DeFrancesco triumphs in five-way British F4 thriller at Thruxton

  • Devlin DeFrancesco takes memorable maiden victory
  • Super-close racing and a masterclass in wheel-to-wheel racing cements the Ford EcoBoost-powered series’ standing as the world’s toughest FIA F4 championship to win.

THRUXTON 8 MAY, 2016 – Round nine of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford will live long in the memory; with a five-way battle for the lead and wheel-to-wheel action throughout the field. It was Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco who triumphed, taking a popular victory ahead of Billy Monger, Max Fewtrell, James Pull and Sennan Fielding. The quintet’s battle for glory provided a spectacle which firmly puts British F4 on the map as arguably the most entertaining single-seater series in the world.

The start was all about Petru Florescu who leapt away from pole with JHR’s Fielding in his wheel tracks, getting the jump on Fewtrell to move into second. Fewtrell responded a lap later in tandem with Carlin team-mate DeFrancesco, as both drivers dived down the outside of Fielding along the back straight.

With the bit between his teeth DeFrancesco then proceeded to blast past Fewtrell on the subsequent lap and apply serious pressure to Florescu with the lead now firmly in his sights. It immediately took its toll on the Romanian, who made an uncharacteristic mistake by taking too much kerb on the exit of Club to see not only DeFrancesco, but also Fielding and Fewtrell go by.

The situation deteriorated further two laps later for the race one winner. A spin sending him down to ninth immediately after DeFrancesco out-braked himself into the final chicane allowing Fielding to take the lead.

The Canadian made amends the following lap, judging his braking perfectly into the same chicane to retake control at the head of the field. The battle at the front was soon joined Monger and Pull who closed up to Fielding and Fewtrell. It set up a captivating five-way showdown for the win and a masterclass in wheel-to-wheel racing as the quintet jockeyed for position lap after lap.

The highlight of which taking place on the penultimate lap, as DeFrancesco found his mirrors full of the JHR pairing of Fielding and Monger, as well as team-mate Fewtrell. The three drivers were three abreast across the pit straight and it was Monger who seized the initiative. He dared to brake latest into turn one to take second, with Fewtrell squeezing past Fielding, who moments later succumbed to Pull’s attack.

A jubilant DeFrancesco stated: “It feels unbelievable to get this win. What a race! What a fight at the front! There was so much respect amongst all the drivers, with good overtaking and clean moves. I cannot wait for what the rest of the season has in store. There were so many touch-and-go moments out on track and the key was just trying to keep focused.”

Said second place man Monger: “It’s not the top step, but we’re getting closer. I’m not here to make up the numbers. I wanted to prove to people that I deserve to be here and I think I have done that this weekend. We’ve had two podiums this weekend and I want to take this momentum into Oulton Park and get my first win. There was so much respect out there between all the drivers. It enabled such close racing. I think it’s the best racing in Europe and that’s why this is such a highly rated championship.”

Whilst Fewtrell was in a philosophical mood after his Thruxton trials and tribulations: “To grab a podium after a really tough weekend and the big incidents in races one and two is a good confidence booster. I hung in there and kept going. I think that last race wasn’t really about pace because of the slipstream effect around here. It’s all about using that slipstream to your advantage and timing moves to perfection which is what I tried to do.”

Messrs Luis Leeds, Alex Quinn and Zane Goddard added further drama with a fantastic tussle for sixth. Quinn and Goddard went either side of Leeds as they hit the pit straight at the end of lap five leaving the crowd speechless; swallowing up his TRS Arden prepared racer following his slow exit from Club. Quinn’s seventh place was enough to see him record an impressive sixth Rookie class win of the year.

Commented Quinn: “It could have been a lot better this weekend. We were a bit unfortunate, but I’m already looking forward to Oulton Park. It was really tough battling with Luis and Zane. We all drove really well and it was such a tough race. It just demonstrates how competitive British F4 is.”

