|ROUND 29: SUBLIME CAROLINE CLAIMS POPULAR MAIDEN VICTORY
- Caroline triumphs at Brands Hatch to become 10th different British F4 winner of the season.
- Title battle goes down to the wire with Fielding and Fewtrell separated by just three points.
- Carlin crowned Teams Champion for second year running.
At the 29th time of asking Jamie Caroline pulled off a memorable victory in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford at Brands Hatch. The driver who has provided so much entertainment for fans in his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer in 2016 achieved the British F4 win he desperately craved.
A trademark Caroline fast start from pole saw the Fortec Motorsports driver lead into turn one clear of Carlin’s Petru Florescu. Caroline then proceeded to scamper off in the distance pushing the car to the limit in typical Caroline fashion.
None of the drivers in the leading pack had a response to the Pirtek Racing backed ace who took the chequered flag with a comfortable margin of almost five seconds. A victory made all the sweeter by achieving it in the dry and so convincingly when some have wondered if Caroline was simply a wet weather specialist. After the race that appears to be far from the case.
Explained an ecstatic Caroline: “I didn’t feel like my start was that great actually. I got quite a bit of wheel spin, but Petru didn’t get a great start either.
“I think in the opening laps I was almost two seconds quicker than anyone.
“I was pushing the car so hard on the warm up lap. I knew I had to get the tyres up to temperature so I could push from the outset, especially as I wasn’t quite sure how fast I would be in the dry.
“Maybe I did it a little too much because the tyres started to go off towards the end.
“I went off a couple of times, once at Hawthorns and once at Surtees but thankfully I was able to get the car back on the track.
“Hopefully this win can help me going into next year, especially with some of my sponsors like Pirtek being here this weekend.
“The car was mega. We went back to my old setup from the start of the year in the search of more performance and the weekend has been really good. We were absolutely rapid in the wet and the dry. It’s been hard to achieve that balance, but finally we have got it.”
Added EDGE Sporting Management who have played a pivotal role in guiding Caroline: “So much hard work has been put in and it’s great to see him finally win his first race.
“He should have won more, but he did do a great job today and dominated the race. He was unlucky and unfortunate with what happened in qualifying. He effectively had three poles this weekend.
“It’s always exciting to watch him and we want him to win races which he has finally done so a massive well done to him and everyone who has been helping him.
“We’ve seen so many on-board videos of him coming from the back in the wet and we all know how good he is in those conditions so to show he had the pace in that race on a bone dry track was excellent.”
Behind Caroline emerged a thrilling battle for second which involved title contenders Sennan Fielding and Max Fewtrell, as well as Florescu and Rafael Martins. The four drivers separated by not much more than a second for much of the race.
Florescu wasn’t prepared to relinquish second to team-mate Fewtrell easily to aid his title bid and did brilliantly to hold onto the position for the duration. It left Fewtrell having to settle for third, but crucially two places ahead of Fielding who was unable to pass Rafael Martins. The latter showcasing his masterful defensive driving skills yet again.
It meant that going into the season finale Fewtrell had closed the gap to Fielding in the standings to just three points.
Said Fewtrell: “It’s getting so exciting. I really went out there to try to close the gap and we did that. We had no team orders so I knew Petru wouldn’t make it easy. It’s all about the best man winning.
“I had a mega start to get past Ayrton into turn one and then got past Martins when he went onto the grass.
“I’ve got clear air in front of me from pole in the last race so I just need to keep focused and maximise the great pace of the car.”
Leeds’ title bid was undone, the Red Bull Junior unable to make sufficient progress through the field from 10th, but a thrilling race long battle with Australian compatriot Zane Goddard entertained spectators.
Ayrton Simmons once again ended the race top of the pile in the Rookie class for TRS Arden. A sixth place finish overall another brilliant result for the youngest driver on the grid.
Yesterday’s race winner Pull wasn’t far behind in seventh and crucially brought home enough points to seal the Teams Cup for Carlin. Trevor Carlin’s outfit have been formidable on many occasions this season in their bid to retain their standing as British F4 Teams Champion. 13 wins and a total of 42 podiums a superb achievement after being pushed all the way by TRS Arden.
Commented Carlin team boss Trevor Carlin: “It’s great to have won the Teams Cup. A great team effort and brilliant for all the lads to win the title again. They’ve done such an excellent job. They all push very hard. They work hard, but they have a lot of fun too. They’re a good bunch and they absolutely deserve it. An awesome team.
“It’s always good to win any championship, but to win the F4 British Championship two years in a row is really special. I’m very proud.”
Fortec Motorsports’ rookies Alex Quinn and Nicolai Kjaergaard did well to finish inside the top 10. Elsewhere, Billy Monger made progress from the back of the grid to 12th, recording the fastest lap of the race along the way underlining his prodigious testing pace at the beginning of the weekend.