|ROUND 20: RED BULL JUNIOR LEEDS CHARGES TO VICTORY AS FIREWORKS FLY
- Luis Leeds shines on his way to third British F4 win.
- Championship leaders Florescu and DeFrancesco crash out.
- Enthralling 13 car battle for the final podium place.
Luis Leeds stood on the top step of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford podium for the third time this season after a perfect drive from pole.
The Red Bull Junior star made a clean getaway off the line and had enough pace in hand to keep Double R’s fast starting Zane Goddard at bay. Goddard having leapt past Jamie Caroline who stuttered off the line due to making a false start fractions of a second beforehand.
The two Aussies sped away from the field unaware of the drama that was to unfold behind them. Leeds recording fastest lap in the process and bringing home a victory which puts him right in the thick of the championship battle.
Said a beaming Leeds: “We’ve had a tough run of things lately, but we’ve worked so hard as a team. The car feels pretty perfect this weekend. We’re really on it and really starting to get things together now so we can be a real contender for this championship.
“I was pushing hard every lap out there. I was pretty chilled out at the start. I knew what I had to do. I then just kept my head down and pushed lap after lap.
“Everyone has had their share of bad luck this season. Hopefully we’ve had all of ours and we can get this championship.
“Big thanks to Dr Marko, the Red Bull team and Arden who are behind me. Things are going really well and we just need to keep this form going now.”
Commented Goddard: “I got a good start again. Not quite as good as yesterday, but fortunately Jamie didn’t get a good start so I got past him straight away and then I was behind Luis. I was quicker than him in some parts of the track and he was quicker in others. Second is great with really good points.
I think the team and I have done a fantastic job to be fighting at the front against the bigger teams so all credit to Double R. This result is well deserved. Hopefully we can get another good start in the final race and be on the podium again.”
Caroline received a 10 second time penalty for his false start but in typical Caroline fashion fought tooth and nail with a plethora of cars behind. It quickly became a 13 car battle for the final podium place as a train of Ford EcoBoost-powered cars raced nose to tail around the 1.27-mile Knockhill circuit.
Carlin’s DeFrancesco and Petru Florescu were in the pound seats swarming all over the back the back of Caroline. DeFrancesco ducking and diving in his attempts to get past the Fortec racer. It was to no avail however and as the race drew ever closer to its conclusion it ended in tears for the Carlin pairing.
Caroline’s robust defence unsettling DeFrancesco at Taylor’s hairpin, allowing Florescu to move alongside his team-mate down the main straight. The title rivals made contact, sliding into the tyre barriers and blowing the title race wide open.
Following the incident the stewards chose to exclude Florescu from the meeting due to a trackside altercation, whilst DeFrancesco and Caroline were handed ten place grid penalties to be taken when possible to do so.
Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn found himself surrounded by the Carlin quartet for much of the race. Petru Florescu sneaking past early on, but then found James Pull and Max Fewtrell all over him. Fewtrell eventually found a way past and the fireworks between his team-mates provided him with a valuable third place.
Said Fewtrell: “Starting eighth I knew it would hectic around a track like this. It was kind of like karting all over again. I did a few good moves to get myself up the order and then I knew it would kick off so I was just waiting, ready to pounce.
“I think I did well and I’m happy with the podium after a difficult day yesterday. You’ve always got to keep an open mind and try to place yourself in the right position to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. Thankfully today it did.”
Despite just missing out on the podium, Quinn found consolation in claiming his 11th Rookie class win of the year. Ayrton Simmons joined him on the podium for the second time of the weekend taking sixth overall, whilst Kjaergaard made a welcome return to the rookie celebrations with third in class.
Explained Quinn: “It was a harder race compared to yesterday because we weren’t on new tyres and others were. The car has improved though, but I would like a little bit more for the race this afternoon.
“I’m starting from pole so I think we have a good opportunity to take the win, but it’s going to be all about getting a good start and building a gap which I think we can do.
“All the Carlin cars have been so strong this season so it was tough against them. I struggled with a bit of understeer in turn six which had an impact down the back straight where there is a good opportunity to overtake so I had to defend really hard, but I did my best and still got fourth.”
JHR’s duo of Sennan Fielding and Billy Monger showed flashes front running pace, fighting up the order, but found themselves bottled up behind Simmons and Martins ahead. In a full blown TRS Arden vs JHR Developments duel, it was the resplendent red TRS Arden cars which came out on top.
Falcon Motorsports’ Alexandra Mohnhaupt drove brilliantly, equalling her best finish of her fledgling British F4 career.