured his fourth podium finish of the season at Oulton Park over the weekend, 20th/21st May, to close to within just 5.5 points of the top three in the driver standings for Double R Racing.

During an unconventional couple of days for the category, with one race postponed to a later date as a result of timetable delays and another shortened through a red flag stoppage, Lundqvist raced to a best of third place in round 10 – while also setting fastest lap – and then took fifth in round 11.

Team-mate Karl Massaad finished the opening contest on Saturday in eighth but hopes of similar in race two were dashed after contact to the rear of his car on the opening lap led to retirement a couple of laps later. Double R’s third driver Daniel Cao finished in 12th position during the opener and went on to claim his fourth top 10 points finish of the season in race two with ninth.

“We’re pleased to see Linus back on the podium, taking fastest lap in race one proves the pace we’ve got, and fantastic Daniel was able to break into the points again”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “Obviously, we’re disappointed for Karl with the retirement from race two, especially after a strong start on Saturday, but we’re confident all three guys will be competitive at Croft.”

Qualifying on Saturday morning concluded with Lundqvist setting the fifth fastest time on his final lap of the session, getting within little more than 0.2 seconds of pole position, while Massaad was sixth quickest and Cao ended just outside the top 10 with the 11th best time.

Rain arrived at Oulton Park ahead of race one of the weekend, round 10, and Lundqvist made a truly sensational start to rocket into the top three. While initially taking things somewhat cautiously over the course of the first few laps, the Double R driver began to push more and more during the second half of the contest as his tyres came to him and dramatically reeled in second placed Alex Quinn.

Setting the fastest lap of the race on the final tour, Lundqvist’s time of 1m33.561 seconds was an eye-opening half a second quicker than the best anyone else could manage and he closed to within 1.3 seconds of Quinn at the finish on lap 13.

Massaad unfortunately slipped to eighth on the opening tour and then spent the remainder of the encounter there after a largely uneventful race to secure his fifth points finish of the year. Cao, too, lost ground initially after being edged back to 12th place but he regained his starting position on lap two before dropping back to 12th on lap seven. The Chinese racer then stayed there to the flag.

As a result of timetable delays on Saturday, round 11 of the season – which was scheduled to be the last race of the day – was postponed to Sunday afternoon. Round 12, therefore, was dropped off the timetable and will be contested later in the season at an alternative venue.

Lundqvist started fourth for round 11 and held position through Old Hall, maintaining the place despite significant pressure and impressively coping well with damage to the left-hand endplate on his front wing.

At the end of lap three, though, contact from Jamie Caroline pitched Lundqvist into a near-spin and although recovering he dropped to sixth. Remarkably, despite the wing damage, Lundqvist was able to post the fourth fastest lap and when Caroline crashed-out into the barriers at Old Hall at the start of lap eight the race was red flagged with Lundqvist classified in fifth place.

Massaad got away from the line cleanly at the beginning of the race and all looked good for the Lebanese driver. As the field headed into the hairpin, though, contact from behind resulted in damage to the rear of his car. While getting going again, several seconds down on the rest of the pack, Massaad went on to retire from the race at the end of lap three as a result of the incident.

Through all of the early drama Cao managed to leap into the top 10, actually slicing his way into ninth position. Staying there to lap six, the Chinese racer was edged back to 10th before the red flags were shown and was elevated into ninth again in the final result which was taken back a lap.

Double R Racing’s British F4 drivers will be back in action three weeks from now, over the weekend 10th/11th June, at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.

DRIVER NEWS: Linus Lundqvist takes podium on disrupted weekend at Oulton Park

Supplied by driver’s PR.

21 MAY, 2017 – Linus Lundqvist swept to his fourth British F4 podium of the season at Oulton Park.

Lundqvist took third in the first of three scheduled races at the undulating venue, enjoying a good start to the weekend.

“We had an alright first race; things were going well,” said Lundqvist. “We got a podium out of it and had a car that got quicker and quicker the longer we raced, so it was all quite promising.”

On his way to the podium, Lundqvist also posted the fastest lap of the race by a hefty half-second margin, leaving the young Swede confident of a competitive showing in the up-coming two races.

However, the weekend then took a confusing turn, as a multi-car pile-up in a Porsche Carrera Cup GB race brought about lengthy delays on Saturday afternoon and forced the second F4 race to be moved to Sunday.

While that decision was significant in itself, it also had a knock-on effect, as the tight Sunday time table meant Race 3 had to be lifted off the agenda altogether – organisers eventually opting to provisionally reschedule it for August’s Knockhill round (which will effectively become a four-race meeting).

