Sargeant Tops Morning Session, With Piastri Quickest in Afternoon
TRS Arden and Oscar Piastri struck first at Snetterton in free practice for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost following the summer break. The Aussie was one of three drivers to set a time quicker than that of Colton Herta who holds the series’ race lap record at the Norfolk track. A time of 1m 51.651s.
Like the rest of the field, Piastri’s best time came in the second session, but it was a time that made everyone in the paddock sit up and take notice. A lap of 1m 51.198s almost half a second quicker than Herta’s record to put himself 0.268s clear of morning pacesetter Logan Sargeant.
Sargeant was quick straight out of the box for Carlin and remained on the front-running pace throughout, boding well for the American as he bids to take his maiden British F4 victory.
Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist had a quiet start to proceedings, jumping up the order late on in free practice one and then continued to impress in the afternoon, jostling for top spot and ultimately having to settle for third fastest.
“The first session this morning was very interrupted with all the red flags,“ explained Piastri. “We bolted new tyres on in the second session and we were able to go so quick. The team have done an excellent job with the setup of the car. I think we got it pretty good in the test here earlier in the year and I think we’ve made it even better today. Hopefully the track conditions will be similar for qualifying and we can put it on pole. Then we can hopefully go on to win more races. I want to continue to star on the podium like we have done for so many races, but I really want to add more wins to my collection now. I think I have had enough second and third place finishes this season!”
“We just missed out on two tenths to Oscar,” added Sargeant. “It’s been really close today. It’s been a really good day for us. Snetterton is one of my favourite tracks so it’s good to be here. We’ve started strong this weekend which is always want you want to do and hopefully we can find those couple of tenths and give Oscar a run for his money tomorrow. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself and will take things session by session to see where it leads. I’m going to give it everything I have got. Carlin always do an amazing job in preparing the car and setting it up. This weekend is no different. We’ll keep working hard and hopefully we can put it on pole tomorrow and get a win.”
In fourth was Ayrton Simmons who made amends for a frustrating first session, with technical gremlins preventing him from running. The Epping racer bounced back in the afternoon and could frequently be found towards the top of the times.
Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver York also had a strong showing in the afternoon, improving by three seconds over his morning’s best to earn him fifth on the timesheets around his favourite circuit on the calendar.
The experienced pairing of Alex Quinn (TRS Arden) and Jamie Caroline (Carlin) could be found next on the timesheets. They appeared to fair better in the first session, heading into the lunchbreak second and third fastest respectively, but wound up sixth and seventh as the chequered flag fell on the second session.
Both were within one second of Piastri’s time; Quinn part of a group of six drivers able to break the 1m 52s barrier. Meanwhile championship leader Caroline recorded his best time on his final flyer, but it was not enough to propel him up the order.
TRS Arden’s Olli Caldwell was quickest of the Ford F4 Challenge Cup runners after a consistent day behind the wheel of his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer. Eighth in both sessions providing a solid foundation for the weekend ahead where the 15-year-old will look to score his first Challenge Cup win.
Other big improvers included Hampus Ericsson and Karl Massaad, who sandwiched Patrik Pasma on the timesheets. Ericsson found five and a half seconds between the two sessions. A time of 1m 52.233s putting him inside the top 10 in ninth.
Massaad improved by a margin of almost 2.4s on his morning’s best effort, recording his fastest time of the day on his final lap, just putting him shy of the top 10 in 11th having recorded the most laps of any driver – 37 in total.
Lucca Allen was another who saved their best until last, posting his best time on his final run for Falcon Motorsport to end up 15th ahead of fellow British F4 debutant Sam Smelt (GW Motorsport).
The Ford EcoBoost-powered field is gearing up for a blockbuster Saturday with qualifying at 1030 and followed by two races in the afternoon at 1400 and 1715 respectively. The final race of the weekend takes place on Sunday at 1450 and will be broadcast live on ITV4
Leading testing times Snetterton 28 July 2017 (am/pm)
1 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 1:53.676 / 1:52.198
2 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin 1:52.945 / 1:51.466
3 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 1:54.127 / 1:51.585
4 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden Not time set / 1:51.745
5 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 1:54.745 / 1:51.746
6 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 1:53.312 / 1:51.994
7 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 1:53.281 / 1:52.085
8 Olli CALDWELL / GBR / Arden 1:54.355 / 1:52.118
9 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec 1:57.778 / 1:52.233
10 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 1:54.142 / 1:52.333 etc.