29 Aug Double podium for York while Ericsson secures hat-trick Challenge Cup wins!
The Daventry based #TeamFortec ascended on the renowned circuit of Rockingham, Corby for the eighth round of the British Formula 4 Championship last weekend. Both teams and Ice-creams melted in the blistering heat as the British sunshine soared over the 3.12km track, promising an exciting weekend.
After a successful Friday practice working on perfecting the cars set up, both York and Ericsson were confident as they headed out for qualifying Saturday morning. It was the Woking driver who was first to set the pace as York put together a superb time of 1:18:842. A time that looked destined for pole until Linus Lundqvist went 5 hundredths quicker with minutes remaining. Swedish driver Hampus Ericsson was able to secure a top 10 start, five tenths off his teammate in P9 with a time of 1:19:389 respectively.
As the sun continued to shine with track temperatures climbing, it was time for the first race of the weekend. The 2016 X30 Karting World Champion started on the front row as Oliver York looked to repeat his Knockhill success and step onto the prestigious British F4 podium. At lights out, York made an explosive start and immediately drove alongside Lundqvist. York sniffed his second victory of the season in the opening exchanges through turns one and two, at one point just nudging in front of Lundqvist. However, the Swede was wise to his advances and kept York pinned to the outside to prevent him from scything past. As the race developed, Oliver was able to pull a 3.5 second cushion to the Championship leader Jamie Caroline in P3, and after pushing to the limit for 15 laps, York crossed the finish line just 1.8 seconds behind Lundquist to take a deserving second place on the podium. Hampus made a steady start from P9 on the grid and lost a couple of places entering Deene hairpin. Keeping his cool in the sweltering temperatures, Hampus got his head down and managed to cross the line in the points in P10, achieving another crucial Challenge Cup win.
The crowds arrived in their thousands as the Fortec squad prepared for the reverse grid race early Sunday morning. With the team deciding to save their extra two allocated tyres for race 3, the low traction in high temperatures was set to produce a thrilling race. As the race got underway it was the swede Ericsson this time who made a fantastic initial launch out of the box from P10 on the grid. Young Hampus immediately got past Jamie Sharp and then switched to the inside of Karl Massaad making up two places before Deene hairpin. York made a good start and remained P6 as the race unfolded. Contact between Caroline and Lundqvist promoted York to P5 with teammate Ericsson following through in P6. As Simmons and Sargeant battled in front, York watched on as he closed in ready to pounce. It didn’t take long for Oliver to get involved in the battle, and with a brave move into Chapman Curve York was able to promote himself to fourth and had his heart set on repeating another podium finish. Ericsson was having to drive defensive lines to keep Challenge Cup hopeful Olli Caldwell at bay. After some inspiring driving pushing to the limit, Hampus kept his nose clean and was able to cross the line ahead of Caldwell in P6 taking the top step once again on the Challenge Cup Podium. With time running out York managed to catch Simmons in third and was persistently in the mirrors of the Arden driver. With a last attempt at a podium finish, Oliver went for a move around the outside of Deene hairpin, but unfortunately couldn’t make the move stick, and lost out a position to Sargeant in the process to cross the line in P5. A great display of driving by both teammates showing their quick pace in their first year in single seaters.
With confidence levels high teammates Ericsson and York drove to the grid determined to show the rest of the pack they were a force to be reckoned with. York started P3 while Ericsson on the outside of the track in P10, 2 places behind his Challenge Cup competitor. The young swede had his eyes on the hat-trick of class wins and it would take something special to get in the way of Hampus’ determination. Lights out and York made another remarkable start to get besides Simmons and challenge Sargeant for the lead into Deene hairpin. Slotting into second, York looked to chase down Sargeant and create a comfortable cushion behind. Hampus Ericsson also propelled out of his box and made up positions on the first lap overtaking Massaad and Quinn, to then set his eyes on Caldwell in front of him. York could see the chasing pack of Caroline and Simmons hunting him down so cleverly backed them up, allowing them to battle between themselves while York once again pulled clear. It was apparent Oliver’s tyres were falling off, so his priorities changed and he decided to let Sargeant race away to the win, and concentrate on securing his second 2nd place finish of the weekend. Looking for his hat-trick of Challenge Cup wins, Hampus managed to close the gap to Caldwell and after a strong tow was right on his competitor’s gearbox approaching Deene Hairpin. Caldwell lit up his rear tyres on the exit of Deene and Ericsson pulled up alongside him approaching turn 3. Like his teammate, Hampus bravely lunged to the inside of Chapman Curve and had the place secured entering Pif Paf. With a couple of laps remaining Ericsson chased down Lundqvist but time ran out before crossing the line in 6th with another Challenge Cup Win.
Fantastic weekend for both team and drivers as we look to carry this momentum onto Silverstone.
“We’ve shown our pace this weekend with two second place finishes, overall it’s been a good weekend. After qualifying P2 we’ve just progressed from there. The kind of form we’re now showing is really good and proves we can be a real force in this championship.”
“I am very pleased to come away from the weekend with 3 Challenge Cup victories. It felt good to be battling with the front of the pack and we’ve found a really good rhythm! I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve at Silverstone”