As Race 2 then actually edged into view on Sunday afternoon, another support-class crash – this time in Clio Cup – then signalled another delay. Once the race did eventually start, it only ran for seven laps before being red-flagged when championship leader Jamie Caroline suffered a heavy accident.

Caroline escaped serious injury, but the race was not restarted and half points were awarded. Lundqvist was classified fifth.

“It’s been a bit of a chaotic weekend,” concluded Lundqvist. “The most important thing in all of this is that Jamie is OK, and as for my own results, I’m reasonably pleased. I’ve made further progress in the championship, and we scored a podium as well as a fastest lap. Hopefully the next event will be less compromised and we can have a good fight for victory in all three races.”

Linus Lundqvist now sits fifth in the standings, just 5.5 points behind third-placed Logan Sargeant.

The next round of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost takes place at Croft on June 10-11.

British F4 history makers head to Oulton Park

18 MAY, 2017 – Having thrilled fans a fortnight ago with some of the most memorable races in the championship’s recent history, featuring frenetic battles for position throughout the field, Formula 1’s stars of tomorrow are back! They are set to provide a spectacle to savour as the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost takes to the track at Cheshire’s picturesque Oulton Park this weekend (20/21 May).

Carlin’s Jamie Caroline is in the ascendancy. At Thruxton the championship leader became the first driver to win all three British F4 races in one meeting, taking his victory tally to seven for the season. Caroline’s success has been all the more remarkable given that he has had to produce performances from the very top-drawer, with some of the world’s most talented junior single-seater racers pushing him to the limit.

TRS Arden’s Oscar Piastri sits second in the standings having visited the podium more than any driver with the exception of Caroline, while team-mate Ayrton Simmons is one of only three drivers to win a race this season. The other having been clinched by Double R’s Linus Lundqvist who broke the lap record at Thruxton. All have consistently shown front-running pace going toe-to-toe with Caroline and they will seek to make inroads on his advantage at the top of the table.

Oliver York (Fortec Motorsports) has emerged as a leading player, heading the Ford F4 Challenge Cup standings and battling for overall race victory after claiming a maiden pole at Thruxton. It came following countless hours of hard work with Richard Dutton’s team and Andy Priaulx Sports Management. With qualifying seemingly mastered, the international kart champion will have turned his attention to race pace ahead of his trip to Cheshire.

Another driver on the up is Logan Sargeant (Carlin). Thruxton was his strongest weekend to date. The highlight being his first podium in the series. The American shone during pre-season, setting the pace in the test at Oulton Park at the beginning of February.

His team-mate Patrik Pasma is a mere two points behind him in the standings with a brace of podiums to his name. Karl Massaad (Double R) starred on the rostrum for the first time at Thruxton, bringing home his biggest haul of points of the campaign so far. Alex Quinn (TRS Arden) joined him with second in the same race and like Massaad the 2016 Rookie Champion is gunning for wins this weekend.

Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) and Harry Webb (Richardson Racing) were inseparable on track last time out, providing an exhilarating battle which saw Daniel Cao (Double R) also get in on the act. Sharp will intend to make home advantage count, with the Rochdale racer just an hour up the road from the circuit. Jacky Liu (GW Motorsport) is looking to record his first point score of the campaign; meanwhile Lucas Alecco Roy (Carlin) aims to return to the top 10 after a fruitless weekend at Thruxton.

There are two official test sessions at Oulton Park scheduled for Friday, with qualifying and two races on Saturday followed by a Sunday afternoon BTCC-supporting finale which will be televised live on ITV4.

Oulton Park timetable
Friday 19 May
1130-1215 & 1540-1625 Testing

Saturday 20 May
0905 Qualifying; 1415 Race 1; 1745 Race 2

Sunday 21 May
1100 Driver Autograph Session and British F4 VR Experience at Ford Race Centre
1405 Race 3 LIVE ON ITV4

On TV – Live on ITV4 & itv.com Sunday 1405.
On Radio – Listen to live circuit commentary on British F4 Radio.
Listen to interviews throughout the weekend here.
Follow live timing and results here.
Event details & tickets here.

Swedish single-seater champion Linus Lundqvist joins 2017 F4 British Championship

  • Linus Lundqvist becomes first Double R Racing signing of 2017.
  • Rapid 17-year-old aiming to mount major British F4 title bid.
  • Formula STCC Nordic and NEZ Champion relishing UK debut.

