Lundqvist bounces back to take British F4 pole

  • Lundqvist claims double Ford EcoBoost-powered pole.
  • Closely fought qualifying session sees top five drivers covered by less than two tenths.

15 APRIL, 2017 – Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist bounced back in the best way possible from a debut weekend to forget, to take pole position at Donington Park for the fourth round of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.

A chilly Leicestershire circuit playing host to a thrilling qualifying session with lap times falling rapidly in the closing stages as drivers got their tyres up to optimum temperature.

With under 10 minutes remaining, Lundqvist and the Carlin pairing of Jamie Caroline and Logan Sargeant were the first men to break the 1m 9s barrier. While Sargeant could only improve by a further tenth of a second, Messrs Lundqvist and Caroline continued to better their lap times as the clock ticked down.

Double R’s Karl Massaad and TRS Arden’s Oscar Pisatri then joined the party in the 1m 8s with five minutes to go. Lundqvist was flying though and posted a lap time of 1m 8.195s which would prove good enough for pole, a mere 0.075s clear of Jamie Caroline, with Piastri’s best just 0.007s further adrift. Lundqvist’s second-fastest lap of 1m 8.336s ensured a double pole for the weekend.

“It feels so good to bounce back from such a difficult weekend at Brands,” said Lundqvist. “The yellow flags towards the end stopped us from posting the absolute quickest times when the tyre temperatures were at their optimum. I think without the yellow flags it might have been a different result.”

“The tyre wear is so low at this track. It means you can basically run the whole session without overheating them. So the first part of the session was all about bringing them in as best as possible.

“You need to do your warm up laps and then once you have done them you have to be able to nail your flying lap and that was key for me to get pole before the yellow flags.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do from race one. Hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans.”

Oscar Piastri looked capable of snatching pole with just over a minute remaining. A personal best first sector and quickest second sector of anybody the hallmarks of an absolute flyer. Yet Piastri came to grief at the final corner, pushing fractionally too hard and taking a trip to the tyre barrier.

“The lap I was on before I went off felt really good, but to go green [in the first sector], purple [in the second] and then wall was a bit upsetting,” said Piastri. “We’re still at the sharp end of the grid though so that’s the important thing.

“We used a different strategy to a lot of the others when it came to the tyres. I did a lap and then came into the pits, fitted two new tyres and then went back out again. It meant that my tyres switched on when the track was it its best. It was just unfortunate that it didn’t quite end how I would have hoped.”

With yellow flags waving Piastri’s off effectively brought an end to the session, leaving drivers unable to improve in the final sector.

Championship leader Jamie Caroline profited most as the last man across the line and setting a time good enough to jump ahead of Piastri to second. It ensured front row grid slots for not only round four, but also the final race of the weekend from which he will start from second on the grid courtesy of his second-fastest lap time.

“I had a very messy session,” explained Caroline. “I kept on getting caught up in traffic. I got traffic on one of my quickest laps. I messed up at Old Hairpin on another of my best laps, but to be on the front row again is great.

“Linus is very fast and he was unlucky at Brands so I’m not surprised to see him on pole, especially after pre-season testing. It should be a good fight between him and I. We’re both aggressive drivers and it will be good fun for the spectators to watch.”

Behind Piastri on the timesheets could be found team-mate Alex Quinn in fourth, Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver York in fifth as the top qualifying Ford F4 Challenge Cup entrant, and Ayrton Simmons in sixth.

Karl Massaad and Yves Baltas jostled at the top of the times for provisional pole for much of the opening stages. Both drivers improving on their qualifying performance a fortnight ago at Brands Hatch, qualifying seventh and eighth respectively, ahead of Ford F4 Challenge Cup runners Billy Monger (JHR Developments) and Harry Webb (Richardson Racing).

Following the qualifying session a number of drivers were found to have gained an advantage by recording fastest laps under yellow flags resulting in a raft of changes to the the grid for rounds four and six.

Lights go out for the first Ford EcoBoost-powered race of the weekend at 1440, followed by round five of the F4 British Championship at 1735.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Provisional qualifying times Donington Park 15 April 2017 (am/pm)
Amended Round 4 grid order
1 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 1:08.195
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 1:08.278
3 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 1:08.321
4 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 1:08.354
5 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 1:08.3777
6 Karl MASSAAD / LEB / Double R 1:08.448
7 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1:08.707
8 Harry WEBB / GBR / Richardson 1:08.756
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:08.777
10 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 1:08.792 etc.

