19 Sep Alex Quinn crowned British F4 Rookie Champion at Silverstone
Racing Steps Foundation backed Alex Quinn was crowned British F4 Rookie Champion for Fortec Motorsports at the ‘home of British motor racing’, Silverstone Circuit, last weekend. Scoring a total of 535 Rookie points and three overall race wins in his debut year in single-seater racing to date, the 15-year-old from Truro in Cornwall has proved that the future of British motorsport talent is still looking bright.
Friday played host to pre-race testing for Rounds 25-27 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. Daventry based Fortec Motorsports had a quiet day out on track, with Rookie class leader Quinn proving to be fastest #TeamFortec driver sitting inside the top ten on the combined test time sheet at the end of the day.
Fortec team mate and Pirtek Racing supported Jamie Caroline fared well in the wet morning session setting the eighth fastest time, whilst Frank Bird made a promising start to sit within a second of the quickest time during second practice.
With the weather failing to improve overnight at the Northamptonshire circuit, the drivers were put to the test on Saturday morning for qualifying. Caroline was his speedy self in the wet and set the seventh quickest lap time sitting between the two Carlin Racing challengers of Petru Florescu and James Pull. Bird just missed out on the top 10 by fractions of a second, with the fourth Fortec Motorsports prepared Mygale-Ford of Danish driver Nicolai Kjaergaard sitting close behind in P15.
Round 25 (race one) on Saturday afternoon was an action packed contest, as has become the norm in the exciting junior series. In the closing laps Luis Leeds (Arden) had a coming together with Sennan Fielding (JHR) which left Leeds with a puncture. Caroline was on his tail, defending confidently from Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco and having gained three places at the start. Caroline made a bid to pass Leeds’ limping Ford EcoBoost-powered racer around the outside, but they came in to contact as Leeds’ punctured tyre made his car difficult to control. Caroline battled on to finish in twelfth position, with Bird in 15th and Kjaergaard once again achieving a top team position and valuable points.
From the back of the starting grid after an uncharacteristic qualifying performance, Quinn climbed 10 places to put him in a Rookie class podium battle between team-mate Kjaergaard and TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons. By finishing second in class and in ninth overall (whilst clocking the fastest Rookie lap of the race also) Quinn did enough to be crowned 2016 Rookie class champion, leaving Kjaergaard to continue the contest for runner up position.
From reverse grid pole position on Sunday morning Quinn stamped his authority on Round 26 with a faultless lights to flag victory and the fastest Rookie lap once again. Halfway through the race the safety car was deployed to recover team-mate Kjaergaard’s stricken car, whilst Caroline, who had started in P11, crossed the line in ninth place with Bird in 16th.
Photo: Race 2 winner Alex Quinn, #7 Fortec Motorsports
With only one point separating second placed Rookie Kjaergaard and Jack Martin (Arden) in P3, it was all to play for in Round 27 on Sunday afternoon. With the starting grid set by the second fastest qualifying lap times, the Fortec quartet lined up with Caroline in P7, Kjaergaard in P13, Bird in P14 and Quinn on row ten in nineteenth position.
Midway through the 21 laps race Caroline held his nerve in the battle for ninth which resulted in Carlin driver Florescu visiting the grass. However, a five seconds penalty for exceeding track limits meant that 17-year-old, 2015 Ginetta Junior Champion Caroline slipped down to P14 after the chequered flag, with Bird in a solid P13 ahead of him on the time sheet and team mate Kjaergaard one place behind him in fifteenth.
In a class of his own Quinn fought his way up to tenth position from last on the grid during the weekend finale. With his Rookie Championship triumph comfortably assured, it is his Danish comrade who now sits in joint third position in the class standings as the Fortec Motorsports team counts down to the final rounds at Brands Hatch on 30th September, 2016.
Dan Mitchell, team manager, Fortec Motorsports British F4 Team:
“The weekend was very difficult for us as a team. Qualifying proved ultra tricky in the conditions and with inexperience also playing a part as we have effectively four rookie drivers. Despite his limited experience though, Jamie did a very good job to qualify in seventh. He carried his form in to race one with a great start, and in the opening laps he found himself fighting for a podium but contact on last corner of the last lap put those hopes to bed.
“It was brilliant to bounce back on Sunday morning with Alex taking a commanding win. He looked like a driver who had a point to prove and drove impeccably to take win number three. Now the Rookie championship is confirmed we are targeting more race wins at the last round.
Overall all the boys raced really well over the weekend, making good starts and some really good overtaking manoeuvres from all of them. We will be looking to make this pay by qualifying at the front at Brands Hatch for the season finale.”
Alex Quinn, #7 Fortec Motorsports
“I cannot express my feelings – I’m so happy. I need to say a huge thanks to the Racing Steps Foundation and Fortec because without them I wouldn’t be here, let alone at the front.
“I’m really happy with the car and the performance of myself. I pushed as hard as I could to get the win. I’ve shown this weekend that I can race through the field and lead from the front which is great.”
2016 Provisional British F4 championship standings
1 Fielding 308; 2 Fewtrell 303; 3 Leeds 289; 4 DeFrancesco 259; 5 Pull 248; 6 Quinn 240; 7 Florescu 230; 8 Goddard 230; 9 Martins 180; 10 Caroline 148
2016 Rookie Class Championship
1 Quinn 535; 2 J. Martin 357; 3 Kjaergaard 355; =3 Simmons 355