|ROUND 24: FORTUNE FAVOURS FEWTRELL ON FINAL LAP
- Fewtrell claims second win of season to extend championship lead.
- Victory snatched away from JHR’s Monger on the last lap.
- Quinn records 15th Rookie class win of the year to leave him on cusp of Rookie title.
Carlin’s Max Fewtrell was in the right place at the right time to claim his second victory of 2016 in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford, after poleman and race leader Billy Monger was hit with a technical problem on the final lap.
It was a dramatic twist in the tale of Round 24 of the Championship. Monger had driven a superb race from pole only to be robbed of what looked to be certain victory in heart breaking fashion. His car slowing suddenly on the exit of Deene hairpin allowing Fewtrell and Sennan Fielding to jump past with less than a lap remaining.
Monger had done brilliantly to fend off a fast starting Petru Florescu; the two drivers wheel to wheel and inches apart around turn one at Rockingham Motor Speedway. Monger wasn’t prepared to relinquish the lead though and held on firmly to the inside line into Deene to stay in front of Florescu.
Behind, eventual race winner Fewtrell was enduring an eventful opening lap himself; briefly dropping behind Alex Quinn and Rafael Martins, but immediately struck back as the three drivers jostled for position.
Fewtrell has coupled his usual metronomic consistency with aggression this weekend and he used this to great effect to pass team-mate and title rival Petru Florescu into Deene on lap seven; allowing him to chase after Monger.
Salt was rubbed into Florescu’s wounds when Fielding found a way past in shortly afterwards, and Fielding proceeded to join Fewtrell in hunt for the lead.
Florescu still managed to bring home a valuable points haul in fourth however; with Quinn finishing behind him in fifth. The latter claimed his 15th Rookie class win of the season and leaves Rockingham on the cusp of being crowned British F4 Rookie Class Champion.
As the race progressed it was Monger, Fewtrell and Fielding who pulled away out front, but Monger looked to have everything under control until fate conspired against him. His team-mate Fielding perhaps doing him a favour by giving Fewtrell more than just taking race lead to think about as the Chesterfield racer filled his mirrors.
Said race winner Fewtrell: “Monger drove really well. He was unlucky, but this sport can be like that. It can be cruel, but obviously today it was good for us and you have to be there to take the chance. I did a few good moves to make my way through and I slowly chased Monger down.
“Fielding was coming at us towards the end. Defending and attacking at the same time is probably the hardest thing to do, but I knew Sennan wasn’t quite close enough to attack, although on the last lap it got really close.
“It’s been another good weekend for us. This is the time to perform so I think I’m doing alright at the moment. I think I was holding back a little too much in the middle part of the season, but when the championship is this close you have got to start taking risks.”
Added Fielding: “I think we could have had two wins today. Starting in sixth made it a little too difficult. I had to push the tyres too hard early on and then struggled with overheating later on in the race so I was running down the middle of the straight and short shifting to sixth gear in order to cool things down for the end for the race.
“I’m really sorry for Billy. He should have won that race. He worked really hard for it and drove absolutely flawlessly throughout. He did a phenomenal job. It’s just one of those things that happens in motorsport. Unfortunately luck wasn’t on his side today, but today’s performance will have given him confidence. Hopefully all three of us at JHR can be up at the front at Silverstone.
“I think the racing has been really clean and really fair this weekend. I’ve got a lot of respect for all the drivers out there. It was really enjoyable.
“We’ve moved up to second in the championship now. Only 24 points behind so it can all change in a matter of seconds. You cannot count anyone out.”
Explained Monger: “There are a lot of positives to take out of that race, but obviously the wounds are still a little bit fresh. To lose it on the last lap due to a mechanical failure is tough, but we’ll bounce back at Silverstone to try to get the win that’s been evading us for so long. I think I can walk away with my head held high. JHR put out a great car and I’m proud of how I drove.
“It’s just a shame I wasn’t able to reward the JHR team and all my sponsors, Baylis and Harding, Metro Deconstruction, as well as Reigate Environmental Services. They’ve all helped me to get here so I’m gutted, especially for Banardo’s children’s charity which I’m an ambassador for. I will keep pushing though.”
A little further down the order Martins, Pull, DeFrancesco and Simmons provided plenty of entertainment. Martins doing brilliantly to defend from Pull who was swarming all over the back of his TRS Arden.
DeFrancesco soon upped the ante with a late lunge up the inside of his Carlin team-mate at Tarzan. Simmons then followed suit by squeezing past Pull in the dying laps. Fastest lap of the race for Pull at least acting as some consolation for yesterday’s race winner.
TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds had it all to do from 13th and managed to bring home what could prove to be a valuable point in tenth when the title race reaches its climax. A brilliant move down the inside of Frank Bird at Deene the highlight of his race.
Fellow Aussie Zane Goddard had an exciting opening few laps for Double R, climbing several places to 12th and was unlucky to finish just outside the points. The same can be said of JTR’s Patrik Matthiesen in 11th who had shown sufficient pace to be in the points throughout the weekend.
JHR’s Jack Butel also shone at the beginning, with some excellent defending to hold off an aggressive Jack Martin. The latter’s persistence paid off in the end as he managed to finish the race one place higher than he started and third in the Rookie Class.