BRANDS HATCH 2 APRIL, 2017 – The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford burst back into life at Brands Hatch this weekend for the opening rounds of the 2017 season.
A blockbuster Sunday of Ford EcoBoost-powered action saw TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons claim an emotional maiden race win. It was the highlight of the Banbury outfit’s day which also saw Oscar Piastri and Alex Quinn finish on the podium in round three.
Carlin’s Jamie Caroline was the star of the show from pole in the final race of the weekend, with an almost carbon copy performance of his round one victory just 24 hours earlier. Two victories and a fifth place this weekend ensuring Caroline leaves Brands Hatch with a 19 point lead in the standings.
It was a positive day for another British F4 returnee, with JHR Developments driver Billy Monger on the podium in round two and recording a clean sweep of Ford F4 Challenge Cup class wins.
ROUND 2: SIMMONS CLAIMS EMOTIONAL MAIDEN BRITISH F4 WIN
- TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons puts in a flawless performance from pole to win at Brands Hatch Indy.
- Patrik Pasma claims maiden podium in only his second British F4 start.
- Billy Monger completes podium and doubles up with Ford F4 Challenge Cup class wins.
Ayrton Simmons and TRS Arden claimed a flawless win from pole position in the second round of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford at Brands Hatch. It was Simmons’ maiden victory in the series, having been vice-champion in the Rookie class last season.
A lightning start saw Simmons comfortably led into turn one and he never looked back. Calm and composed out front, the 15-year-old racer from Epping didn’t put a foot wrong all race.
Simmons, a product of the Young Racing Driver Academy, managed his tyre wear expertly and it paid dividends, allowing him to gradually pull away from the chasing pack in the latter stages on his way to the chequered flag.
“To finally get this British F4 win is absolutely amazing,” said a jubilant Simmons. “It’s the greatest moment of my racing career so far. We worked so hard in my first season last year. We didn’t have the ideal start to the weekend, but we turned it around.
“All I had to do was pull a gap and stay in control of the race. I was quite surprised with how good my start was. It’s probably the best start I have ever made. Everything just fell into place.
“I did a lot of work with the team to perfect the start procedure. When I was out front I knew I had to drive consistently. I had to be controlled, but quick.
“I cannot thank the team enough. They’ve done a brilliant job.”
Added an emotional Steve Simmons, father of Ayrton: “It’s unbelievable. I’ve seen how much hard work he has put in over the years and all his training.
“I keep out the way really because he has so much self-motivation. TRS Arden gave him a perfect car today. I’m absolutely over the moon for Ayrton and incredibly proud.”
JHR Developments driver Billy Monger started alongside Simmons on the front row, but Carlin’s Patrik Pasma who lined up third made an excellent getaway to propel him up to second. He held off Monger for the duration, setting fastest lap in the process. Meanwhile team-mate Logan Sargeant joined the fight for the podium positions, ultimately bringing home his second fourth place finish of the weekend.
“It feels nice to get this podium,” said Pasma. “I would like to be one step higher, but that will come. I made a really good start to jump from third to second and attack the poleman.
“I want to say thanks to the team for helping me achieve this result and it was great to be the highest placed Carlin driver in this race. Now I’m going to be doing all I can to get the win.”
Despite being unable to find a way past Pasma, Monger was pleased to return to the podium and also recorded his second Ford F4 Challenge Cup class win of the weekend.
“I was starting on the outside of the track in P2 and Patrik was able to get a better start than me on the inside. I then decided to back Logan up a little bit to try to wear his tyres out.
“I didn’t quite have enough life in my tyres towards the end to attack for second place, but it’s great to get a podium for the team.”
“I’m happy with this result. Obviously I want to finish even higher, but it’s a long season and I’m pleased to bring home the points.”
Round winner one Jamie Caroline made a trademark excellent getaway, making his way past TRS Arden’s Alex Quinn and Oscar Piastri in the opening stages. However, much like race one he couldn’t escape the clutches of the TRS Arden pair, as well as Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver York who provided plenty of entertainment in only his second British F4 start.
Having squeezed by Manuel Sulaiman, York proceeded to seize an opportunity when Quinn attempted to overtake Piastri through Paddock Hill Bend. Quinn couldn’t make the move stick, losing momentum into Druids and York tip-toed his way around the outside of Quinn to take seventh. However Quinn returned the favour several laps later, at the very same corner to retain the position.
“I’ve had to do quite a bit of overtaking this weekend,” commented York. “Yesterday was my first British F4 race and it’s been going really well. I didn’t get a great start today, but I made up for it later the race.
“It was exciting to be battling with proven race winners like Alex Quinn and Jamie Caroline. The aim is to be up at the front, racing with them throughout the season.
“The move I pulled off on Alex will be one of many hopefully.”
JHR Developments’ Manuel Sulaiman recorded another points scoring finish ahead of Richardson Racing’s Harry Webb who claimed his first top 10 result, as well as third in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup class. Webb turning the tables on Double R’s Karl Massaad and Daniel Cao who had finished in front of him in round one after a thrilling battle.
Elsewhere, the race saw two retirees in the form of Yves Baltas and Linus Lundqvist, with both aiming to finish the weekend on a high in the final race.
ROUND 3: CAROLINE DOES IT AGAIN AT BRANDS HATCH WITH SUPERB BRITISH F4 WIN
- Caroline doubles up with another lights to flag win.
