- Oliver York sets the pace in pre-race testing.
- TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons fastest in morning session.
- Top 13 drivers covered by one second.
13 APRIL, 2017 – Oliver York and Fortec Motorsports set the pace in pre-race testing at Donington Park for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost. York’s best time of 1m 7.505s came late in the afternoon to put him clear of a very close Ford EcoBoost-powered field; which saw 13 drivers covered by a second around the Leicestershire circuit and the top eight lap quicker than last year’s pole time.
Ford F4 Challenge Cup entrant York began the day well, recording the sixth fastest time in the morning and only got quicker as the afternoon session progressed. His pace a statement of intent for the weekend ahead as he bids to become the first Challenge Cup driver to win a race overall and the one-off £5,000 prize that goes with it courtesy of Ford Motor Company.
“It’s been a really good day,” enthused York. “We struggled a little bit in the morning. In the afternoon I kept chipping away and ended up P1 so I’m really happy.
“In the days following Brands Hatch I’ve been working really hard with Andy Priaulx Sports Management in the iZone Driver Performance simulators.”
“We focused on 10 minute runs trying to go as fast as I can to simulate qualifying and that has also helped today. Hopefully we can carry this performance throughout the weekend and I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
TRS Arden’s Oscar Piastri wound up second quickest, just 0.088s adrift of York’s time, with team-mate Alex Quinn over a tenth further back in fifth. The Banbury-based outfit were quickest out the blocks in the morning session with Ayrton Simmons setting the pace and settling for eighth in the afternoon after experimenting with setup.
“In free practice one the car setup wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be, so we went into the afternoon knowing there was quite a lot of performance to come,” explained Piastri.
“The car felt so much better in the second session and I put a pretty good lap together. We made a big improvement with the car and it’s now pretty much spot on setup wise. It’s now just up to me to put all the sectors together to perform well in qualifying.”
Linus Lundqvist was on the pace throughout, second quickest in the opening session and third in the afternoon, ending the day just 0.120s off top spot. The Double R racer looking to make-up for a frustrating debut weekend at Brands Hatch. Elsewhere, team-mates Daniel Cao and Karl Massaad ended up 11th and 15th respectively, the former completing more laps than any other driver and improving by over 1.6s seconds on his morning’s best.
“I think we are in a good place for both qualifying and the races,” said Lundqvist. “The car feels good on used tyres too which is really encouraging. It’s great to be back at Donington. It’s one of my favourite circuits.”
“We’ve been consistently quick and hopefully we can show that when it matters this weekend. Both the team and I have been working so hard so we really want to get some great results.”
Championship leader Jamie Caroline was fourth fastest overall and the leading Carlin runner, once again showcasing the kind of front-running pace that is sure to make him a threat all weekend. It was a positive day for the boys in blue with all their drivers finishing inside the top 10. Logan Sargeant’s best earning him seventh, Patrik Pasma in ninth and Lucas Alecco Roy tenth.
Billy Monger was JHR Developments’ quickest driver in sixth, just several tenths away from P1. Meanwhile Manuel Sulaiman just missed out on the top 10 in twelfth, with Richardson Racing’s Harry Webb 0.001s further back, ahead of Yves Baltas (TRS Arden).
Hampus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsports), the latest addition to the British F4 grid, impressed in his maiden free practice outing, only 1.5s adrift of the quickest time in 16th and up against drivers who have far more mileage under their belts. The Swedish driver finishing ahead of Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) and Jacky Liu (GW Motorsport).
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost qualifying gets underway at 1030 on Saturday with the first of the weekend’s three races at 1440.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Leading testing times Donington Park 13 April 2017 (am/pm)
1 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 1:08.494 / 1:07.505
2 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 1:08.294 / 1:07.593
3 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 1:08.109 / 1:07.625
4 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 1:08.240 / 1:07.748
5 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 1:08.824 / 1:07.753
6 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1:08.526 / 1:07.815
7 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin 1:08.379 / 1:07.889
8 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:08.086 / 1:07.949
9 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 1:08.760 / 1:08.203
10 Lucas Alecco ROY / GER / Carlin 1:09.807 / 1:08.332 etc.