MALONEY CLINCHES A DOUBLE AT CROFT IN BRITISH F4


Zane Maloney (Carlin) now leads the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost after another perfect weekend – double pole position, two race wins, both fastest laps and a new lap record – at Croft.

Pole position, including a new lap record of 1:19.547 for the Barbadian racer, set the tone for what could prove a pivotal weekend in the title race, but with fellow contenders Louis Foster, Sebastian Alvarez (both Double R) and Arden Motorsport’s Bart Horsten for company on the front two rows, replicating his breakthrough triumphs at Thruxton would be no mean feat.

A fast start and well-managed safety car restart would be key as Maloney marked up a third win of the campaign in the opener, but the focus was largely on the action behind.

Alvarez was adjudged to have made a false start and was handed a 10-second penalty whilst running second on the road behind Maloney, and though he was able to claw back to fifth it cost the Mexican valuable ground in the points table.

That left Horsten to assume second after another bold move, this time to the outside of Clervaux, gave the Australian the upper handed versus Foster, who rounded out the podium.

A reversal of that battle proved to be the only difference in the ITV4-televised final race, with Foster – fresh from finishing his GCSE examinations – able to get the best of Horsten second time around to secure his sixth visit to the podium this season.

More significantly in terms of the championship, however, was an off for Alvarez into Clervaux, with the Double R racer ending race three in the barriers and in need of a response next time out at Oulton Park.

The intervening second contest was cancelled due to heavy rain and worsening weather conditions at the 2.1-mile Yorkshire circuit on Saturday afternoon.

For Maloney, another two victories in Ford’s winning formula extends his streak to four in a row, equalling the record set by fellow Carlin racer, friend and driver coach Jamie Caroline back in his title-winning 2017 campaign.

Horsten’s team-mates Tommy Foster and Alex Connor enjoyed a solid haul of points in the other two ‘Red Arrows’, taking fifth and sixth respectively in each contest. Joe Turney (Carlin) was another to put in a stand-out drive, rising through the field to fourth in the final race.

Fortec Motorsport duo Roberto Faria and Mariano Martinez continued their consistent points-scoring exploits, the former notably surviving an off at the Chicane with Josh Skelton on Sunday afternoon to continue his run – only twice in 2019 has the Brazilian not taken the chequered flag in the top ten.

It proved to be a frustrating double-header for Skelton, but the Cumbria-based driver can take solace from his pace in the cancelled second race, with the JHR Developments’ racer leading expertly from the front in difficult conditions prior to the stoppage.

Likewise for Skelton’s team-mate Carter Williams and the sole Richardson Racing entry of Luke Browning, the latter dropping back in race one with a 10-second time penalty for an out of position start, before managing seventh in the final contest.

A mechanical problem before the start of the formation lap on Sunday prevented Reema Juffali from taking part, but the Double R racer showed good pace across the weekend and will be another one to watch when the category resumes at Oulton Park, Cheshire, over the weekend of 29th-30th June.

Zane Maloney (#31) said, “It’s just going perfectly so far. Jamie [Caroline] is one of my great friends, I’ll be messaging him later to ask how he’s doing!

“The team has just been doing an amazing job, it’s nice to also take four victories in a row with Carlin like Jamie did. Most of it is because of my team, my coaches, my sponsors – I do the on-track part, but all the off-track part is done by them.

“It was quite comfortable, but I was still pushing one hundred percent, I will never back off unless we have another race to save the tyres.

“I’ve been to Oulton Park once, only for one day, but I love the track. As a racing driver, you need to be quick at every track, so hopefully my driving style will be up there and I hope to get a couple more wins, podiums and just do the best possible job I can.”

Louis Foster (#26) said, “It’s not been a bad weekend at all. Looking back at the limited amount of testing we had because of my GCSEs, I had half the amount the other guys have had.

“We knew Zane [Maloney] and Carlin were going to be quick here, so this weekend has been about minimizing our loss. Zane’s taken the championship lead, which to be honest I’m not too bothered about because I know we’ll get it back at Oulton Park because Double R Racing have an amazing car around there.

“I think me and Seb [Alvarez] are going to be able to stop Carlin’s winning streak so far.”

Bart Horsten (#50) said, “It’s been a solid weekend. It was good to finally get a good qualifying and then two solid podium finishes. The pace is pretty close with the front guys – it was a bit less crazy than the last few weekends!”