30 JANUARY, 2017 – Highly rated Swedish single-seater champion Linus Lundqvist will race in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford in 2017, competing for Double R Racing.

17-year-old Lundqvist stormed to glory in the Scandinavian-based Formula STCC Nordic championship in 2016, winning 10 out of 14 races, as well as the North European Zone title.

In 2017 the Stockholm resident will set about his biggest challenge to date, leaving the Swedish arena to go head to head with some of motor racing’s most promising prospects in the UK’s official FIA Formula 4 series.

Lundqvist will take to the grid with Woking-based outfit Double R Racing and is eager to make a name for himself in the UK’s leading single-seater championship.

“It’s great to be able to take this step and to measure myself against the competition in the F4 British Championship,” said Lundqvist.

“This has been my target since winning the Formula STCC Nordic title last autumn, and I’m equally thrilled and grateful that we’ve made this happen along with Double R Racing.

“To be competing in single-seaters in Britain, in the heart of motorsport, is definitely a dream come true for me.”

Lundqvist has already got plenty of Ford EcoBoost-powered miles under his belt having tested the British F4 racer for three days at Silverstone, topping the times on each occasion at the home of the British Grand Prix.

“Testing has been very, very positive,” added Lundqvist. “It was all brand new to me; the car, the track, the tyres and the team, but the guys at Double R Racing have been fantastic and really helped me to acclimatise.

“This will be a big challenge for me, having only raced on the narrow tracks in Scandinavia, but I hope to be fighting for wins before too long.

“I want to establish myself abroad and prove what I can do, and to that end I’m sure British Formula 4 is the right path. I really am extremely excited and I can’t wait for the first race!”

Formed in 2004, Double R Racing currently fields cars in British F4 and F3; winning the F3 drivers’ title with British F4 graduate Matheus Leist in 2016.

The crack Double R Racing team claimed four wins last year in the F4 British Championship with Australian youngster Zane Goddard, who also added four more podium finishes to his tally over the course of the season.

Among those to have raced for the squad are the likes of Bruno Senna, Felipe Nasr and Lundqvist’s countryman Marcus Ericsson of the Sauber F1 team.

“I have to say that I’m genuinely impressed by what I’ve seen of Linus this winter,” said Double R Racing team boss Anthony ”Boyo” Hieatt.

“Testing went incredibly well. He turned up for the first time at Silverstone, a tough track with a lot of fast corners, and he immediately set the pace.

“He comes highly recommended by some people and I firmly believe that we’ll be running right at the front with Linus this year.

“I’d expect us to fight for race wins and the title, and we’re all excited to have Linus on board.”

A packed pre-season testing schedule begins in earnest this week on Friday 3 February at Oulton Park. Drivers will aim to get to grips with their Ford EcoBoost-powered machines ahead of the first meeting of the season which will take place at Double R’s ‘home’ track Brands Hatch, on 1/2 April.

2017 will once again see the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford star alongside the BTCC, as the sole single-seater support series on the live-televised TOCA package.

Images by Mattias Persson / Linus Lundqvist Racing.

DRIVER NEWS: Double podium for Jamie Caroline and Pirtek Racing at Oulton Park

Supplied by driver’s PR

7 JUNE, 2016 – Pirtek Racing’s rising star Jamie Caroline enjoyed his best weekend of the season to date with a double podium finish in the latest rounds of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford at Oulton Park.

The teenager went into the weekend seeking to build on a second podium finish of the campaign last time out at Thruxton, but was well aware of the vastly different challenge provided by the picturesque Cheshire circuit.

A tightly-fought qualifying session saw Jamie pick up the best starting slot of his single-seater career to date, with his Jamun Racing-run car lining up fourth on the grid for the first race of the weekend.

Moving ahead of Alex Quinn at the start, Jamie then became embroiled in a race long battle with Petru Florescu; posting the fastest lap en-route to a third place finish.

Hopes of a similar result would come to an early end in race two when a clutch issue on the opening lap forced Jamie back into the pits to retire, with his team then working to replace the part in time for the final race of the weekend.

Once again starting from fourth on the grid, Jamie launched the distinctively-liveried Pirtek car off the line to take third going into turn one and the reigning Ginetta Junior Championship would prove to be the only man capable of taking the fight to the race-winning Carlin team as he picked up a second podium of the year.

Despite the race two DNF, the 30 points from the meeting marked Jamie’s highest weekend score to date and leaves him eighth in the championship standings.

