29 Aug Quinn and Kjaergaard Forge Ahead in British F4 Championship Rookie Class Cup
Alex Quinn cemented his lead in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford Rookie Class competition with a hat trick of class victories at Rockingham Motor Speedway, taking his 2016 tally to 15 wins. Fortec Motorsports team mate Nicolai Kjaergaard stormed to second place in the 2016 Rookie class standings after an impressive event, with Jamie Caroline producing some of the most outstanding overtaking of the weekend.
The Fortec Motorsports squad commenced its British F4 Rockingham attack with Quinn rounding out the top ten in the combined classification for Friday’s practice sessions. Jamie Caroline, in the #38 Fortec Motorsport Mygale-Ford, set the twelfth fastest time, with team-mates rookie Nicolai Kjaergaard and Frank Bird in fourteenth and fifteenth respectively.
Saturday brought changeable conditions and a drying track for qualifying, but the Fortec squad pulled it together once again to make the best of the tyres and track time. Quinn was the fastest rookie and Fortec driver ending the session in P3, however, with second fastest driver Devlin DeFrancesco carried a 10 place grid penalty from the Knockhill event, therefore Quinn was promoted to the front row of the grid for the start of race one (round 22). Kjaergaard was ninth, followed by Bird in P10 and Caroline in a surprisingly disappointing eighteenth.
The afternoon brought a thrilling round 22 for the spectators at Rockingham and as the rain fell Quinn flew off the line ensuring that he was side by side with pole sitter James Pull going into the first corner. Pull emerged from Deene hairpin in the lead, but 15 year-old Quinn continued to match the pace of the Carlin racer up until the half way stage when only then did Pull edge a gap to take the victory in the increasingly slippery conditions. Quinn took the chequered flag not only achieving a further second placed championship podium and fastest Rookie lap, but also his 13th Rookie class win of 2016.
After a below par qualifying, British F4 appointed rainmaster, Jamie Caroline, ended the day as the standout driver by a country mile. A storming start from the back of the grid saw him fly through the field in the drag around the banking on the run down to Deene hairpin, boldly hanging on around the outside to pass several cars to conclude his opening lap an astonishing ten places higher. The Pirtek Racing star continued to shine when he passed another four cars on his way to fourth position, pulling off the move of the race going cleanly around the outside of Sennan Fielding (JHR) at Tarzan.
Nicolai Kjaergaard came home in eighth place overall, and as the second Rookie, earning him points to boost him in to the runner up position of the 2016 Rookie class cup and awarding him pole position for the start of round 23. Frank Bird drove a solid race to cross the finish line in P14.
With a reverse grid for the start of round 23 it was Kjaergaard who lined up in pole position for #TeamFortec, with Caroline on the third row in P5, Quinn directly behind him in P7 and Bird in P13.
When the lights went out the leading four drivers all dived into the first corner, with Rafael Martins (Arden) and Kjaergaard making contact. Luckily both stayed pointing in the right direction as the Ford EcoBoost stampede sped around the Rockingham Motor Speedway banking. Kjaergaard bravely held his own to take the chequered flag as third rookie in P11 overall.
Caroline profited from the drama at the start to finding himself soon running up in third, only to lose out on position at a safety car restart after the recovery of Matthiesen’s JTR car at Yentwood corner. He then found himself under attack from team-mate Quinn, but as the race progressed was able to gradually break clear and complete the contest in P4.
In the closing laps Quinn fell into the clutches of James Pull who pulled off a late braking move on the Racing Steps Foundation backed rookie to claim fifth. However, Pull was later excluded from the race for overtaking under safety car boards and flags, leaving Quinn to claim P5 in addition to his 14th Rookie Class win. An electrical issue caused Bird’s premature retirement from the race on lap eight.
The 20 minutes long weekend finale on Sunday saw Quinn complete a hat trick of Rookie class victories by achieving a fifth placed finish overall. Caroline, who started round 24 in P18 after his disappointing qualifying session, took the chequered flag in P14 with his Danish team mate Kjaergaard finishing in P18 whilst achieving a third place trophy in the Rookie class. Bird, who had started the race from the sixth row of the grid in P11 crossed the finish line to conclude the Rockingham weekend in P17.
Dan Mitchell, team manager, Fortec Motorsports British F4 Team:
“The weekend was frustrating. After a disappointing Friday we really left ourselves with a lot of hard work to do over night. The work paid off and we saw a very different Saturday. Qualifying was much better; Frank was P11 in the end but the session saw him fighting for pole at one stage! Nicolai did a great job to find his Snetterton form and be in the top eight. Quinn on the front row was a brilliant job.
We would have liked better results from Sunday’s races; we didn’t quite race hard enough to enable more podiums, but the boys are still learning. Silverstone is next and after a good couple of tests we are really looking forward to this one.”
Alex Quinn, #7 Fortec Motorsports
“Overall it was a pretty good weekend with constantly good points thanks to my 2nd, 5th and 5th. I know where I need to improve for Silverstone and our pace should be good!”
Jamie Caroline, #38 Fortec Motorsports
“It was a decent weekend made hard by the poor qualifying session we had. I did the best I could given the positions I had to start all the races from and had a great time in race two! It was unfortunate that race three was ruined by my having to avoid an incident, but we’re looking ahead to Silverstone now and what we can do there.”