Rockingham’s bumper BTCC crowd was treated to a nail-biting day of Ford EcoBoost-powered action, as Alex Quinn left it late to snatch victory from poleman Patrik Pasma in Round 23 of the F4 British Championship.
In Round 24 it was Logan Sargeant’s time to shine. The Carlin driver took a commanding lights-to-flag maiden victory in the live-televised weekend finale.
Fortec Motorsports’ Hampus Ericsson bagged a full set of Ford F4 Challenge Cup wins and in doing so has made up considerable ground in the Class standings.
Meanwhile Oscar Piastri, who is Jamie Caroline’s closest rival in the championship, leaves Rockingham having only scored one point.
Caroline bounced back from a non-finish in Round 23 with his second podium of the weekend to put himself in pole position for the title. The Carlin ace heads to Silverstone with a lead of 74.5 points with just six races remaining.
ROUND 23: QUINN FOR THE WIN AT ROCKINGHAM
Quinn leaves it late to snatch victory from poleman Pasma.
Title contenders Caroline, Piastri and Lundqvist suffer misfortune.
TRS Arden’s Alex Quinn scored his second win of the 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season, after a patient drive from second on the grid and a bold move on long-time leader Patrik Pamsa to take to the top step at Rockingham.
Quinn was the better off line of the front-row starters, but Carlin’s Pasma positioned his car perfectly to remain in first. The Finn then endured immense pressure from Quinn, covering off every move that the 2016 British F4 Rookie Champion could throw at him.
Quinn continued to stalk his prey, biding his time and making the decisive move on lap 13. The Cornish racer getting a better run out of Deene hairpin and boldly running around the outside of Pasma through Yentwood.
Unleashed, Quinn immediately recorded his fastest laps of the race and was able to comfortably take the chequer.
“It’s good to be back on the top step,” said Quinn. “I had to work hard for it. I had a lot of attempts to overtake, but Patrik defended so well and that made it difficult to get past.
“Eventually I got the run on him coming out of turn two and got around the outside at turn three. It was a really tricky move and a little bit scary, but I’m happy I pulled it off.
“I was then immediately able to build a gap and the race got easier from that point.
“I knew I was a lot quicker than Patrik so I was careful not to rush things, overdo it or make a stupid move. I waited patiently and it played out right for me in the end.
“It’s good to get a win here. I’ve never had great results here in the past, so it’s nice to change that and this helps us in the championship.”
“The race was really tough,” added Pasma. “It wasn’t the result we wanted, but we just have to keep working hard and improve to get that win.
“I led the majority of the race and unfortunately I made a slight mistake towards the end which gave Alex the opportunity to make a move which was a shame. I’m proud of how well I defended under immense pressure for so many laps.”
As Quinn and Pasma duked it out in front it brought Simmons, Sargeant and York into play. At one point the leading quintet were covered by less than two seconds in a fight for top honours.
Simmons did well to take the final podium spot, balancing attack with defence while managing heavily worn out tyres.
“We had old tyres on in that race which made it harder to keep up with Alex and Patrik, but we didn’t drop too far back from them which was good,” explained Simmons. “I think I was helped by the fact that they were battling with each other.
“I had to defend a lot in that race too. I had to balance attacking with defending, managing the tyres and driving smart. I’m happy with my performance.
“We’ve saved our best tyres for the final race when we will start from P2 so hopefully we can take the win.
“I’m sure Sargeant won’t make it easy starting from pole. I finished ahead of him in this race so hopefully I can come out on top again.”
Sargeant got the better of York after the latter took too much kerb, unsettling his car and leaving the door open for the American to pounce.
Behind York finished Fortec Motorsports team-mate Hampus Ericsson who climbed his way from 10th on the grid to sixth. The Swede finished ahead of fellow big mover and Ford F4 Challenge Cup runner Olli Caldwell who had made up five places from his starting position.
“It’s really good to make it two Ford F4 Challenge Cup wins for the weekend so far,” said Ericsson. “I’m really happy and so is the team. To get sixth place with York in fifth means lots of points for the team.
“The important thing was to keep my nose clean and stay out of trouble. That’s been my plan all weekend and it’s paying dividends.
“If we can get the full set of Challenge Cup wins this weekend that would be brilliant so we can close the gap to the points leader in the Class standings.”
