OULTON PARK 5 JUNE, 2016 – At a resplendent Oulton Park there was no shortage of entertainment thanks to the F4 British Championship’s host of Ford EcoBoost-powered stars.
Round 11 featured a captivating 10 car battle for the podium places; a heart-breaking tale of what might have been for Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard, and some of the finest defensive driving you will see all season from eventual winner Rafael Martins for TRS Arden.
In round 12 it was all about Carlin’s Petru Florescu who once again put in an exceptional performance to cement his position at the top of the standings, having reclaimed the lead after the first race of the weekend on Saturday.
ROUND 11: MARTINS’ MASTERCLASS IN DEFENSIVE DRIVING SEES HIM TAKE MAIDEN BRITISH F4 VICTORY
- Rafael Martins triumphs in 10 car battle for the lead, following immense pressure from James Pull.
- TRS Arden break Carlin’s run of domination.
- Heartbreak for Double R’s Zane Goddard who crashes out from the lead.
Rafael Martins took his first single-seater win in style at Oulton Park, surviving a race-long attack from Carlin’s James Pull and a host of challengers all vying close behind for the top positions. It was yet another F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford race full of suspense and drama, particularly as race victory for Martins looked far from certain early on.
Poleman Zane Goddard executed a perfect getaway. In clean air he was able to pull away from Rafael Martins and James Pull. The Aussie looked comfortable out front and all set for a well-deserved maiden British F4 victory, clearly having the measure of his pursuers.
However, on lap four it all fell apart. The Double R racer clipped the tyre bundle on the inside of Knickerbook which sent him spearing off through the gravel trap and into the barrier. It was a heart-breaking outcome for the Australian youngster who cut a disconsolate figure at the side of the track; reminiscent of a distraught Mika Hakkinen after spinning out from the lead in the 1999 Italian Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, take nothing away from TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins who put in a top drawer performance. Soaking up pressure from James Pull throughout, as the Carlin driver jinked from left to right lap after lap in a bid to force a mistake. On several occasions both drivers ran side by side down the main straight, but Martins was steadfast in his defence, clearly putting a previous season’s experience in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series to good use to secure victory.
Said a jubilant Martins: “This is my first race win in cars. I have no words to describe my feelings right now. Huge thanks to the team and my sponsors, FISK and Fish. Last year we had a good race here and I knew that this weekend was our weekend.
“We had a lot of problems at the beginning of this year, but this weekend feels like the start of our season. We can move forward in the championship and fight for the title.
“I was quicker than James in the first part of the circuit, but he was quicker than me in the second part so that’s why we were so evenly matched.
“We came here with a difficult setup, so to bounce back like this shows how Arden can find solutions and turn things around.”
Added second place man Pull: “The start was ok. Goddard got away really well and it was a shame what happened to him. I felt I had more pace than Rafa, but it’s pretty much impossible to overtake here. I tried really hard to get past him, but he defended well. This second place is still great for my championship.
“Of course I want to win, but more people remember the F4 British Champion and that’s what I’m aiming to be. Thanks to ADD Motorsports and Pap who have been working with me to get me ready for this weekend which we knew would be so physically demanding.”
Behind the squabbling Martins and Pull, a train of eight cars were in hot pursuit, setting up an incredible 10-way fight for the podium places. It was on the final lap when the Ford EcoBoost formation flying came to an end.
Florescu saw his chance to steal third from Max Fewtrell with a late lunge and deftly timed braking manoeuvre. Both drivers ran wide though in a bid to emerge in front, with Alex Quinn scything up the inside to steal the podium spot and his eighth Rookie Class win of the season.
Commented Quinn: “Once again we showed we had the pace to be at the front. I got a better start this time and I didn’t lose any places. It’s so hard to pass on this track. It’s a lot harder than it looks.
“I’ve got even more confidence for the next race with this podium. I braked as late as I could to pull off that last lap move. I think if I had left it any later it might have been a different story, but I judged it perfectly and it was an exciting end to the race.”
Despite recording fastest lap of the race, Sennan Fielding was unable to put his pace to good use. Like so many drivers, he found the Oulton Park circuit notoriously difficult to overtake on.
Finishing in ninth the JHR Developments driver remained positive: “It was just one big train of cars, but it was good to get fastest lap. We knew the weekend was going to be hard from qualifying and we’ve been trying a few different things with the car that haven’t been working. I’m scratching my head a little bit, but I’m looking forward and hopeful that we can get them resolved.”
Fielding finished just behind Luis Leeds who had a much better showing than his 13th place finish yesterday. The Red Bull Junior brilliantly moving up five positions during the race to score valuable points, as he followed home yesterday’s race winner Devlin DeFrancesco and Billy Monger.
Jack Martin rounded out the top 10, capping off a strong race for the TRS Arden team. The Young Racing Driver Academy member was pleased with another Rookie class podium: “It’s good to get these points. It was a tough race, but the pace was good. Arden have done a brilliant job setting up the car so big thanks to them. We’ve got the pace now, so we’ll try to push on in race three.”
Jamie Caroline was an early casualty, trundling back to the pits in his wounded Pirtek Racing Jamun racer with a clutch issue on lap one.
ROUND 12: FLORESCU TAKES COMMAND OF OULTON PARK FINALE AND F4 BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP
- Perfection from Petru on his way to fourth win of the season.