Added Goddard: “I didn’t get the start I would have liked, but I came through and somehow got past Luis on the outside. At the last corner I locked up and the rear stepped out on me. I was just able to hold it together. It was such a close finish and it’s nice to get the Aussie bragging rights over Luis on this occasion.”

Patrik Matthiesen once again held on valiantly to finish in the last points paying position for JTR, just as he had in race two.

Meanwhile, a collision between Jack Butel and Rafael Martins in the closing stages left the former at the back of the field and brought an end to Martins’ race. A frustrating finish to a weekend that promised so much for both drivers, after strong showings in testing and Butel’s pole position start in the race two.

There was also disappointment for Jamie Caroline whose race was fated before the lights went out due to contact on the lap to the grid. He elected to start from the pit lane, giving his Jamun team the chance to repair a damaged front wing, but their efforts were in vain as Caroline was forced to retire with the wing hanging precariously from the nose of his car.

Despite both missing out on the podium in round nine, it is Fielding who leaves Thruxton at the top of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford standings. Leeds, Fewtrell, Florescu and Pull lie within touching distance of the leader however and as this weekend has proved there are sure to be plenty more surprises at Oulton Park in four weeks’ time.

 

Provisional results Round 9, Thruxton 8 May, 2016
16 laps / 37.69 miles
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 20m 16.559s / 111.54mph
2 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +1.476s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +1.659s
4 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +1.929s
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +2.187s
6 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +4.366s
7 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +5.818s
8 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +6.420s
9 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +6.910s
10 Patrik MATTHIESEN / DEN / JTR +7.095s etc

Fastest lap DeFrancesco 1m 14.713s / 113.52mph

Rookie class 1 Quinn; 2 R Martin; 3 J Martin; 4 Kjaergaard; 5 Simmons

Full results

Provisional championship standings
=1 Fielding 109 points; 2 Leeds 107 points; 3 Fewtrell 104; 4 Florescu 103; 5 Pull 95; 6 Quinn 73; 7 Caroline 65; 8 DeFrancesco 60; 9 Monger 47; 10 Martins 45 etc

Rookie Class 1 Quinn 201; 2 R Martin 130; 3 J Martin 112; 4 Kjaergaard 84; 5 Simmons 50

Red Bull Junior driver Leeds given wings as he flies to maiden British F4 victory

  • TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds takes historic first victory for himself and the Red Bull Junior driver programme in British F4.
  • Caroline, Monger and Schreiner also starred with phenomenal drives through the pack.
  • Aryton Simmons records first Rookie class win on debut race weekend.

THRUXTON 8 MAY, 2016 – Luis Leeds finally broke his victory duck in scintillating fashion in round eight of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. It was TRS Arden’s first victory of the season and the first for the esteemed Red Bull Junior driver programme in the series. In a dramatic race, Jamie Caroline came home second, followed closely by Billy Monger and Carrie Schreiner – all three drivers putting in inspired performances to battle through the field.

Leeds took no prisoners from third on the grid during the opening lap, pulling off a daring move around the outside of pole man Jack Butel, having quickly dispatched James Pull.

With a handful of second place finishes to his name already this season, Leeds was determined not to be the bridesmaid again and never looked like relinquishing the lead. He was able to build an advantage out in front at both times of asking following two safety car restarts as the drama unfolded behind him.

JHR’s Billy Monger astounded spectators, climbing from 18th to fifth in the opening laps and then benefitted from DeFrancesco and Butel’s collision to move up to third and claim his first British F4 podium. He chased home Jamie Caroline who himself scythed his way from tenth on the grid to second, avoiding the chaos and expertly defended from Monger and Carrie Schreiner in the closing stages.

As the three of them duked it out, it afforded Leeds more breathing room out front on his way to the chequered flag and a win that could prove pivotal to his championship challenge.

Said an emotional Leeds: “I knew it was going to be close at the start and I knew if I was able to brake later into the first corner I could go around the outside to take the lead and that’s what happened really. I then focused on putting in good laps to try to build a gap. It was a little frustrating as the safety car kept on wiping out my gap to the cars behind, but I was still able to control the race.