Just a fortnight after recording both his and GW Motorsport’s first top 10 finish, Sam Smelt was at it again, this time bringing his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer home in eighth.
Lucas Alecco Roy was back in the points in ninth, recovering well from early contact with Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport).
Title contenders Jamie Caroline, Linus Lundqvist and Oscar Piastri suffered a frustrating race. Damage from early skirmishes for Caroline and Lundqvist forced them into the pits and retirement.
Meanwhile Piastri’s rapid progress through the field, which saw him overtake eight cars on the opening lap, was abruptly halted on lap two with a trip through the gravel at Tarzan after a battle with Caroline.
Piastri persevered however, recording the fastest lap of the race on his way back up to 10th place by the chequer and denying Falcon Motorsport’s Lucca Allen a maiden points score.
Pictured: Feature shot – Logan Sargeant claimed a popular maiden British F4 win from pole. Above, clockwise from top left: Quinn tasted Ford EcoBoost-powered victory for the second time this season at Rockingham Motor Speedway; Bumper crowds were treated to single-seater racing of the highest standard; Carlin team-mates Sargeant and Caroline had plenty to celebrate in parc ferme after Round 24 of the F4 British Championship; Fortec Motorsports’ Hampus Ericsson made it a hat-trick of Ford F4 Challenge Cup wins. Images by Jakob Ebrey Photography.
ROUND 24: SARGEANT IN COMMAND AT ROCKINGHAM WITH MAIDEN BRITISH F4 WIN
Carlin’s Logan Sargeant claims popular maiden win from pole.
Caroline extends championship lead with Piastri failing to finish.
Ericsson achieves Ford F4 Challenge Cup hat-trick.
Rockingham’s bumper BTCC crowd were left saluting the Sargeant, as the Carlin racer took a commanding lights to flag maiden victory in the live-televised 24th round of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.
Having played a starring role throughout the season, the American claimed a popular and well-deserved win from pole position.
He nailed the start, immediately putting daylight between himself and the field. From then on the Infinity Sports Management-backed rising star controlled the race expertly. He was calm, composed and incredibly quick.
“That was so much fun,” said an ecstatic Sargeant. “First of all I want to say a massive thank you to Carlin. They’ve done an amazing job with this car. I also want to say a big thanks to Infinity Sports Management who have helped me massively this season with my driving.
“It felt like the longest race of my life, leading from lights to flag! I was really consistent and was able to take it easy at times, not pushing too hard and not making mistakes. I could build up a gap throughout the race and was able to maintain the lead comfortably.
“I got the best starts I have all season in both of today’s races and that makes life easier too.
“We saved our newest tyres for this race because we knew we were on pole so it was our best chance of winning. That was the target and that’s what we achieved.
“We’ve been chipping away in the championship and this weekend has seen us take another big points haul. It’s not going to be easy, but if we can get some more wins who knows how high we might end up? There’s still everything to fight for.”
Front-row starter Ayrton Simmons found himself immediately under attack from the fast-starting Linus Lundqvist and Oliver York. The latter making it past coming into turn two while Jamie Caroline dived around the outside of all three drivers at Deene, emerging in third behind York.
With pace in hand and having recorded the fastest lap of the race on the third tour of the 1.94-mile Speedway, Caroline backed Lundqvist into Simmons to give the Swede plenty to think about.
Simmons duly obliged and as he squabbled with Lundqvist, ultimately coming out on top after firing up the inside of the Double R racer at Tarzan to take fourth on lap nine, Caroline was able to break away. The Carlin driver followed in York’s wheel tracks to bring home a valuable haul of points for his championship bid.
“We’ve shown our pace this weekend with two second place finishes,” commented York. “Overall it’s been a good weekend. After qualifying P2 we’ve just progressed from there.
“I managed to get past Ayrton at the start which was important because he is a hard driver to overtake and then I was able to get my head down from there.
“We had the pace to challenge for the win in that race, but we struggled a little bit on the older tyres.
“The kind of form we’re now showing is really good and proves we can be a real force in this championship.
“I’ve been working with a new engineer Mick Kouros for the last few rounds and we’re gelling really well. This is translating into the strong results we’ve got this weekend. Mick knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s made some improvements to the car since Knockhill so these podiums are a nice reward for him and the team.”
