- Fast-starting York scores win number two of campaign.
- Caroline follows up Championship win with brilliant second place.
- Manuel Sulaiman claims maiden British F4 podium.
30 SEPTEMBER, 2017 – Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver York seized the initiative in a dramatic race at Brands Hatch to take his second win in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.
Having made an excellent getaway which almost saw him take second place in the opening exchanges from front row starter Patrik Pasma; York pulled off more start line heroics after the race was restarted following a red flag on lap two after a collision involving Harry Dyson, Jamie Sharp and Lucas Alecco Roy.
The Fortec Motorsports racer shot off the line and squeezed through a gap not much wider than a British F4 car between Manuel Sulaiman and Pasma to take the lead. The latter taking to pit lane for a nosecone change. Fastest lap of the race acting as some consolation.
In second place Manuel Sulaiman was soon under pressure from Jamie Caroline who, having been crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion in the preceding race, was determined to celebrate in the best way possible by pushing to the absolute limit.
The Warlingham racer pulled off some audacious overtakes to make quick progress up the order from eighth. A particular highlight was his pass on race one winner Linus Lundqvist into Paddock Hill Bend on lap two; Caroline leaving it late to dive down Lundqvist’s inside, locking his front right tyre and just holding on to make the corner without running off the track.
Starting sixth at the restart provided Caroline with the opportunity to entertain with another trademark storming start, overtaking several cars around the outside of turn one and he ultimately dispatched Sulaiman with a precision move through Clearways.
It left York having to fend off the advancing Caroline for the lead and he did so brilliantly to cross the finish line just 0.330s ahead of Caroline.
Said York: “My first start was really good, but the second start was even better. The initial launch was spot on and it helped propel me into the lead before the first corner.
“I thought we were going to crash because the gap was incredibly tight as Manuel and Patrik began to close it down, but thankfully I came out unscathed!
“I had the advantage over Caroline through turns three and four. It’s quite hard to overtake here and getting the initial gap was a big help in keeping him at bay.
“It’s a great result for the team to get this win at the end of the season and we bounced back brilliantly from the disappointment of qualifying when we couldn’t show our true pace after a trip into the wall.”
Added Caroline: “I was so close to hitting Linus when I made that move. He didn’t give me much room, but I thought I would send it up the inside with a bold attack.
“Second place is a great result from eighth on the grid. York had newer tyres than me in that race and that was the difference in the end.
“Tomorrow we’ll aim to end the campaign in style. It would be fantastic to make it 11 wins for the season. I’ve got to make my records harder for future drivers in this championship to beat!”
Behind the leading pair, JHR Developments driver Sulaiman was putting on an exemplary display of defensive driving as Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri and Ayrton Simmons hunted him down for the final podium spot. Sulaiman was resolute however and refused to crack under the pressure, positioning his car perfectly to bring home his maiden British F4 podium.
Said an ecstatic Sulaiman: “My first start was really good. It was fantastic to be out front for the first couple of laps, leading the race.
“Although we couldn’t quite get the win, I’m so happy to get my first podium in the series. It’s a brilliant result for the team and I. We’ve been working so hard for this.
“To finish the year on a high like this is special. We have been fast in all conditions this weekend so it’s great to turn that pace into a strong result. I think we really showed that pace too in the battle with Sargeant. To keep him behind shows how far we have come in such a short space of time.”
TRS Arden’s Olli Caldwell put in one of his best performances of the season to finish seventh after holding off the experienced pairing of Linus Lundqvist and Alex Quinn.
Caldwell’s strong points finish was made even sweeter as he secured his second Ford F4 Challenge Cup win of the day with fellow Challenge Cup runners Harry Webb, Lucca Allen and Hampus Ericsson finishing 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.
Richardson Racing’s Webb will be happiest of the trio, extending his Challenge Cup lead by six more points to give him a nine point advantage over Ericsson heading into the final race of the season. Meanwhile Falcon Motorsport’s Allen battled brilliantly to keep Ericsson behind him and take the final podium spot in the Class.
“Hampus had a good qualifying which put him ahead of us in race one, but then he had an off in the first race and we’ve just capitalised from there,” said Caldwell.
“Being able to hold Lundqvist back, a driver who has fought at the front all year is a great result for me. It felt like we were slightly quicker too so that makes me really happy.
“My restart after the red flag was really good and I got Karl Massaad off the line which is important because it put another driver between myself and the rest of the Challenge Cup runners.
“I would love to make it a hat-trick of Challenge Cup wins this weekend. We’ve done it twice today so hopefully it can be third time lucky tomorrow.”
The season finale is set for 1502 on Sunday and will be televised live on ITV4.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional results Round 29 Brands Hatch GP 30 September 2017
8 laps / 19.46 miles
1 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 11m 49.209s / 98.81mph
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin +0.330s
3 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +4.949s
4 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin +5.241s
5 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden +5.465s
6 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +5.714s
7 Olli CALDWELL / GBR / Arden +10.907s
8 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R +11.084s
9 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden +11.250s
10 Karl MASSAAD / LEB / Double R +14.340s etc.
Fastest lap: Patrik Pasma 1m 27.351s / 100.28mph
Ford F4 Challenge Cup: 1 Caldwell; 2 Webb; 3 Allen; Ericsson
Provisional championship standings
1 Caroline 434 points; 2 Piastri 366.5; 3 Sargeant 356; 4 Lundqvist 288.5; 5 Quinn 282; 6 York 268.5; 7 Simmons 257.5; 8 Pasma 155.5; 9 Massaad 82; 10 Webb 68 etc.
Provisional Ford F4 Challenge Cup standings
1 Webb 351.5 points; 2 Ericsson 342.5; 3 York 304.5; 4 Caldwell 284; 5 Allen 201; 6 Monger 100