“I’ve been working so hard and full credit to Arden for setting up the car and turning things around after a difficult qualifying. I hope this is the first win of many. My goal is the championship this year and a win like this helps a lot.

“Dr Marko has given me this incredible opportunity to compete in this series and be part of the Red Bull Junior driver programme. I’m doing my best every day to repay his faith and try to win races. I’ve dedicated my whole year to this. I’ve left all my friends and family in Australia to pursue what I want I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s Mother’s day in Australia so I think this is the best present for my Mum back home.”

Commented Jamun Racing’s Caroline: “I’ve always been at good at starts and on cold tyres. I learnt that in karting, so I’ve always had the upper hand on people in this aspect. I have so much confidence in myself and the car. I’m always pushing the limits and although there’s times when it might not come off that’s just me and I’ll keep trying. I managed to fend of Billy towards the end. It was a lot of fun with the two of us battling just like we used to in karting. I’ve had two second places this season so the win is definitely the aim now.”

Added Monger: “At the second restart Jamie made a slight mistake which allowed me to really challenge him. From then onwards it was all about the battle for second and third. This is a fantastic result though from 18th. It was a chaotic race. There was so much action. I made up a few places at the start and then stayed out of trouble as others made mistakes around me. I made a few really bold overtakes on the outside through Goodwood. I had to try to attack Jamie and defend from Carrie at the same time towards the end. It was difficult, but I’m ecstatic with the end result.”

The first appearance of the safety car occurred just four laps in to enable the recovery of Nicolai Kjaergaard’s beached car on the exit of Church corner. Prior to which Quinn out-braked himself trying to defend from Jamie Caroline, sending him into the back of James Pull. Both lived to fight another day, but they came together merely a lap later. An incident which saw Quinn receive a five place grid penalty for round nine.

With the safety car back in the pits at the end of lap six the drama resumed instantly. Whilst Leeds once again wasted no time in breaking away from the field, Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco collided with JHR’s Jack Butel in almost a carbon copy of the incident that saw Max Fewtrell roll spectacularly out of round seven.

By lap seven Florescu had made his way up to third place, but a technical problem saw him fall through the field. It forced him to relinquish his championship lead as he nursed his Carlin home.

On the penultimate lap Zane Goddard found a way past fellow Aussie Harry Hayek to claim fifth behind Double R team-mate Carrie Schreiner, by far the best result of the season for the Double R team. It was an exceptional performance from both drivers, with Zane climbing up from the last row of the grid and Schreiner from 13th.

Said Schreiner: “I was a bit lucky with other cars crashing out. It was a fun race and whenever I saw the chance to overtake someone I took it. In the last two laps third was a possibility, but I didn’t want to risk the fourth place finish. I’m really proud of this result.”

Having been overtaken by Goddard, Hayek was immediately in the firing line. Max Fewtrell was seeking redemption after yesterday’s DNF and fellow championship contender Sennan Fielding was also in maximum attack mode on the final lap. However, the trio came to grief at the Club chicane, Fielding miraculously maintaining momentum to finish sixth and Hayek in 12th.

It was a landmark race for Ayrton Simmons. In only his second competitive British F4 outing he finished inside the points and took a fantastic Rookie class win following team-mate Jack Martin’s exclusion from the results for an incident during the safety car period.

