2017 British F4 Championship – Caroline Continues to Record Break

Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography

Piastri Records Second Win of Season From Pole

Oscar Piastri led home a superb one-two for TRS Arden ahead of Ayrton Simmons in Round 16 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Snetterton. Piastri executed a faultless race from pole. An excellent getaway saw him lead the field into turn one and he gradually built up a comfortable gap to the chasing pack, as team-mate Simmons performed a flawless defence of second place from Double R Raicng’s Linus Lundqvist and Carlin’s Logan Sargeant.

Said Piastri: “I got a good start. Ayrton got a good one too so I had to block him a bit in turn one to keep him at bay, but from then on I could see he was defending hard from Lundqvist and Sargeant which took the pressure off a bit. I focused on managing the tyres and bringing home the win. I still pushed quite hard because I didn’t want the guys behind to catch up, but I made sure I’ve got plenty of life in the tyres for the remaining races this weekend. We’ve had this kind of pace all season, but we haven’t quite had the outright pace in qualifying and then converted it in the race. So to get pole today and convert it is a great feeling and hopefully we’ll be able to do that a few more times.”

Lap after lap Simmons positioned his car expertly into Riches, holding the inside line and then slowed down ever so slightly through the middle of the corner to upset the momentum of the cars behind.

“My tyres overheated slightly because I was pushing a bit too hard to catch Oscar and that meant I had less grip as I tried to push,” explained Simmons. “I had to defend from the guys behind who had optimum temperatures so I had to drive a bit slower than usual for two laps to try to cool the tyres down. Towards the end I could push again which I did and I actually managed to pull a bit of a gap in the last couple of laps. I had to defend so well to get this second place. I knew that by slowing down in the middle of Riches the guys behind would have to back off and therefore lose momentum. I used that to my advantage. The team has been working so hard all year so to get this one-two is fantastic for the team.”

Lundqvist secured the final podium spot, getting the better of Sargeant as the two drivers swapped positions during the race while they put Simmons under pressure. The decisive move for third came when Sargeant was pinned to the outside as Simmons defended second. Lundqvist seized his opportunity to scythe down the inside of Sargeant. The three drivers providing a thrilling display of wheel-to-wheel action throughout for spectators.

Said Lundqvist: “We were a little bit off the pace in qualifying, but we made a big improvement. It was good to see that we had the pace to fight for second place. I’m not sure if I had got past Simmons I would have caught Oscar, but we’ll keep working hard and see if we can get the win in the remaining races this weekend. At one point I got stuck in fifth gear down the back straight and that allowed Sargeant to get past me. That meant I had to get my head down and start chasing him and Simmons who were locked in a real battle. I took my opportunity when Sargeant was on the outside and Simmons was on the inside. I went to the inside behind Simmons and snuck past Sargeant. Unfortunately Simmons was a bit too good at defending and quick towards the end for me to get second. Nevertheless, I’m happy with this podium and I think we’re in good shape for the second half of the season.”

Alex Quinn and Oliver York profited from Olli Caldwell dropping a wheel on the dirt at turn one to climb up to fifth and sixth respectively, while the latter did enough to stay ahead of championship leader Jamie Caroline to claim his best result of his fledgling single-seater career. Seventh for Caldwell also ensured he was the highest placed Ford F4 Challenge Cup runner and therefore claimed his first win in the class in only his third race.

“It feels really good to get my first Ford F4 Challenge Cup win,” commented Caldwell. “I made a slight mistake in the race which put me a little bit adrift of the top four. I dropped a wheel at turn one which meant Quinn could get a tow and York was with him so they capitalised. As the race progressed I felt more comfortable and was really pleased that I had the pace of experienced guys like Quinn and Caroline, and at times was quicker than them. My overall aim is to get on the podium and given the way things are going combined with how well the team is working I think that’s definitely possible.”

Caroline will take some consolation in the fact that eighth earns him a front row start in the reverse grid race, in a weekend that has so far proved below par compared to his record breaking winning exploits before the summer break.

JHR Developments’ Manuel Sulaiman will line up on pole for the reverse grid race, gaining two places in the opening exchanges to score his first points since the season opening weekend at Brand Hatch.

Meanwhile Karl Massaad completed the top 10 ahead of Patrik Pasma and the Challenge Cup duo of Hampus Ericsson and Lucca Allen. The latter making his British F4 debut for Falcon Motorsport and bringing home Challenge Cup silverware.

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