Amended Round 6 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Lundqvist – Caroline – Quinn – Massaas – Piastri – Simmons – Monger – Sargeant – York – Pasma etc.

Full times

Goddard doubles up in F4 British Championship qualifying at Croft

  • Zane Goddard puts in flawless qualifying performance to take pole for Double R Racing.
  • Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco within touching distance of pole and Goddard’s closest challenger.

CROFT 18 JUNE, 2016 – Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard is a step closer to claiming the first F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford win of his career, having claimed pole position for rounds 13 and 15 at Croft this weekend.

The Australian appears at one with the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit following standout performances in testing at the track. He was calm and collected in qualifying. While others squabbled for provisional pole, Goddard bided his time in the session.

With five minutes remaining he unleashed his phenomenal Ford EcoBoost-powered pace to post a time of 1m 20.749s. A lap of 1m 20.708s followed, and with both times clear of the field pole was sewn up for Goddard, rounding off a flawless qualifying performance.

Said a grinning Goddard: “This feels awesome. Really happy with that. It felt like I wasn’t going to get the lap in because there was a lot of traffic, but fortunately I didn’t get baulked.

“On my first lap when I should have set my best time, I was still trying to find the best track position so I didn’t get the optimum out of the tyres, but I think the car was very consistent. I was really happy with the setup.

“I didn’t put the full lap together so there is still more to come. I can’t complain though. I’m on pole and that’s what we wanted. We will see what we can do in the race. We know we are quick on used tyres.

“We haven’t had any problems really this weekend so fingers crossed that’s the way it stays. I’m really enjoying it and I’m having a really fun weekend. The team have done a fantastic job as well.”

Goddard’s main rival, as was the case in testing yesterday, was Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco. A 1m 20.833s putting him just over a tenth away from pole, but ensuring a front row grid slot and an opportunity to try to turn the tables on Goddard in the race.

Added DeFrancesco: “P2 and a good job from everybody in the team. It’s always nice to be beating my team-mates and carry my form Thruxton to Oulton, and almost all of it here too.”

“We knew Zane was going to be a big threat in qualifying and he hooked up a better lap than me. That’s the way it goes sometimes. There’s still plenty of racing to do and we will see what happens. We will be going for the win.

“If you look at most tyres, they are quite grained and that’s because of how abrasive the track surface is here. How they drop-off is going to be a key factor this weekend.”

Carlin team-mate Max Fewtrell has shone this weekend, despite missing out on one of yesterday’s test sessions. Third on the grid a just reward for a driver looking to retake the lead in the championship after a difficult couple of rounds.

Commented Fewtrell: “P3 is a good starting position for here. I think it’s going to be tricky to overtake. The first flying lap was the best lap with the tyres having most grip and I wasn’t quite able to maximise it, but I’m happy with P3. Oulton was the best weekend for me, but I’ve been working hard since then and I want to be back on the top step as soon as possible.”

Racing Steps Foundation backed driver Alex Quinn was quickest of the Rookie class qualifiers in P4, as well as the Fortec Motorsports runners; backing up the confidence he had in the car following pre-race testing. His performance was the only real positive for a Fortec team which saw its other drivers, Jamie Caroline, Nicolai Kjaergaard and Frank Bird only manage 13th, 14th and 16th respectively.

TRS Arden had a much happier time out on track; Luis Leeds, Jack Martin and Rafael Martins all well inside the top ten and showing they have the pace to fight for big points scores this weekend.

Championship leader Petru Florescu’s quiet weekend continues with the eighth quickest time. A surprise for many given his front-running form of late.

Fellow title protagonist JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding did well to break into the top ten. Early in the session he was as high as provisional pole, the multiple British F4 race winner extracting the most out of a car which has been hindered by technical problems this weekend.

The lights will go out on this afternoon’s race at 1525 when Zane Goddard will be looking to complete his redemption having come so close to victory two weeks ago. The Australian has been on another level so far this weekend and it will be fascinating to see if he can finish the job. He’s got his work cut out however, as Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco and Max Fewtrell are major contenders for Ford EcoBoost-powered victory.

