Florescu flies to first Ford MSA Formula victory

  • Carlin stranglehold at opening race weekend of season continues.
  • Petru Florescu leads home team-mates with lights to flag victory.

2 April, 2016 – Petru Florescu converted pole position into an emphatic victory at Brands Hatch in the opening Ford British F4 race of the season for Carlin. He led home a 1-2-3 for the team which included Messrs Max Fewtrell and James Pull.

It was an action-packed start to proceedings with Fewtrell’s electrifying getaway seeing him leap past James Pull and get alongside Florescu as they approached Paddock Hill Bend. However, the kart star found himself pinned on the outside of his team-mate and with tyres not up to optimal temperature thought better of trying to make a move stick.

Ultimately, this proved to be the only real challenge to Florescu’s lead. Having fended off Fewtrell the Romanian proceeded to reel off fastest lap after fastest lap. His quickest, a 46.447s, arrived on lap 11 and was not bettered by anyone in the field.

By lap 17 Petru had built a lead of almost three seconds, but it was wiped out with the emergence of the Saftey Car after Ross Martin ran into the barriers at Druids.

With his lead eroded Florescu once again had to escape team-mates Fewtrell and Pull, but this proved no trouble at all. He expertly judged the restart to complete the final lap of the race unperturbed by his Carlin comrades.

Said Florescu: “I had a bad start but I just managed to keep my position and then I put in a number of fast laps which enabled me to pull away. That was key, as was the safety car restart which I managed to do really well. I’m already looking forward to the next race where I plan to do the best I can to come through the field.”

Fast starter Fewtrell added: “The start was perfect and I very nearly had Petru off the line too. The pace of the car was great throughout the race, even as the tyres degraded. To finish second in my first ever Ford British F4 race is a fantastic result and something which I’m really proud of.”

Whilst Pull commented: “I made a mistake at the start and that’s where I lost out, but I cannot complain with third and I know where I need to improve for the next race. This 1-2-3 is a great result for Carlin and a decent points haul for me to kick-start my title ambitions.”

One of the most entertaining battles during the race took place in the midfield as Double R’s Zane Goddard was attacked by Carlin’s DeFrancesco. It forced the Australian to push hard and in turn he found himself hustling Alex Quinn who had dropped to seventh on the grid from fifth.

Despite losing two places, seventh was still enough to see Alex Quinn take the first Rookie Class victory of the season for Fortec Motorsports and the Racing Steps Foundation.

Jamun Racing’s Jamie Caroline appeared to be on the ragged edge throughout, pushing his Pirtek Racing liveried racer to the absolute limit in spectacular fashion. It resulted in overtake of the race as he scythed his way up the inside of TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins through Graham Hill Bend to take sixth.

Billy Monger also impressed, first dispatching FKS Champion Ross Martin on lap 10 and then pressuring JHR Developments driver Jack Butel into a mistake on lap 12 leaving him in eleventh place and five places higher than his starting position when the chequered flag fell.

Attention now turns the second Ford British F4 race of the season which kicks off at 17:35. With a reverse grid where Double R’s Zane Goddard will start from pole.

Provisional results Round 1 Brands Hatch Indy 2 April 2016
22 laps / 26.57 miles
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 19m 49.681s / 80.41mph
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +0.489s
3 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +0.793s
4 Luis LEEDS / AUS / TRS Arden +1.392s
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +1.846s
6 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun +2.424s
7 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / TRS Arden +2.684s
8 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +3.118s
9 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +3.390s
10 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +4.024s etc
Fastest lap Florescu 46.447s / 93.62mph

Rookie class 1 Quinn, 2 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec; 3 Jack MARTIN / GBR / TRS Arden.

Grid for Round 2
Goddard – Quinn – Martins – Caroline – Fielding – Leeds – Pull – Fewtrell – Florescu – DeFrancesco etc

Provisional championship standings
1 Florescu 25 points; 2 Fewtrell 18; 3 Pull 15; 4 Leeds 12; 5 Fielding 10; 6 Caroline 8; 7 Martins 6; 8 Quinn 4; 9 Goddard 2; 10 DeFrancesco 1.
Rookie class 1 Quinn 25; 2 Kjaergaard 18; 3 Jack Martin 15.

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

Ross Martin overcomes Carlin’s boys in blue in final Ford MSA Formula test

  • Allan McNish mentored Ross Martin steals Carlin’s thunder.
  • All four of Carlin’s drivers maintain ominously fast pace.

24 March, 2016 – Fortec Motorsports’ Ross Martin shone in the final collective pre-season test for the Ford EcoBoost-powered series yesterday; setting the fastest time of the entire two day test at Rockingham.

Despite the continued dominance of Carlin, the day belonged to Formula Kart Stars champion Ross Martin. The young Scot appeared to find his feet around the Rockingham circuit on day two, posting his quickest time of 1:18.218 in the morning and never looking back.

Fortec team manager Dan Mitchell said: “Ross managed to get through his entire test programme in the morning and was extremely happy with the car so elected not to post a time in the afternoon.”

Snapping at the heels of Martin on the timesheets was Carlin’s quartet. The familiar face of Max Fewtrell, undoubtedly one of the stars of testing, once again played a prominent role. The 16 year-old ending the day second, just a tenth and half away from Martin.

