20 Jun Mixed fortunes for Fortec Motorsport in F4 British Championship at Croft
Alex Quinn was once again the fastest rookie in both practice sessions on Friday, with team-mates Nicolai Kjaergaard and Frank Bird along with new Fortec driver Jamie Caroline, who has joined the Daventry based squad for the rest of the season, all taking advantage of the track time to get to grips with the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit.
Racing Steps Foundation backed Quinn was quickest of the Rookie class qualifiers in P4 on Saturday morning with Caroline, Kjaergaard and Bird managing to take the chequered flag in 13th, 14th and 16th respectively.
However, fortunes changed on Saturday afternoon and it was Pirtek Racing backed Jamie Caroline who lead the way for the Fortec quartet in race one. From P13 Caroline put in a trademark lightning start to make his was up to seventh on the opening lap. He found himself fending off TRS Arden’s Jack Martin for the majority of the race. However, on the final lap he sinfully found a way past Rafael Martins (Arden) and his new team-mate Quinn to cross the finish line confidently in P5. Frank Bird also had a successful contest, achieving his first points-scoring finish of the British F4 season by rounding off the top ten.
After Kjaergaard’s retirement following a coming together with Butel at Tower Bend on lap 11, disaster struck Quinn on the final lap. Despite setting the fastest rookie lap of the race on lap five, contact with Martins was sufficient to suddenly end the Scholarship Class leader’s “unlucky” round 13.
With the grid for race two (round 14) being determined by a reverse order of the top five in race one followed by the rest of the field, it was Jamie Caroline who started ahead of the pack from pole with Bird in P10, Quinn directly behind him in P12 and Kjaergaard at the rear of the 16-car field.
In another twist of fate for #TeamFortec it was Kjaergaard’s turn to bring home valuable championship points in P10 and a third placed rookie trophy for his British team on Sunday morning as an incident packed 13-laps battle knocked out the other three Fortec drivers.
With the weekend finale starting grid being set by the fields second fastest qualifying times, Quinn started from P4, Kjaergaard P13, Caroline in P14 and Bird from P16 on Sunday afternoon at Croft.
The challenging weekend ended on a higher note for the Fortec team as Quinn returned to the Rookie podium with a stunning class win, fastest rookie lap of the race and P4 overall in the tricky wet conditions. Caroline had completed the race hot on his gearbox in P5, however a 10.5 seconds penalty for cutting the chicane on the opening lap demoted him to P8 on the final results sheet post-race.
Kjaergaard had another extremely strong race making his moves stick past Simmons and Martin to narrowly miss out on another top ten finish but achieve his second Scholarship Class trophy of the event. Frank Bird put in another solid performance to close round 15 in fifteenth.
Dan Mitchell, team manager, Fortec Motorsports British F4 Team:
“Croft was a weekend of what could have been. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to go our way; we didn’t quite have the pace in qualifying which then led to a string of DNF’s.
It was important to move on from race one and two quickly. We showed great pace in race three which saw Alex and Nicolai top the rookie podium, the latter with some stunning overtaking moves in tricky conditions. All four drivers took promise from race three, which I think is important going into the six-week summer break.”
Alex Quinn, #7 Fortec Motorsports:
“We were very unlucky this weekend, but got a chance to show our pace throughout testing and in race three. I’m looking forward to coming back stronger after the break.”
Nicolai Kjaergaard, #63 Fortec Motorsports
“I had a difficult qualifying and after the DNF in race one I had to really focus. I managed to get back in the top ten in race two and was happy to finish the last round in eleventh in really difficult conditions. I think our race speed was a lot better than what my qualifying pace showed, so I am hoping that we can build on this for Snetterton.”
Jamie Caroline, #38 Fortec Motorsports
“The weekend could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse! We achieved some decent points and made the most of a poor qualifying. A win was on the cards in race two, but contact unfortunately made us retire. I am enjoying being with the Fortec team and know that together we’re a recipe for success.”
Frank Bird, #67 Fortec Motorsports
“It feels great to score my first British F4 point and get on the 2016 championship table. It was really frustrating being spun and then unfortunately hit by Alex [Quinn] in race two, and the conditions in race three were extremely tricky. Lack of visibility and grip made for a challenging drive, but that’s motorsport and I am looking forward to the next event.”
Alex Quinn maintains his lead in the Scholarship Class championship with 276 points. The next rounds of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford take place on 30-31 July 2016 at Snetterton circuit, Norfolk.
1st Fewtrell 184 points, 2nd Florescu 164, 3rd Pull 153, 4th Leeds 152, 5th DeFrancesco 146, 6th Fielding 134, 7th Alex Quinn 112, 8th Martins 110, 9th Jamie Caroline 109, 10th Goddard 102.
1st Alex Quinn 276 points, 2nd J. Martin 228, 3rd Nicolai Kjaergaard 169, 4th Simmons 143, 5th R. Martin 130