“It’s good that we were the only driver who was really able to take the challenge to the Carlin men this weekend in both qualifying and the races,” he reflected. “Oulton Park is a circuit where it is was always going to be harder to overtake compared to the first three rounds, but I managed to make up a place in two of the races and it was just unfortunate that we had a mechanical failure in the other.

“To come away from the weekend with two more podiums is pleasing on one hand, but on the other, I hoped to be able to challenge for my first win of the year this weekend and am slightly disappointed that I didn’t manage to achieve it.

“However, it’s good points on the board and I’m looking forward to fighting at the front again when we go to Croft in a few weeks.”

DRIVER NEWS: Max Fewtrell bounces back with a solid performance at Oulton Park

Supplied by driver’s PR

08 JUNE, 2016 – In a weekend dominated by Carlin, Max Fewtrell bounces back from a turbulent Thruxton to claim valuable points in every race.

The speed of the Carlin quad was evident as ever, in the sun-scorched fourth round of the British F4 championship at Oulton Park this weekend. With Max lining up in fifth on the grid alongside team mate James Pull for the first race, the race proved to be a lights-to-flag victory for fellow Carlin racer Devlin DeFrancesco with Petru Florescu tightly behind. Max solidly fended off Pull to ensure that his fifth place kept the championship gap to Florescu minimised.

Starting from fourth on the reverse grid for race two, Max focused on chasing down a substantial haul of points. In a style that has become commonplace for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford, spectators were treated to a close fought 10-way challenge to the flag. The young racers covering every inch of track to battle their way through the sweeping circuit.

Up to 3rd, Max was undeterred by the chaos around him and held his own with Pull challenging Martins for the lead, the pair wrestled on the limit in the closing stages.

With Martins narrowly retaining his place, the battle impeded Max’s race and was soon under pressure from championship rival Florescu and as he took a late lunge to pass Max, the sparring pair went wide which allowed Alex Quinn to opportunely stake the final podium spot.

With two strong points finishes, the talented 16-year-old proved his consistency is key to remaining in the title fight.

Harnessing his potential, Max drove to a flawlessly fought fourth place in the final race of the weekend with Florescu taking a commanding win ahead of DeFrancesco and Jamun’s Jamie Caroline, the Carlin quartet rounded out the top 5. Finishing 20 seconds clear of the rest of the pack, further proving the undeniable pace of the Carlin Ford EcoBoost racer.

Minimising Florescu’s lead to just 22 points in the standings. Max spoke of his consistent performance over the weekend: “An average weekend for me, definitely could have been better, but it was great to earn some good points. I’m going to get my head down, get some hard work done, to come back stronger than ever for Croft.”

Looking ahead to the next round of incredible wheel-to-wheel action in just two weeks time, The talented young Brit looks to further challenge his Carlin team mate and reclaim the championship lead.

The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford heads to Croft Circuit on 18-19th June.

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.”

TEAM NEWS: Maiden British F4 win goes begging for Goddard after unfortunate Oulton excursion

•    Australian misses potential victory after strong drive from pole.
•    Double R racer retains eleventh in points with brace of scores.
•    Woking team aiming to bounce back at Croft a fortnight from now.

6 JUNE, 2016 – Zane Goddard watched hopes of a maiden F4 British Championship certified by FIA -powered by Ford race victory at Oulton Park on Sunday disappear in the dusty Knickerbrook gravel trap, after an unfortunate excursion while leading round 11 of the campaign cost the Double R Racing driver a deserved shot at success.

Beginning the second race of the weekend at the sun-bathed Cheshire venue from pole position, the teenage Australian made a perfect getaway to lead into Old Hall and opened up an advantage of 0.7 seconds on the first lap.

Although his lead was cut to 0.4 seconds on the second tour, the Double R driver hit back the next time around to increase his advantage to 0.8 seconds after setting the fastest lap of the race at that point, a time of 1m25.679 seconds.

Looking comfortable at the front, exasperatingly it all went awry on lap four at the chicane when, after catching the kerbs on the exit, the No.93 car was pitched off the circuit to the left and across the gravel trap into the tyre barriers – ruling a dejected Goddard out on the spot.

With a repaired car for round 12 at the end of the day, the series rookie lined-up in 13th position but moved into the top 12 on lap one when Patrik Matthiesen went off the track at the same corner which had accounted for Goddard in the previous contest.

Climbing into 11th place on lap two at Old Hall, following an excursion for another rival, Goddard repelled pressure from behind over the next few laps and as the race entered its second half the gaps between the train of cars from seventh position back to 14th place really closed up.