Provisional results Round 8, Thruxton 8 May, 2016
12 laps / 28.27 miles
1 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 20m 06.547s / 84.35mph
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun +2.683s
3 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +3.073s
4 Carrie SCHREINER / GER / Double R +3.325s
5 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +4.722s
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +9.784s
7 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +9.261s
8 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +9.920s
9 Ross MARTIN / GBR / Fortec +9.940s
10 Patrik MATTHIESEN / DEN / JTR +23.130s etc

Fastest lap Fielding 1m 15.304s / 112.63mph

Rookie class 1 Simmons ; 2 R Martin; 3 Quinn

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Leeds 103 points; 2 Florescu 101; 3 Fielding 99; 4 Fewtrell 89; 5 Pull 83; 6 Quinn 67; 7 Caroline 65; 8 Martins 45; 9 DeFrancesco 35; 10 Monger 29 etc

Rookie Class 1 Quinn 176;  2 R Martin 112; 2 J Martin 97; 4 Kjaergaard 72; 5 Simmons 33

Round 9 grid order
Florescu – Fewtrell – Fielding – DeFrancesco – Monger – Pull – Caroline – Leeds – Goddard – Matthiesen etc

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

Thruxton timetable and info links

THRUXTON 7-8 MAY, 2016 — The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford heads to the fastest circuit on the calendar at Thruxton this weekend. Carlin’s Max Fewtrell has a slender lead in the championship, with the likes of Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments), Petru Florescu (Carlin) and Luis Leeds (TRS Arden) all keen to knock him off the top spot, whilst Ayrton Simmons makes his debut as the youngest driver on the grid. Here’s everything you need to know to stay in touch.

Ford British F4 timetable
Saturday 7 May – Qualifying 1135-1155; Round 7 1505,
Sunday 8 May – Round 8 1255; Round 9 1630 Screened live on ITV4 & ITV4HD and itv.com/btcc

Live timing
Follow the live timing screen and download results via TSL Timing

Twitter
Follow us @BritishF4

Listen live
You can listen to the circuit commentary live via Ford British F4 Radio

You can also listen to the latest interviews from drivers, teams and championship personnel throughout the weekend by clicking on the link below:

TEAM NEWS: Jamun Racing aiming for podiums as British F4 heads to Thruxton

Supplied by team’s PR

5 MAY, 2016 – Jamun Racing are hoping to make the most of the sunshine as the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford heads to Thruxton this weekend (7-8 May).

While results didn’t go to plan for drivers Jamie Caroline and Harry Hayek at Donington last time out, they couldn’t be faulted for effort or determination.

But the Kent-based team hope the predicted heat-wave and change of track will help the young racers get back among the podiums.

Team manager James Mundy said: “In the official test we were fast in the wet, but this will be different with the weather being so hot as there won’t be any issues with the tyres.

“They both were pretty good there and Harry really enjoyed the circuit.

“We want to be back in the points and among the podiums this week – I think we have a great chance.”

At Donington three weeks ago, Australian driver Harry, 18, finished among the points by the last race, while Warlingham racer Jamie, 17, was unlucky to finish just outside the podiums.

Now, the Strood based team head to Thruxton, with all pressure on the mechanics to get the set-up right straight away.

James added: “There’s a lot of pressure to get it right first time as it’s straight into qualifying, but we are feeling good and looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

DRIVER NEWS: Jamun Pirtek Racing ace Caroline targets maiden single-seater success

Provided by driver’s PR

05 MAY, 2016 – Pirtek Racing’s rising star Jamie Caroline has his sights firmly fixed on a first single-seater victory when the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford heads for Thruxton this weekend for the third round of the season.

The talented teenager heads for the quickest circuit on the calendar on the back of a solid weekend of racing at Donington Park last month, where the reigning Ginetta Junior champion picked up a hat-trick of top ten finishes.

That included an astonishing performance in the first race of the weekend, where the 17-year-old showcased his talents as he romped through the field from 15th to 6th on the opening lap in challenging wet conditions.

Onboard footage of that lap has since gone viral online, with more than 113,000 views on the official British F4 Facebook page alone in recent weeks.

Having also shown impressive speed in the season opener at Brands Hatch, Jamie will now seek to fight for a maiden victory at one of his favourite circuits on the calendar – and one that already holds a special place in his heart having been the scene of his maiden car victory back in 2012.

In a change from the norm, pre-event testing for the Thruxton meeting took place last month with Jamie posting the 15th quickest time in changeable conditions.

