- Championship leader Caroline bounces back in Thruxton thriller to snatch victory.
- TRS Arden’s Quinn returns to the podium.
- Double R’s Massaad records maiden podium and Lundqvist breaks lap record.
7 MAY, 2017 – Jamie Caroline put in yet another inspired performance yesterday at Thruxton Circuit in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost to take his victory tally to five for the season.
The Carlin racer had things far from his own way though. A good start from third on the grid failed to pay dividends due to an off-track excursion, only to see him bounce back.
Having fallen to seventh, Caroline was already up to fourth heading into Club towards the end of the fourth lap. The Pirtek Racing-backed star got in on the high-speed, slipstreaming action which has become a hallmark of Ford EcoBoost-powered British F4 races around the 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit.
Caroline then dispatched poleman Oliver York (Fortec Motorsports), Alex Quinn (TRS Arden) and Logan Sargeant (Carlin) in one fell swoop on the very same lap. As the three drivers squabbled through Club, Caroline pounced with a better exit from the chicane, boldly running around the outside of the trio and into the lead of the race by the time he crossed the line to commence lap five.
Caroline immediately set about breaking the tow to the cars behind, building a gap of over two seconds which he carefully protected on his way to the chequered flag.
“Trevor [Carlin] said to me on the grid that it’s a long race and it will be the sort of race where you can drop to about eighth and still win, but that wasn’t actually what I wanted to do,” said Caroline.
“My reaction to the lights going out at the start wasn’t so good, but my launch was mega and I got a better run than Quinn and York. I managed to get past Quinn through turn one. He came back at me though and I then tried to go around York, but I had to take to the grass which put me down the field.
“My move to take the lead was mega. I tried to get a better exit on the guys in front of me. It was so close and I nearly made contact with Sargeant. That forced me to swerve out the way and I decided to try to go around the outside of all three drivers ahead of me. Thankfully it worked!
“At Thruxton it’s all about breaking the tow to get clear. If you can do that it becomes much easier. I knew I had to push so hard once I was in front. I built the gap and then concentrated on maintaining it until the end.
“I enjoyed the race a lot. This win means a lot to me and I want to dedicate it to Billy Monger.”
Quinn made a welcome return to the podium, at one point dropping to fourth as others benefited from the slipstreaming effect. The Cornish racer kept his cool and turned the tables to make his way back up to second and pull clear of the field.
“I got a bit of luck, but I think I drove a good race,” said Quinn. “At the very beginning when I was at the front it was hard to keep people behind because of the slipstream, but when I was further back down the order I could use the slipstream to get past.
“I think second is the best we could have done in that race. Jamie managed to break the tow to get clear, but I was gradually closing him down in the final laps which was positive.
“From about half race distance I managed to get away from the pack and could get a better feel for the car in clear air which was good.”
“We start from fifth in the reverse grid race which is a good place to be with the tow being such a key factor here.”
Double R Racing’s Karl Massaad claimed the final podium spot, his first in British F4 after an excellent drive from eighth on the grid. The Lebanese driver rapidly making his way up to fourth by the end of the fourth lap and then squeezing past York on lap on six.
“It feels great to get my first British F4 podium and prove I have the pace to be up there,” commented Massaad. “This result gives me a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to showing more of what I’m capable of in the next races when I hope to do even better.
“This track creates so many passing opportunities with all the slipstreaming. During the first six laps there were so many position changes.
“I had a good start and then took advantage of the tow where possible while staying out of trouble. Once I got into third I was able to keep up a good pace to get clear of the rest of the pack.”
Massaad’s team-mate Linus Lundqvist staged an impressive fight back following a spin early in the race due to contact at Club. It left the Swedish single-seater champion down in eleventh. However, he climbed his way up to fifth by the time the chequered flag fell, setting a new lap record of 1m 13.756s on lap eight with a staggering average speed of 114.99mph.
Lundqvist almost stole fourth from York who won the drag race to line. It saw five drivers, including Sargeant, Piastri and Simmons covered by just over half a second; Sargeant having pulled off a beautiful overtake on Piastri at the final chicane in the latter half of the race.
Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) finished in the points for the third time this season on the back of his best qualifying result in ninth, while Richardson Racing’s Harry Webb picked up the final point having started 13th.
Elsewhere, Lucas Alecco Roy’s race came to an end on the first lap following contact with Daniel Cao at Club, the latter narrowly missing out on the points paying positions ahead of Jacky Liu and Patrik Pasma.
Fans are in store for a blockbuster Sunday of Ford EcoBoost-powered action with two more British F4 races, both of which will be shown live on ITV4. The lights go out for round eight of the season at 1252, with the final race of the weekend scheduled for 1625.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional results Round 7 Thruxton 6 May 2017
16 laps / 37.69 miles
1 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 20m 02.312s / 112.87mph
2 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden +2.085s
3 Karl MASSAAD / LEB / Double R +4.730s
4 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec +9.482s
5 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R +9.678s
6 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin +9.886s
7 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden +9.935s
8 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +10.183s
9 Jamie SHARP / GBR / Sharp +11.415s
10 Harry WEBB / GBR / Richardson +16.907s etc.
Fastest lap: Lundqvist 1m 13.756s / 114.99mph
Ford F4 Challenge Cup: 1 York; 2 Webb
Grid for round 8: Sargeant – Lundqvist – York – Massaad – Quinn – Caroline – Piastri – Simmons – Sharp – Webb
Provisional championship standings
1 Caroline 135 points; 2 Piastri 76; 3 Pasma 63; 4 York 59.5; 5 Quinn 58; 6 Simmons 53.5; 7 Sargeant 47; 8 Monger 44; 9 Lundqvist 40.5; 10 Webb 26 etc.
Provisional Ford F4 Challenge Cup standings
1 York 134.5 points; 2 Webb 105; 3 Monger 100; 4 Ericsson 34.5