- TRS Arden make it five podiums for the weekend.
- Monger makes it a clean sweep of Ford F4 Challenge Cup class victories.
Jamie Caroline and Carlin doubled their victory tally in the opening weekend of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford with another sublime win from pole position.
Caroline mastered the start and just as he did on his way to victory 24 hours earlier, pulled away from the field setting fastest lap after fastest lap.
However, as had been the case in race one the chasing TRS Arden pair of Oscar Piastri and Alex Quinn began to turn the tables, lapping faster than anyone else in the latter half of the race; Quinn recording fastest lap in the process.
It wasn’t quite enough to bridge the gap to Caroline who was flying out front; his second victory earning him another 25 points and ensuring he leaves Brands Hatch with a 19 point lead in the championship standings. A dream start to the season for the talented teenager from Warlingham, Surrey.
“It’s a great way to start to the season,” said an ecstatic Caroline. “It’s been a near-perfect weekend. Carlin have been successful at this track for the past two years so they knew what setup was needed to perform well.
“We made some changes today to help reduce tyre degradation and that made a real difference.
“I’m looking forward to Donington in two weeks. We topped the times in pre-season testing there so we should go well.
“Last year was very frustrating at times, having to wait until the penultimate race for my first British F4 win so to get two in the first weekend is fantastic.”
“I’m happy to walk away with second place and more points for the championship,” commented Piastri. “I found it a little easier to keep Alex behind me in the third race because I learnt a few things having had to defend from him throughout race two.
“It’s been a great start to the season. I think this weekend showed that our pre-season pace was true and at Donington Park in two weeks hopefully we can go one step higher.”
“We had really good pace,” added Quinn. “I think if I had overtaken Oscar I could have challenged Jamie for the win. TRS Arden have done a great job.
“I know we’ll be really strong at Donington and I’m looking forward to it. I’m feeling really confident and to bring home all these points is so important for the championship because as we have seen in previous seasons consistency is key.”
Caroline’s team-mate Patrik Pasma continued to impress on his way to fourth, while race two winner Ayrton Simmons climbed two places, ultimately being sandwiched between Carlin’s Pasma and Logan Sargeant.
Behind Sargeant came Billy Monger in seventh who made it a hat-trick of Ford F4 Challenge Cup class wins, but he was pushed hard by Oliver York (Fortec Motorsports) who finished less than two tenths behind the JHR Developments driver.
Monger’s team-mate Manuel Sulaiman achieved a third top-10 finish, taking ninth and rounding out a hugely encouraging start to his British F4 campaign.
Harry Webb (Richardson Racing) was the final points scorer, adding another point to his tally following his 10th place finish earlier in the day. Webb found himself in the thick of a six-car battle for much of the race which stretched from Sargeant in sixth all the way to Karl Massaad (Double R) in 11th.
Said Webb: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first weekend in British F4. I’m still a little bit nervous with the car, but the more I drive the better the feeling I have. After a few more rounds, I’m sure we’ll be race ready for wins.
“It’s great for Richardson Racing to be in the points and I cannot thank them enough, but I want to win and we won’t stop trying.”
Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) recorded his best finish with an aggressive drive which saw him race wheel-to-wheel with with Jacky Liu (GW Motorsport). At one point Sharp was dancing through the gravel as he tried to find a way around Liu on the outside of Paddock Hill Bend. Sharp persevered and found a way through, passing Baltas late on who was unlucky not finish in the points due to being hampered by contact late on.
Carlin’s Lucas Alecco Roy finished inside the top 15 with Double R’s Daniel Cao 16th and Lundqvist having to retire from the race.
The Ford EcoBoost-powered action resumes in two weeks’ time at Donington Park which is sure to provide plenty more thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing from some of motorsport’s brightest young stars.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Provisional results Round 2 Brands Hatch Indy 2 April 2017
26 laps / 31.40 miles
1 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 20m 31.522s / 91.80mph
2 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin +4.960s
3 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +6.022s
4 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin +7.857s
5 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin +12.169s
6 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden +12.759s
7 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden +12.921s
8 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec +13.675s
9 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +13.971s
10 Harry WEBB / GBR / Richardson +14.031s etc.
Fastest lap: Pasma 46.663s / 93.19mph
Challenge Cup: 1 Monger; 2 York; 3 Webb
Provisional results Round 3 Brands Hatch Indy 2 April 2017
23 laps / 28.78 miles
1 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 18m 08.691s / 91.86mph
2 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden +1.691s
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden +2.064s
4 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin +9.504s
5 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +10.481s
6 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin +14.596s
7 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +15.029s
8 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec +15.215s
9 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +17.486s
10 Harry WEBB / GBR / Richardson +18.116s etc.
Fastest lap: Quinn 46.690s / 93.13mph
Challenge Cup: 1 Monger; 2 York; 3 Webb
Provisional championship standings
1 Caroline 60 points; =2 Simmons 41; =2 Piastri 41; 4 Pasma 40; 5 Quinn 39; 6 Sargeant 32; 7 Monger 29; 8 York 10; 9 Sulaiman 8; 10 Webb 2 etc.
Provisional Ford F4 Challenge Cup standings
1 Monger 75 points; 2 York 54; 3 Webb 45