However, confidence is high for a stronger showing when the real business gets underway with Saturday’s qualifying session, with Jamie aiming to challenge at the front of the pack in his Jamun Racing-run car.

“Testing at Thruxton last month didn’t go as well as we hoped, although the changing conditions didn’t really help,” he said. “However, since then we have had a good weekend at Donington Park and have also discovered a few other things with the car that mean I’m heading back to Thruxton in confident mood for the weekend ahead.

“It’s the quickest circuit on the calendar and totally different to anywhere else that we race with the sweeping corners around the back and the fact you are flat out so much. I really enjoy driving there and it’s a circuit that means a lot to me personally as it was the place where I took my first win in Ginettas.

“There’s been a lot of coverage online of my performance at Donington Park last month and hopefully I can create a few more headlines with a good performance this weekend and fight at the front of the field to move up the championship standings.”

After qualifying on Saturday 7 May at 11.35, the first of three F4 British Championship races will be at 15.05 later that day, with races two and three at 12.55 and 16.30 on Sunday. Sunday’s races will feature in ITV4’s extensive BTCC coverage, with live timing and results from the weekend available at www.tsl-timing.com.

British F4 taking it to the max at Thruxton

05 MAY, 2016 – With four different winners in the opening six races, the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford season has got away to an ultra-competitive start full of excitement.

The action rolls onto Thruxton this weekend with Carlin’s Max Fewtrell riding high following a brace of podiums and maiden victory at Donington Park which saw him wrestle top spot in the standings away from team-mate and double race winner Petru Florescu. The Romanian sits equal on points with another driver who also has two wins to his name this year – JHR Developments’ Sennan Fielding.

Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn scored a historic first win in the series for both himself and the Racing Steps Foundation several weeks ago and will be looking to strike again. Fellow Rookie class drivers, the unrelated Jack and Ross Martin ended Quinn’s domination of the top step of the Rookie podium with wins at Donington and intend to follow-up. Meanwhile, Nicolai Kjaergaard is sure to be a player yet again.

A new protagonist arrives in the form of TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons who turned 15 in the run up to this weekend and in doing so becomes eligible to compete. Like Carrie Schreiner who returns to the British F4 fold this weekend, Simmons impressed in testing and both will be keen to open their points scoring accounts along with Frank Bird.

Watch out for Jamun Racing’s pairing of Harry Hayek and Jamie Caroline who have already provided plenty of entertainment this season; the latter climbing nine places in one lap in the wet at Donington in Senna-esque fashion.

Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard wants to bounce back following three non-points scores, whilst Aussie compatriot Luis Leeds aims to break his victory duck after four straight second place finishes. Carlin’s James Pull is another contender for wins this season having already taken three podiums.

Devlin DeFrancesco, Rafael Martins and Billy Monger all shone in testing at the Hampshire circuit last month and will hope to carry this form into the weekend, with Jack Butel and Patrik Matthiesen looking to build on their first point scores of the year.

British F4’s high speed thriller at Thruxton kicks off with qualifying on Saturday morning and round seven of the championship in the afternoon. Two further 20-minute Ford EcoBoost-powered races follow on Sunday, with both scheduled for transmission during the ever-popular live BTCC show on ITV4.

Thruxton timetable
Saturday 7 May
1135 Qualifying; 1505 Race 1
Sunday 8 May
1255 Race 2; 1630 Race 3

On TV – Live on ITV4 & itv.com/btcc Sunday 1255 & 1630

On Radio – Listen to live circuit commentary on British F4 Radio.

Listen to interviews throughout the weekend here.

Event details & tickets – thruxtonracing.co.uk

DeFrancesco sets the pace in Ford MSA Formula test at Thruxton

  • Devlin DeFrancesco maintains Carlin’s run of form in Thruxton test.
  • Luis Leeds and Max Fewtrell prove to be Canadian’s closest challengers, with Rafael Martins and Billy Monger also impressing.