Provisional qualifying times Croft 18 June 2016
Grid order for round 13
1 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:20.708
2 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:20.833
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.056
4 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:21.066
5 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:21.103
6 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.131
7 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:21.254
8 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:21.280
9 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.383
10 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:21.384 etc.

Round 15 grid order (based on second fastest times) Goddard – DeFrancesco – Fewtrell – Quinn – Martins – Martin – Leeds – Fielding – Florescu – Simmons

Full times

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

 

Petru powers to British F4 pole with Ford EcoBoost at Thruxton

  • Florescu leads Carlin top three in qualifying.
  • The Romanian driver doubles-up with pole for round nine courtesy of his second fastest time.

THRUXTON 7 MAY, 2016 – Petru Florescu hit back with a blazing pole lap at Thruxton following a frustrating outing at Donington Park several weeks ago. Carlin team-mates Devlin DeFrancesco and Max Fewtrell will line up second and third, whilst JHR’s Sennan Fielding was the leading non-Carlin charge in fourth.

Championship leader Fewtrell was first of the Carlin cohort to stake his claim for pole with a 1m 13.781s to put him less than five one hundredths ahead of Florescu.

However, the Romanian responded with just over half the session remaining with a 1m 13.609s that would see him take the second Ford EcoBoost-powered pole of his career.

At the same time Sennan Fielding finally ventured onto the circuit for his qualifying assault. The JHR Developments driver was in fine form yet again and posted the fourth fastest time.

Commented Fielding: “I’m going to try my best to take the fight to Carlin. We only used one set of tyres and waited in the pits for quite a while. Around here it’s not necessarily about being on the front row. With the slipstream down the back straight anything is possible.”

DeFrancesco and Billy Monger were be particularly pleased with their efforts as both were able to maintain the strong pace they showed in testing at the 2.3 mile Hampshire circuit a month ago.

Said front row qualifier DeFrancesco: “This is a great way to show our speed and bounce back from Brands Hatch and Donington. A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes. I really cannot thank my family, my sponsors and the team enough. There’s a few bits and pieces to work on before the race, but we’re in a very strong position.”

Added fifth place man Monger: “P5 is a good way to start the weekend. I would obviously like to be P1, but I was struggling with the balance of the car slightly which meant I wasn’t actually expecting to finish so high up the grid.

“I’m sure the team will be able to sort out the balance for the races this weekend and we can definitely aim for podiums and wins. I love this circuit so I’ve been really looking forward to this weekend since testing last month. I’m buzzing to be here.”

One man who couldn’t carry his performance in testing through to qualifying was Rafael Martins who ended up 17th, meanwhile TRS Arden’s fastest man Luis Leeds could only manage tenth, with British F4 debutant Ayrton Simmons 16th and Jack Martin 18th.

Said TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield: “We’re not really sure at this point what caused the lack of pace. We potentially didn’t get the best laps in during the optimum window with tyres which was the first four or five laps. We’ll look into it to try to come out on top in the races.”

As has been commonplace during the season, Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn was quickest of the Rookies in seventh: “We’ve got good pace and we can definitely do well from where we are on the grid. The tyres are in really good condition too so I’m really happy heading into the rest of the weekend.”

Quinn will line up alongside Double R’s Zane Goddard who put in his best qualifying display of the year to go eighth ahead of Jamie Caroline; clearly enjoying the warmer track conditions akin to his experience of racing in the Australian F4 Championship.

With the three leading protagonists in the championship at the sharp end of grid, round seven of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford at 1505 this afternoon promises to be an enthralling affair.

Provisional qualifying times Thruxton 7 May, 2016
Grid order for Round 7
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1m 13.609s
2 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1m 13.739s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1m 13.781s
4 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1m 13.837s
5 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1m 13.962s
6 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1m 14.071s
7 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1m 14.092s
8 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1m 14.135s
9 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 1m 14.177s
10 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1m 14.197s etc

Round 9 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Florescu – Fewtrell – Fielding – DeFrancesco – Monger – Quinn – Pull – Caroline – Leeds – Goddard etc

Full times