Teammates Petru Florescu (fastest in the afternoon session) and Devlin DeFrancesco followed in the times.

TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and JHR Developments’ Sennan Fielding joined the fray, aiming to ensure that the Carlin drivers didn’t have things completely their own way.

Leeds succeeded, posting a time of 1:18.464 in the afternoon which put him fifth overall and ahead of Tuesday’s quickest driver James Pull.

Meanwhile, Fielding was remarkably consistent throughout and found himself lying in eighth when the chequered flag fell.

Young Racing Driver Academy driver Ayrton Simmons also impressed for TRS Arden. He showed significant improvement as the day progressed, bettering his quickest time of the morning by over six tenths of a second in the afternoon.

With collective pre-season testing having concluded, all attention turns to Brands Hatch where the inaugural rounds of the Ford British F4 season will take place on 2/3 April.

Leading testing times Rockingham 23 March, 2016 (am/pm)
1 Ross MARTIN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.218 / No time set
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.377 / 1:18.852
3 Petru FLORESCU / ROM Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.571 / 1:18.405
4 Devlin DeFRANCESCO / CAN Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.547 / 1:18.438
5 Luis LEEDS / AUS Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.890 / 1:18.464
6 James PULL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.471 / 1:18.490
7 Alex QUINN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.823 / 1:18.800
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR JHR / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.810 / 1:18.861
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.448 / 1:18.816
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.865 / 1:19.132 etc.

James Pull leads the way for Carlin in Ford MSA Formula test at Rockingham

  • Carlin’s quartet dominate day one of testing at Rockingham.
  • Max Fewtrell and Alex Quinn maintain strong testing form from Donington Park.

22 March, 2016 – The penultimate day of collective pre-season testing at Rockingham circuit was dominated by Carlin’s super-talented array of drivers, with the experienced James Pull taking top spot on the timesheet.

Pull, who raced for both JTR and Fortec Motorsports in the series last season, has taken little time to settle into his new surroundings at Carlin. He put in an assured performance at the Rockingham, where he already has a wealth of experience behind the wheel of Ford EcoBoost-powered machinery.

The 16 year-old was quickest of Carlin’s driver quartet in the morning session, but it was in the afternoon where he really came into his own, posting a time of 1:18.249 that would not be beaten.

The fastest man from last week’s test at Donington Park was once again a key player in proceedings. Max Fewtrell ended the day in second, less than half a tenth off of the time set by his teammate.

Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn and TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins were the only drivers to break the Carlin stranglehold at the top; the former finishing third and the latter fifth.

When the chequered flag finally fell Martins found himself sandwiched between Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco, as well as the recently re-signed Petru Florescu.

Florescu provided additional excitement in the morning when carrying a little too much speed that sent him through the gravel and into a barrier at Pif-Paf, ultimately damaging the front of his car.

The day’s biggest improver was Richardson Racing’s Ben Sturge, improving upon his morning time by over a second in the afternoon. This proved to be enough to see him break into the top ten by close of play.

Testing resumes at Rockingham tomorrow with the 2016 Ford British F4 season launch also taking place. Today’s drivers will be joined by the likes of TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and JHR Developments’ Sennan Fielding who will no doubt be eager to knock the Carlin drivers off their perch.

Testing times Rockingham 22 March, 2016 (am/pm)
1 James PULL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.699 / 1:18.249
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.191 / 1:18.283
3 Alex QUINN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost/ 1:18.436 / 1:18.736
4 Devlin DeFRANCESCO CAN / Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.123 / 1:18.518
5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.992 / 1:18.706
6 Petru FLORESCU / ROM Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.209 / 1:18.731
7 Ross MARTIN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.306 / 1:18.838
8 Zane GODDARD / AUS Double R / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.196 / 1:19.201
9 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:20.432 / 1:19.323
10 Ben STURGE / GBR Richardson Racing / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:22.902 / 1:21.656 etc.

Florescu continues with Carlin for 2016 Ford MSA Formula season

  • Florescu completes super-talented driver line-up for reigning champions Carlin.
  • 17 year-old aiming to take advantage of his wealth of experience in quest for title.

19 March, 2016 – Petru Florescu will remain with Carlin for his second season in Ford British F4. The Romanian was a regular top ten finisher in the Ford EcoBoost powered series in 2015 and has undertaken an extensive testing programme during the winter. Florescu is the final driver to be confirmed in Carlin’s four car squad alongside Max Fewtrell, James Pull and Devlin DeFrancesco.

Said Florescu: “I am very happy to be able to stay with Carlin for a second season. I learned a lot last year and I am eager to fight for the top spots in the series this year.”

Trevor Carlin added: “I’m pleased to have Petru with us for another season in Ford British F4. He is a great driver to work with and has developed extremely well within the team.

“Petru always works hard with the engineers and I have no doubt that this season he will be fighting at the front. We’ve seen the determination he has since he joined the Carlin Academy two years ago. We’re looking forward to starting the season with our strong four car line-up.”

Florescu will commence his Ford British F4 title assault at Brands Hatch on 2/3 April.