- Fortec Motorsports’ Nicolai Kjaergaard claims maiden Rookie class victory.
Carlin’s Petru Florescu put on a perfect display to win the final F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford race of the weekend at Oulton Park. It was a straightforward race for the Romanian star driver, as he cruised his way to his fourth race win of the season and a 22 point lead in the standings.
Holding off DeFrancesco at the start, coupled with clear air to pump in some fast laps out front meant that the experienced Florescu could take a commanding victory around the 2.2 mile Cheshire track. He finished ahead of team-mate DeFrancesco, who himself executed a fantastic race to keep the flying Florescu in his sights for the duration.
Said the race winner: “We had really good pace again and fastest lap as well. I just focused on trying to stay consistent and didn’t push too much. It was a lot easier to control the pace in clear air. I’m looking forward to Croft. It’s a track I like. I’m so happy with this result and this race. It’s great for my championship and I want to say a huge thanks to the team.”
Added DeFrancesco: “At Carlin we had a meeting before the race between all the engineers and drivers and we knew the race to turn one would determine the outcome so I gave it everything at the start. I had a really good launch off the line, but I probably needed just a metre more to get in front.
“We have scored very good points for the championship and made up a lot of ground. Obviously Petru is looking very strong, but we are definitely catching up to our rivals. Carlin have got the car setup perfectly. It feels almost unbeatable.”
Jamie Caroline took his second podium of the weekend courtesy of another electrifying start which saw him speed past Max Fewtrell and not for the first time this weekend was the quickest of the non-Carlin runners.
Commented Caroline: “I was the only one able to take it to Carlin in the race. I was pleased to be able to get a good start, especially as I had to get used to the new clutch so quickly after the issue we had with the old one in race two.
“I’m very surprised to get the start that I did because with every clutch the biting point varies a little bit. There wasn’t much more we could have done in the race. Looking ahead to Croft, it’s another circuit I like. We were testing there the other day and I was straight on the pace so I’m looking forward to it.”
Max Fewtrell put in another calm and considered performance in fourth to bring home a strong points haul essential in his quest for the title; whilst James Pull performed a brilliant overtaking manoeuvre for fifth on Alex Quinn at Old Hall on lap four. Quinn was to suffer further misfortune as a gearbox issue put an end to his race on the penultimate lap.
Old Hall was the scene of further action early on as Fortec Motorsports’ Frank Bird crashed out of the race having been in 11th – four places up from his starting position.
Meanwhile Patrik Matthiesen was another early casualty, having made the same mistake at Knickerbrook as Zane Goddard had in round 11. The latter claiming the final points paying position as scant consolation for a day that promised so much for the talented Aussie racer.
Race two winner Rafael Martins was the highest of the TRS Arden runners yet again in sixth; whilst Nicolai Kjaergaard put in an inspired performance to take his first Rookie class win and hold off a hard-charging Sennan Fielding for seventh place.
Explained Kjaergaard: “It was a really good race. It’s not the ideal way to take this Rookie win with Quinn dropping out, but a win is a win and I’ll take it. I knew Sennan was quick so I was a bit worried when I saw him in my mirrors, but I was able to keep him behind. Now I know that I can compete with the very best in British F4 and I will try to do the same at Croft.”
Despite having to settle for eighth, JHR’s Fielding was still able to showcase his overtaking prowess with an expertly judged pass into Old Hall on Ayrton Simmons on lap five.
Billy Monger provided some excitement late on in proceedings, making an uncharacteristic mistake by running wide and letting TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and Jack Martin through.
The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford stars will be back in action in two weeks’ time at Croft circuit. Petru Florescu is sure to be riding a wave confidence after a brilliant time at Oulton Park. Having topped the times in testing at the North Yorkshire circuit earlier this week he will be many people’s tip for further success.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Provisional results Round 11 Oulton Park 5 June 2016
14 laps / 31.164 miles
1 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 20m 04.690s / 93.12mph
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +0.130s
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +0.765s
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +1.431s
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +1.889s
6 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +2.426s
7 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +2.617s
8 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +3.044s
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +3.166s
10 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden +3.529s
Fastest lap Sennan Fielding 1m 24.664s / 94.65mph Est Rec
Rookie class 1 Quinn, 2 Martin, 3 Simmons, 4 Kjaergaard
Provisional results Round 12 Oulton Park 5 June 2016
14 laps / 31.164 miles
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 19m 43.908s / 94.76mph
2 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +2.495s
3 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun + 6.047s
4 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +7.881s
5 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +8.883s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +21.312s
7 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec +21.555s
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +21.892s
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +22.306
10 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +22.846s etc.
Fastest lap Petru Florescu 1m 23.735s / 95.70mph Est Rec
Rookie class 1 Kjaergaard, 2 Simmons, 3 Martin
Provisional championship standings
1 Florescu 158, 2 Fewtrell 136, 3 Pull 131, 4 Fielding 116, 5 Leeds 111, 6 DeFrancesco 109, 7 Quinn 100, 8 Caroline 95, 9 Martins 84, 10 Monger 57 etc.
1 Quinn 251, 2 J. Martin 163, 3 Kjaergaard 136, 4 R. Martin 130, 5 Simmons 95