GODDARD SNATCHES MAIDEN BRITISH F4 WIN ON DAY 1 AT CROFT
Goddard (#93) saw off all comers to score a fantastic initial career win – Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Zane Goddard bounced back in style at Croft; making up for missing out on a maiden F4 British Championship victory a fortnight ago with a superb drive from pole for Double R Racing in Round 13.
Despite dominating the race, Goddard’s victory was put in jeopardy when the safety car peeled into the pits with one lap remaining. It set up a thrilling final lap battle for top honours as Devlin DeFrancesco went into maximum attack mode.
DeFrancesco chose to make his move at Clervaux, but as the two drivers ran side by side in a heart-stopping moment Goddard was resolute in his defence. It was hard, but it was fair. The Australian clearly unwilling to see victory escape his grasp once more.
Until the final lap Goddard had been in a league of his own. After a clean getaway he settled into a rhythm and proceeded to rattle off fastest lap after fastest lap. The race victory a fitting reward for a driver who has shown flashes of brilliance all year and this weekend appears to have found another level of performance.
Said an ecstatic Goddard: “That was a hectic race. I got a good enough start and then I nearly went off at Sunny because I thought the tyres had more temperature in them. I got the gap up to about four seconds. I tried to manage the life in the tyres by not pushing too hard, but I was still able to pull away.
“Then the safety car came out and I thought we were going to finish under it. I didn’t expect it to come in and then so much happened at turn one. I left Devlin as much room as I could. I just managed to hold him off.
“I’m so stoked and absolutely buzzing now I have got my first win. Oulton was tough, but I’ve come back strong this weekend. There are still two more races to go so let’s see what we can achieve.”
Carlin’s DeFrancesco has been the only man to consistently take the fight to Goddard this weekend and did so in the race. A strong start from the Canadian wasn’t quite enough to see him take the lead, but when the safety car came in with one lap remaining it provided him with an opportunity for a last gasp assault.
As usual DeFrancesco was bold and brave, but was unable to pull off a race winning move. Instead he was forced to take evasive action through Hawthorn which ultimately saw him lose out to Luis Leeds and Max Fewtrell.
Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds arrived at Croft with a point to prove and on a mission to get his title challenge back on track. This determination was evident at the race start when he leapt past Max Fewtrell and kept his cool on the hectic final lap to avoid contact with DeFrancesco.
Said Leeds: “It’s great to be on the podium after a tough time at Oulton Park. I had a really good start to get up to third. The safety car came in really late and I knew that was my opportunity to move forward. I saw Devlin and Zane have a real go at each other at the first corner and was lucky to avoid Devlin. I had a real good battle with Max too who was on my tail throughout.”
Fewtrell is another who has the F4 British Championship title in his sights. Despite losing out to Leeds off the line he put in an assured performance to claim yet another podium this season and close the gap to Petru Florescu at the top of the standings.
Added Fewtrell: “I didn’t get a great start. Luis did a really good job braking late into turn one. Towards the middle of the race I started to come back at him quite a lot and I was quite pleased with the pace. Then the safety car came out and there was a bit of chaos in turn one.
“I’m glad to get this podium after the start which wasn’t so good. Overall the race pace was really good and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
After the race it was deemed that Leeds gained an unfair advantage by cutting the chicane on the final lap and he was given a 0.200s time penalty. Enough to see Fewtrell move up to second in the final classification.
Florescu’s race ended almost before it even began. The Romanian an unlucky victim of a mid-pack skirmish at the first corner. Fellow championship contenders James Pull and Sennan Fielding didn’t fare much better. The former colliding with Ayrton Simmons at the final corner on lap one and the latter forced to retire due to damage to his car.
James Pull fought back valiantly however. He profited from Kjaergaard and Butel’s collision at Tower Bend on lap 11 which triggered safety car, but then showed his class to overtake both Matthiesen and Bird on the final lap.
JTR’s Matthiesen put in a stellar performance to race comfortably inside the top ten for the duration of the race, whilst Bird was also a very popular point scorer. Tenth place his best result of the season and evidence of the progress that this young Fortec Motorsports talent is making in a fiercely competitive series.
From 13th Jamie 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 stage two of the Caroline comeback sparked into life as he found a way past Rafael Martins and Alex Quinn, albeit making contact with the latter.
The contact was sufficient to end Quinn’s race and meant that Jack Martin emerged victorious in the Rookie class – the second rookie win of the year for the driver. It was a welcome win for a driver who loves racing at Croft and has been in fine form this weekend.
Commented Martin: “I think Alex Quinn was a little unlucky, but this is a great result. The team have done a great job setting up the car and I was able to get the maximum out of it. I think we can perform even better in the remaining races. We have made a big step forward.”