|ROUND 4: CAROLINE MAKES IT THREE FOR THE SEASON WITH BRITISH F4 WIN AT DONINGTON PARK
- Caroline takes the spoils following brave overtake.
- First podium of season for Lundqvist and Double R Racing.
- Jamie Sharp and Sharp Motorsport claim landmark first points.
- Hampus Ericsson climbs nine places to score points on British F4 debut.
Carlin’s Jamie Caroline made it three wins from four this season in the opening race of the weekend at Donington Park in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.
The Pirtek Racing-backed rising star pulled away off the line better than pole sitter Linus Lundqvist, but Lundqvist refused to give an inch and relinquish his lead as Caroline attempted to squeeze past around the outside of turn one.
Despite not making the move stick, Caroline persevered and pulled off what proved to be the race-winning overtake on Lundqvist, with a brave lunge down the inside of the Swedish racer at Old Hairpin on the opening lap.
With clear air ahead Caroline broke away from the chasing pack, recording fastest lap of the race just past the halfway stage on the way to the fourth Ford EcoBoost-powered win of his career and an enhanced championship lead.
“I knew Linus wouldn’t let me go around the outside of him at the first corner,” said Caroline. “There was a little bit of rubbing which is always good fun.
“When I did get past, the move was all about selling him a dummy. I went to the outside and then switched back to the inside of the corner. I had to really get the car stopped to prevent him from getting the cut-back. It was a sweet Caroline lunge.”
“Once in front I pushed hard for about four laps and then in the last four laps I focused on looking after tyres.
“It’s the first win I have ever had at Donington in my career so it’s great to tick it off the list. I’ve been wanting to for a while now.”
Although unable to quite match the pace of Caroline, Lundqvist brought his Double R-prepared racer comfortably home in second to record his first points of the season and kick start his championship bid following a difficult weekend two weeks ago.
“This podium is a good way to bounce back after Brands Hatch,” said Lundqvist. “I didn’t get the best start, but I managed to hold off Caroline who eventually got past me. He was very quick and we didn’t quite have the pace to match him.
“I didn’t expect Jamie to make the move he did. It was pretty risky, but he made it stick and that’s racing. I expect it to be tough. It’s British F4!”
Lundqvist finished ahead of the fast starting Billy Monger (JHR Developments) who had a storming opening lap which saw him climb several places, helped by Alex Quinn and Karl Massaad getting caught up in an incident at McLeans.
“Qualifying wasn’t ideal for us with the yellow flags at the end, because we were on a lap good enough to put us on the front row,” explained Monger. “It meant I had to start seventh, but I had a mega first lap getting up to fifth and managing to get past York and Piastri up the hill which put me into third.
“I nearly overtook Linus into the final chicane on the last lap so almost had second, but I think it would have been too close and could have been game over for both of us so I backed out, focusing on bringing home the points.”
Monger was pushed hard throughout for the final podium spot and the Ford F4 Challenge Cup class win by Oliver York (Fortec Motorsports), who in turn found himself defending from Oscar Piastri. The TRS Adren racer having been shuffled a couple of places down the order on the opening lap despite a strong start.
Patrik Pasma (Carlin) got in on the act too, closing in on Piastri as the race progressed, but the young Aussie was robust in his defence as he held on to fifth from Pasma in sixth. A reverse grid pole coming as some consolation for Pasma as he bids for his maiden British F4 win.
Richardson Racing’s Harry Webb put in a great drive to record his best finish of the season so far in seventh, bringing home more valuable points and yet another Challenge Cup podium.
Behind him could be found Jamie Sharp who climbed six places to score his first points of the season in eighth in a landmark race for new team Sharp Motorsport.
“It was so hectic at the start, but if anything it got even more hectic towards the end,” commented Sharp. “Our pace in the race was really good. I managed to find a decent rhythm. I pulled off some great overtakes. It was such close racing.
“It feels so good to finally get these points and it’s nice to prove that we can be right up there in the mix.”
If there was an award for driver of the race it would most probably go to Hampus Ericsson who, in only his first race in cars, kept his cool to rise up a remarkable nine places from his grid position to score points on his British F4 debut.
It was a stunning performance from the 15-year-old who pulled off some excellent overtakes which belied his relative lack of experience. A last lap cracker saw him emerge ahead of Logan Sargeant and Ayrton Simmons having been three abreast down the back straight.
“It was an unbelievable race,” said Ericsson. “I played it smart and finished ninth after starting at the back in my first race in a formula car so I’m really happy. It felt so good to pull off those overtakes and I learnt so much from that race.
“That move on the last lap was crazy. I had one wheel on the grass, but I stayed full throttle to overtake two guys. I had to go for it. It was the last lap!”