BRITISH F4 THRILLS AT OULTON COME RAIN OR SHINE
Australian Oscar Piastri drove superbly in Sunday's race to take his first win – Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Jamie Caroline rocketed off the line from pole position and never looked back at a drying Oulton Park circuit in round 10 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost. In doing so the Carlin ace increased his victory tally to eight for the campaign, equalling the record for number of wins in a season which belonged to 2015 champion Lando Norris who also set the benchmark with Trevor Carlin’s outfit.
TRS Arden’s Alex Quinn was in hot pursuit of Caroline throughout the race having got the better of Carlin’s Logan Sargeant at the start along with Linus Lundqvist (Double R Racing) and Patrik Pasma (Carlin).
Caroline wasted no time in the opening laps, building up a gap of several seconds and despite Quinn’s strong pace he managed to maintain the advantage on the way to the chequered flag.
“I know Alex is good in the wet so I tried to build a gap, but he picked the pace up as the race progressed,” said Caroline. “I saw the gap coming down a little bit at one point so I pushed again to get the gap back up, controlling the race. When you can do that you know you’re pretty much home and dry.
“It’s great to go level with Lando for number of wins in a season. Hopefully we can go one better than him in the next race and there is plenty more opportunity for more wins later this season.
“It’s important to take things one race at a time though. Anything can happen. That’s especially the case in the reverse grid race when I want to keep my nose clean. Hopefully I can get a good start in the next race and stay out of trouble to pick up some good points for the title bid.
“It’s all going to plan so far and I’ve got Billy [Monger] cheering me on so I want to do it for him.”
Added Quinn: “It’s nice to be on the podium. Jamie and I were very similar in terms of pace. We were quick in different parts of the track though. I was quick in the technical parts of the track, but not quite as quick in the faster parts.
“The race was challenging with wet and dry conditions. It was a fun race to drive and I’m happy with the podium.
“I was trying to cool the tyres down at the end, looking for the damp patches on the circuit. I saw Linus was catching me. He was very quick towards the end whereas we were very quick at the beginning."
In addition to Sargeant, Lundqvist leapt past Piastri at the start to earn himself third and was rapid in the closing stages rattling off consecutive fastest laps to close in on Quinn.
“The Double R Racing guys did a brilliant job getting the car setup exactly how I wanted it for the wet conditions,” said Lundqvist.
“At the beginning I was very careful, just trying to get a feel for things because the last time we drove around here in the wet was in February.
“The tyres came to me towards the end. I managed the tyres really well. I thought second place might be on, but it was just a little too far away this time."
TRS Arden’s Oscar Piastri recorded a fantastic maiden victory in round 11 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost. Starting from pole position, the Aussie emerged victorious in the reverse grid race after a thrilling battle with Logan Sargeant (Carlin) who started alongside him on the front row.
The duel was the latest chapter in a rivalry that has spanned throughout their motor racing careers, in the karting ranks and the sister F4 series in the UAE. Both drivers were on the hunt for their first win in the UK’s most competitive junior single-seater championship having already starred on the podium this season.
The leaders were nose to tail as the race progressed, Sargeant trying to fashion a overtake around the 2.2 mile Cheshire circuit. Piastri had to use all his guile to defend his lead, positioning his car perfectly to fend off Sargeant. The two drivers separated by a mere 0.308s when the race was brought to a premature end following a spectacular off for championship leader Jamie Caroline.
“To get this first British F4 win feels really good,” said Piastri. “It would have been nice if it had been full distance and therefore full points, but it still means a lot.
“I think we knew that the pace was definitely there. There were just a couple of things we needed to fall into place. We’ve been up there throughout the season and I was just waiting for my chance to make it onto the top step.
“My initial start was really good and I built up a nice little gap. I pushed a little bit over the limit and made a couple of mistakes which allowed Logan to catch up though. Once he had caught up I just focused on consistently putting my car in the right place to keep him behind.
“The TRS Arden-prepared cars have been really fast this weekend, especially Alex and I. It’s great to get this win for the team. It’s their second of the season and hopefully there are many more to come.”
“Oscar and I both got really good starts off the line so I couldn’t get the jump on him,” explained Sargeant. “He built up a little bit of the gap on the first lap, but then I closed in on him.
“I put him under pressure a couple of times and I committed to one move, but he shut the door and I couldn’t quite get by him. Maybe if the race had gone on a bit longer I could have done it. I think we definitely had the pace to win.
“I want to say a huge thanks to the Carlin boys. They’ve done a mega job. I’m taking things very much race by race, learning as much as I can and trying to always do my best.”
Caroline was on maximum attack having dropped down the field following an off on lap one and then going too deep at Druids. However, his progress was halted after making contact with team-mate Pasma in the braking zone of Old Hall Corner which catapulted Caroline into the tyre barrier in spectacular fashion. The Pirtek Racing backed star walked away from the incident unscathed. Testament to the safety of his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer.
With damage to the tyre barrier the race was halted and declared with seven laps completed; the top 10 drivers receiving half points due to the race not reaching 75 per cent distance.
Despite the contact with Caroline, Pasma recorded his third podium of the season by clinging onto third to bring home valuable points for his championship bid and leave Oulton Park fourth in the standings.
“It’s great to be back on the podium,” said Pasma. “My speed in the dry today wasn’t as good as it was in the wet yesterday, and I think at the next meeting things will be better.
“I’ve had one second place finish and two thirds now this season. I really want my first win and I’m working incredibly hard to achieve it. I know my time will come soon.”
With round 11 having taken place today following its postponement yesterday due to delays in the schedule, round 12 did not take place at Oulton Park. It has been provisionally rescheduled for the Knockhill meeting on Saturday 12 August.
Prior to that there is plenty more Ford EcoBoost-powered action in store as the British F4 title battle heads to Croft in North Yorkshire on 10/11 June.
Alex Battipaglia (Source: British F4)