“Our starts have been pretty good this weekend,” said Caroline. “We haven’t lost a place off the line.
“Overall it’s been a good weekend points wise. It means I can relax a little bit more with a 74.5 point lead heading to Silverstone.
“If we can have a clean Silverstone weekend with three podiums then we could be looking at wrapping up the title then.
“I knew pace wise I would be quicker than Lundqvist based on the long runs from Friday, so I knew if I backed Lundqvist into Simmons that would cause them to have a squabble and then I could break away. I’m pleased to get fastest lap too.
“I didn’t really want to risk a decent points’ finish trying to overtake York. It’s been a good weekend’s work.”
Behind the top five the battle for Ford F4 Challenge Cup honours raged between TRS Arden’s Olli Caldwell and Fortec Motorsports’ Hampus Ericsson; the two drivers making up several places early on from 10th and eighth on the grid.
As well as battling with Ericsson, Caldwell was having to contend with a technical glitch and a window of opportunity finally arose for Ericsson on lap nine coming out of Deene hairpin. The Swede grasped it with both hands. Meanwhile Caldwell’s race came to a premature end soon after as he was forced to retire the car due to the technical problem.
“It was a tough fight with Caldwell in the first part of the race for sixth and the Challenge Cup lead,” said hat-trick hero Ericsson. “I was really pleased to come out on top.
“I pulled off the move coming out of Deene hairpin. Caldwell got wheel spin coming out of the hairpin and we ran side by side into turn three. I then got the sling shot past him on the inside of turn four.
“We’ve found a really good rhythm at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve at Silverstone.”
Piastri’s miserable weekend continued, with his TRS Arden-prepared racer pointing the wrong way on the exit of Deene on the opening lap and an early retirement soon following.
His team-mates Simmons and Alex Quinn enjoyed an eventful second lap, with the latter running onto the grass having overtaken Simmons late on during the opening lap. It sent Quinn down the order from fifth to ninth, but he would climb his way back up to seventh ahead of Manuel Sulaiman. The JHR Developments driver returned to the points for the first time since the Snetterton meeting in July, having made up four places during the race.
Sam Smelt and GW Motorsport starred in the points once again in ninth, while Patrik Pasma completed the top 10 ahead of Jamie Sharp and Lucas Alecco Roy. The duo were locked in an entertaining battle for the final part of proceedings, just in front of Lucca Allen (Falcon Motorsport) who recorded his best finish in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup with second.
After another scintillating weekend of Ford EcoBoost-powered action, attention now turns to the upcoming meeting at Silverstone on 16/17 September where Caroline will have the chance to be crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional results Round 23 Rockingham 27 August 2017
15 laps / 29.10 miles
1 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 20m 20.323s / 85.84mph
2 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin +1.531s
3 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +3.261s
4 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin +4.214s
5 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec +4.593s
6 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec +5.922s
7 Olli CALDWELL / GBR / Arden +6.804s
8 Sam SMELT / GBR / GW +7.290s
9 Lucas Alecco ROY / GER / Carlin +14.093s
10 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden +14.802s etc.
Fastest lap: Oscar Piastri 1m 18.854s / 87.45mph
Ford F4 Challenge Cup: 1 Ericsson; 2 Caldwell; 3 Allen
Provisional results Round 24 Rockingham 27 August 2017
15 laps / 29.10 miles
1 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin 20m 13.252s / 86.34mph
2 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec +3.235s
3 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin +3.935s
4 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +6.114s
5 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R +6.612s
6 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec +9.206s
7 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden +10.221s
8 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +15.358s
9 Sam SMELT / GBR / GW +16.195s
10 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin +18.729s etc.
Fastest lap: Jamie Caroline 1m 19.961s / 87.34mph
Ford F4 Challenge Cup: 1 Ericsson; 2 Allen
Provisional championship standings
1 Caroline 364 points; 2 Piastri 289.5; 3 Sargeant 283; 4 Quinn 255; 5 Lundqvist 239.5; 6 York 215.5; 7 Simmons 206.5; 8 Pasma 142.5; 9 Webb 68; 10 Massaad 66 etc.
Provisional Ford F4 Challenge Cup standings
1 Webb 315.5 points; 2 York 304.5; 3 Ericsson 250.5; 4 Caldwell 179; 5 Allen 120; 6 Monger 100