THRUXTON 07 APRIL, 2016 – Devlin DeFrancesco took advantage of the best of the day’s weather to top the times for Carlin in Ford British F4 testing at Thruxton. The test was beleaguered by damp and cold conditions, as drivers sought to lay down a marker ahead of the Thruxton race weekend on 7-8 May.

After a quiet start, the Canadian bettered his morning time by over a second to post a 1:13.500 in the dying minutes of the second session. It was a time that would remain unbeaten as more inclement weather set in at the 2.4 mile Hampshire circuit.

His closest challengers were TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds who was within two tenths of the DeFrancesco’s time and Max Fewtrell who once again impressed in the final session when the track was at its wettest.

There was drama 20 minutes into the second session as Ayrton Simmons, who had just recorded his fastest time of the day, got caught out while pushing on slick tyres through Goodwood on the damp asphalt. The Essex-based driver hurtled into the tyre barriers but walked away unscathed, testament to the safety of the FIA F4 homologated Ford EcoBoost-powered racer.

A number of drivers elected to sit out the final session due to the bad weather, including pacesetter DeFrancesco. JHR’s experienced pairing of Jack Butel and Sennan Fielding also followed suit, the former breaking into the top 10 overall and 2016 race winner Fielding finishing the day a strong sixth.

Fellow JHR Developments driver Billy Monger caught the eye throughout, ending both the morning and late afternoon sessions in third. Whilst TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins was star of the show in the first session going fastest and ending the day fourth, with Carlin’s James Pull less than a tenth away in fifth.

It was a difficult day for Fortec Motorsports, with early leader in the Rookie Cup Alex Quinn posting their fastest time of 1:14.334 to go ninth. Team-mate Ross Martin found himself stuck in the pits for much of the first session due to technical problems, while Frank Bird had a frustrating end to the test, bringing out a red flag after making contact with the barrier at Club.

Ford British F4 teams now have a week’s respite before testing at Donington Park gets under way on Thursday, 14 April, ahead of the next three rounds of the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.

Leading testing times Thruxton 7 April 2016 (Sessions 1 / 2 / 3)
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CAN / Carlin 1:14.887 / 1:13.500 / No time set
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / TRS Arden 1:15.012 / 1:13.665 / 1:21.248
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:14.803 / 1:13.713 / 1:20.030
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / TRS Arden 1:14.683 / 1:13.909 / 1:21.666
5 James PULL / GBR / JHR 1:16.053 / 1:13.995 / 1:20.141
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:14.945 / 1:14.047 / No time set
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:15.148 / 1:14.065 / 1:21.298
8 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1:14.859 / 1:14.120 / 1:20.455
9 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:16.738 / 1:14.334 / 1:21.565
10 Jack BUTEL / GBR / JHR 1:15.990 / 1:14.404 / No time set etc.

Sandy makes sure of victory with Ford power once again

  • Pole man Mitchell shakes off a first-lap challenge to claim Thruxton win number 2
  • Ricky Collard makes it a TRS Arden 1-2 and takes championship lead after Dan Ticktum drops out of race

THRUXTON 10 MAY, 2015 – Just as he did on Saturday, 15-year-old Sandy Mitchell showed his MSA Formula rivals the way around the Thruxton circuit this afternoon, leading for very nearly the whole of the live-televised finale to claim the second victory of his car-racing career. His team-mate Ricky Collard followed him home to make it a TRS Arden 1-2, a result which puts Collard on top of the championship table after erstwhile leader Dan Ticktum again suffered mechanical issues.

Sandy started from the pole again and made a better start than he did yesterday to claim the lead into Allard, but Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) made a rocketship getaway also from P4 to slot ahead of Collard and the Carlin car of Lando Norris before passing Mitchell half-way around the lap. But Sandy was not to be denied and slipstreamed Fielding up Woodham lead to regain control before the lap’s end. Sandy crossed the line four-tenths ahead, and that was as close as anyone would get to him for the rest of the race.

