03 Oct Caroline Claims Maiden British F4 Victory at Brands Hatch
Amongst a weekend of mixed fortunes for Jamie Caroline at Brands Hatch, he finally claimed his maiden win in the penultimate round of the 2016 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.
The British F4 season finale in Kent kicked off with pre-race testing on Friday as usual. #TeamFortec drivers 2016 Rookie class champion Alex Quinn, and Pirtek Racing supported Jamie Caroline, both ended the day in the top ten, in P5 and P9 on the combined test time sheet respectively.
The weather once again played its part in proceedings for the final wet qualifying session of the season. A proven maestro in inclement conditions, Caroline appeared to have double pole positions sewn up at the end of the 25-minutes session, only to find that his exceptional time was excluded on a technical non-compliance relegating him to the back of the grid while carrying a 10-second time penalty for race one.
Fortec teammate Frank Bird put in one of his best qualifying performances of the year, running as high as fourth at one point, to take the chequered flag in P6. Racing Steps Foundation backed Quinn set the seventh quickest lap time, with Danish driver Nicolai Kjaergaard rounding off the Fortec quartets top ten performance in P9.
Round 28 on the 2.4332 miles long grand prix circuit on Saturday afternoon was a race full of comebacks, with Caroline overcoming a last place grid slot and his 10 second penalty to finish up in seventh and with the fastest lap of the race. Team mate Quinn finished in eighth to take second place on the Rookie class podium, with Kjaergaard alongside him on the third step in class (P11 overall) and Bird in P12.
Due to his momentous drive up to seventh place in race one, Caroline was afforded pole position on the reverse starting grid for round 29 on Sunday morning, with Quinn in P8 and Kjaergaard and Bird making up row six.
It was a dominating lights to flag performance by Caroline who pulled off a memorable victory in the penultimate race of 2016. None of the drivers in the leading pack had a response to the Pirtek Racing backed ace who took the chequered flag in his #38 Ford EcoBoost-powered charger with a comfortable margin of almost five seconds. Quinn came home in P8 with Kjaergaard in ninth as the second and third placed Rookies once again.
With the starting grid for the final race of a British F4 event being set by the second fastest qualifying lap times, the Fortec Motorsports drivers lined up with Bird in P4, Kjaergaard in P11, Quinn in thirteenth and Caroline at the back of the grid in P17.
In a style which has become his signature in British F4, Caroline had climbed up seven places by the halfway point of the season finale and took the chequered flag in P9 after a momentous drive. Quinn endured a quieter race in the mid-field and crossed the line as runner-up Rookie in overall P11. Kjaergaard stood alongside him on the third step of the Rookie podium after coming home in P12 and Frank Bird, who made a terrific start from the second row of the grid, was unfortunately clipped and spun, but was able to keep his Mygale-Ford going on the black stuff to cross the finish line in P16.
Jamie Caroline, #38 Fortec Motorsports
“The weekend started off great with the double poles, but to get them taken away was disheartening. Having a 10 seconds penalty at the beginning of race one made it hard to come back, but to overtake 10 cars and finish P7, with reverse pole for the next race, was the best possible outcome! Race two was mega; we had good pace and maintaining the five second gap and win was awesome.”
Alex Quinn, #7 Fortec Motorsports
“It was a mixed weekend as we had a positive Friday testing, but when it turned to wet for qualifying we really struggled – mainly due to the unfortunate circumstances as a result of red flags. This put us on the back foot in the races this weekend, but overall winning the Rookie Championship and achieving 7th place in the Drivers’ Championship is really positive. I am looking forward to 2017 – a huge thank you to Fortec Motorsports.”
Nicolai Kjaergaard, #63 Fortec Motorsports
“I had a difficult qualy where I went off on my fastest and last lap, and after that we were playing catch up. I just missed out on the reverse grid, but had strong pace and am looking forward to next season.”
Frank Bird, #5 Fortec Motorsports
“The weekend started off okay; I struggled a bit in practice, but found good pace in the rain. I had a great qualy which put me up in contention for points. Unfortunately, I got clipped in the last race, but I hope to carry over this good momentum in to next year.”
Dan Mitchell, team manager, Fortec Motorsports British F4 Team:
“It was a weekend of ups and downs. It was a great win for Jamie and we had some great pace as a team in qualifying; getting all of the cars up in the top ten. But overall it’s been a weekend to forget as the overall results didn’t reflect the pace we had and that has also been reflected in our overall Championship standing.”
2016 Provisional Drivers’ Championship – Fortec Motorsports:
7th Alex Quinn (R) 248; 10th Jamie Caroline 181; 13th Nicolai Kjaergaard (R) 39; 19th Frank Bird 3
2016 Rookie Cup Championship:
1st Quinn 589; 2nd Simmons 430; 3rd Kjaergaard 400; 4th J. Martin 393