With nothing to choose between the very evenly matched octet, the Double R driver still held 11th place and began to turn up the pressure on Ayrton Simmons ahead. On lap 11, Goddard reduced the gap to just 0.4 seconds, although there was no way through, but then, on the 13th and final tour, retirement for Alex Quinn elevated Goddard into the points-paying top 10.

In round 10 on Saturday, 4th June, Double R’s sole representative started the race in ninth position and made a good launch to climb into eighth place. Spending the remainder of the race sandwiched between Rafael Martins and Billy Monger, Goddard searched for a way past Martins but ultimately ended the race 0.5 seconds adrift at the chequered flag.

“Zane was doing everything right in race two – he made the start, held the lead and looked in control at the front”, said Double R Racing team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “It’s so disappointing for him to miss out on a potential win, certainly a probable first podium, but we just need to put that behind us now and focus on Croft in a couple of weeks.

“Testing there last week went well, Zane was quick and we completed a lot of mileage. We know that first podium is a question of when, not if, so the focus is on getting qualifying right and then hopefully the rest will follow.”

Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire will host rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford a fortnight from now on 18th/19th June.

DRIVER NEWS: Challenging weekend for Butel at Oulton Park

Supplied by driver’s PR

5 JUNE, 2016 – Jersey driver Jack Butel was back in action in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford at Oulton Park last weekend (4/5 June). Butel focused upon securing race finishes and experience as he continued his British F4 education. He left the picturesque Oulton Park circuit with three solid results–netting 17th, 13th and 14th after a challenging weekend of racing.

Last time out at Thruxton, Butel showed podium potential as he bagged further points and challenged for victory in the second race of the weekend before a racing incident took Butel out of contention. In the process Jack suffered a hand injury, which the Channel Islander hadn’t been able to shake off heading to Oulton Park.

From the fastest circuit in the country to one of the most picturesque – the FIA certified F4 British Championship powered by Ford, rolled into leafy, rural Oulton Park in Cheshire. The 20-year-old and his JHR team-mates all struggled with set-up difficulties in the short qualifying session on Saturday morning, finishing towards the back of the grid for the three races that weekend.

With the field being so competitive from front to back it was going to be a struggle for the former De La Salle student to make substantial progress. Undeterred, however, the St Saviour resident would give full commitment despite his injury and lack of experience around the Cheshire venue.  In the opening race of the weekend, the undulating layout was tough on Butel in his JHR Developments car. Plugging away he made his way up to 17th at the fall of the flag with the tight chicanes and hairpins offering a real challenge for Jack.

The Championship powered by Ford Eco-Boost would see two races on the Sunday for the turbo-charged missiles and for Jack it was all about regaining the confidence as he looked to make progress in the park. The British F4 series supports the popular Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and following the tin-top races the single-seater exponents were to shine in front of over 40,000 spectators filling the circuit banks with hundreds of thousands watching live coverage on ITV4.

The first race on Sunday would see an improvement in pace from the Yuasa Battery-backed driver. Jack launched his single-seater off the line with great effect as he picked off competitors in the opening handful of laps. An incident in front of Butel held him up, taking him out of the fight for championship points. Avoiding the incident, he regained his rhythm and speed, lap after lap Butel began to rein in the pack. Butel was on the cusp of the points paying positions, finishing 13th as the flag fell.

The grid for the final race was taken on the second best time in qualifying which meant Jack’s weekend progress had to be started all over from the rear of the grid. Wanting to regain his Thruxton form, Jack launched into the final race of the weekend looking for further mileage in his JHR prepared machine. With races so short, Butel had limited time to make a dent into the fast and furious pack.
As he sped around the 2.26 mile ribbon of tarmac, settled on the Cheshire hillside he carved his way towards the top 15. It was a momentous effort despite his injury– setting respectable lap times in the scorching sunshine. As the clock hit zero Butel notched up 14th in the final race of the weekend.

“It wasn’t our best weekend,” explained Butel. “After Thruxton where we had podium pace, coming here [Oulton Park] we thought we could do the same. It was a combination of my injury and set-up problems that left us off the pace and it never clicked all weekend.

“We tested at Croft last week and we are quite happy that we have a good car under us. We are aiming to be back in the top 10 and take some points away from the weekend in two weeks time. I am drawing a line under this weekend and looking forward to racing again. Croft is a great circuit, it suits my style and it’s awesome to drive in a single-seater, so I am going in with our head held high for a good weekend.”
 

The next stop on the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford calendar is Croft Circuit in Yorkshire as the force heads north on 18/19 June. Jack Butel and JHR Developments now look to be back fighting in the top 10 once again.

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