Norris attacked Fielding all the way around lap two, passing him next time around to secure second, with Sennan then pushed back to fifth by Collard and Matheus Leist’s Double R car. It didn’t take long for Collard to take the fight to Norris, and by the seventh lap he was through, executing a deft pass down Lando’s inside at Church. Five laps later Norris regained the position at Cobb, only for Collard to repass up Woodham Hill and be followed through by Leist, pushing Lando back to fourth.

Norris regained a position from Leist on the penultimate lap, and crossed the line for third just six-tenths behind Collard, with Mitchell a comfortable four-and-a-half seconds in the clear. Leist collected fourth, with a delighted Petru Florescu a season-best fifth (and second in the Rookie class behind Mitchell) for Carlin.

Winner Sandy Mitchell “I came here knowing that I had the speed and just hoping that I could turn that into some results, and now I have. It’s never easy leading a race, you always have to have maximum focus the whole time, but everything went well and I can’t wait for the next race now. Everything has gone really well with the car this weekend, the chassis and the EcoBoost engine have been perfect.”

Second, Ricky Collard “Championship leader… wow, that’s a great result. Obviously it’s a shame for Dan; I would have like to have had a battle with him. The team have done such a great job, and this is a 1-2, which makes it a bit special. We are going to keep pushing for wins and now we are in the championship lead it’s more important than ever to keep our heads down and focus on that.”

Fifth, Petru Florescu “Finally! It’s good to get a strong finish. But I was lucky because the cars behind me nearly crashed into me, and I had to go straight to stay out of their way.”

Florescu was indeed fortunate to avoid the colliding cars of Fielding and James Pull (JTR), who clashed while disputing sixth place on the penultimate lap. Pull pulled off but Fielding was able to continue to eighth, behind the cars of Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Rafael Martins (SWB). Colton Herta collected ninth for Carlin, with Enaam Ahmed 10th for TRS Arden. Jack Barlow and Louise Richardson completed the top 12.

Dan Baybutt’s race ended after just a lap after a tap from behind sent him off track; he and Pull were joined in retirement by Jack Butel (SWB) and by Dan Ticktum, who suffered a recurrence of the fuel surge issue which blighted his earlier race today.

Provisional results Round 9, Thruxton, 10 May 2015
16 laps / 37.70 miles
1 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 20m 00.655s / 113.02mph
2 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +4.484s
3 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +5.120s
4 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +5.858s
5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +11.768s
6 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +13.609s
7 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +14.353s
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +14.866s
9 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +19.654s
10 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +20.223s etc

Fastest lap Collard 1m 14.495s / 113.85mph

Rookie class 1 Mitchell, 2 Florescu, 3 Martins, 4 Ahmed, 5 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec, 6 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon, 7 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 130 points, 2 Ticktum 120, 3 Norris 115, 4 Leist 105, 5 Mitchell 86, 6 James Pull 78 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 171, 2 Mitchell 123, 3 Daniel Baybutt 120, 4 Ahmed 100, 5 Martins 88 etc

Norris triumphs in Ford-powered Thruxton thriller

  • Norris times his charge perfectly to secure his third victory of the season on the final lap
  • Rafael Martins leads much of race but slips to third behind Norris and Sandy Mitchell
  • Mechanical dramas cause retirement of championship leader Dan Ticktum

THRUXTON 10 MAY, 2015 – Thruxton’s bumper BTCC crowd were treated to a brilliant show-opening display of tense and exciting racing by the young stars of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship at Thruxton this morning. They staged a superb slipstreaming battle throughout the 20-minute epic, with three different leaders, dozens of overtakes and an outcome uncertain until the final lap.

In the end it was 15-year-old Lando Norris who emerged on top, the Carlin racer battling through from 10th on the grid. The Somerset star hit the top three by mid-distance, battled past Brazilian Matheus Leist for second four laps from the end, and then deprived Brazil’s other talent, Rafael Martins, of victory and the £1000 winner’s cheque on the final tour.

The super-fast Hampshire circuit suited the power delivery of the Ford EcoBoost engine perfectly, allowing the field to exploit their FIA-accredited F4 chassis to the max. Martins stole the initiative at the lights, getting a better blast-off than did pole man and championship leader Dan Ticktum, with Carlin’s Colton Herta slotting in behind him to push Ticktum back to third. Dan swiftly recovered to regain third from the American by the end of the opening lap, and then outdragged SWB Motorsport man Martins up Woodham Hill at the end of tour two to move into the lead.

Ticktum held top spot for another lap before he was slowed by fuel surge causing his engine to switch into ‘limp mode’, with Martins regaining the lead, now with Double R’s Leist and JTR man Dan Baybutt filling his mirrors. By the seventh lap Martins had a 0.6s lead, with Baybutt past Leist for second and closing in on the leader. Dan narrowed the leader’s advantage to nothing by the time they reached Woodham Hill, but Martins defended well and, as Baybutt attempted a right-then-left manoeuvre, he clipped the rear of the SWB car and spun into the weeds.

Rafael’s problems were far from over: first he had his countryman Leist clambering all over him and then, after four laps fending off Matheus, he found the mercurial Norris right on his tail. Lando had made steady progress through the pack to hit fourth spot by lap seven, which became third when Baybutt spun; it took him five laps to catch and pass Leist, a move executed through Village on lap 12. Two laps from the end Norris nosed ahead of Martins, a move that Rafa brilliantly responded to two corners later to regain the lead, before succumbing to Lando’s continuing assaults through the Complex on the final lap.

Meanwhile, Saturday victor Sandy Mitchell, who started seventh, was on a charge. He broke his day-old lap record on lap eight and moved ahead of Leist for third three laps from the end. Within sight of the chequered flag he followed Norris’s example and found a way past Martins up Woodham Hill to secure second place, a second adrift of the victor.

Martins held on for third to collect his maiden overall podium finish (and second in the Rookie class behind Mitchell), with Ricky Collard seizing fourth from Leist’s grasp two laps from the end. Just 0.4s covered the second to fourth place finishers. Herta completed the top six, ahead of Enaam Ahmed (Arden), Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Darius Karbaley, a top-10 finisher for the second race in succession for Falcon Motorsport. Sennan Fielding’s JHR Developments machine claimed 10th, with James Pull, a retiree for JTR yesterday, 11th and Louise Richardson completing the top 12 for Richardson Racing.

Winner Lando Norris “It was hard, particularly with the tail winds around the back of the circuit. To come from 10th on the grid to win is pretty amazing – I think it’s my best win yet, better than Brands. I had to time it right…”

Second, Sandy Mitchell “It’s been a good weekend so far, and it’s good to get a solid result when I started quite far back on the grid. I didn’t get the best start and dropped back a bit but the car really came on strong at the end. I’m really happy with second.”

Third, Rafael Martins “I am pleased with third but a little disappointed. The problem for me at the end was that my front wing came loose, I don’t know why. It slowed me a little.”

Provisional results Round 8, Thruxton, 10 May 2015
16 laps / 37.70 miles
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 20m 07.729s / 112.36mph
2 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +1.027s
3 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +1.257s
4 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +1.300s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +1.428s
6 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +2.377s
7 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +5.399s
8 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +5.645s
9 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon +5.823s
10 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +8.660s etc

Fastest lap Mitchell 1m 13.927s / 114.72mph Rec

Rookie class 1 Mitchell, 2 Martins, 3 Ahmed, 4 Karbaley; 5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin, 6 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec, 7 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR, 8 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Dan Ticktum 120 points; 2 Collard 111; 3 Norris 100; 4 Leist 93; 5 James Pull 78; 6 Mitchell 61 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 171; 2 Baybutt 120; 3 Mitchell 97; 4 Ahmed 88 etc