QUINN AND SARGEANT RULE ROCKINGHAM ON BRITISH F4 SUNDAY
The British F4 drivers enjoyed under clear skies in front of packed crowds at Rockingham on Sunday – Photo: Jakob Ebrey
TRS Arden’s Alex Quinn scored his second win of the 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season, after a patient drive from second on the grid and a bold move on long-time leader Patrik Pamsa to take to the top step at Rockingham.
Quinn was the better off line of the front-row starters, but Carlin’s Pasma positioned his car perfectly to remain in first. The Finn then endured immense pressure from Quinn, covering off every move that the 2016 British F4 Rookie Champion could throw at him.
Quinn continued to stalk his prey, biding his time and making the decisive move on lap 13. The Cornish racer getting a better run out of Deene hairpin and boldly running around the outside of Pasma through Yentwood.
Unleashed, Quinn immediately recorded his fastest laps of the race and was able to comfortably take the chequer.
“It’s good to be back on the top step,” said Quinn. “I had to work hard for it. I had a lot of attempts to overtake, but Patrik defended so well and that made it difficult to get past.
“Eventually I got the run on him coming out of turn two and got around the outside at turn three. It was a really tricky move and a little bit scary, but I’m happy I pulled it off.
“I was then immediately able to build a gap and the race got easier from that point.
“I knew I was a lot quicker than Patrik so I was careful not to rush things, overdo it or make a stupid move. I waited patiently and it played out right for me in the end.
“It’s good to get a win here. I’ve never had great results here in the past, so it’s nice to change that and this helps us in the championship.”
“The race was really tough,” added Pasma. “It wasn’t the result we wanted, but we just have to keep working hard and improve to get that win.
“I led the majority of the race and unfortunately I made a slight mistake towards the end which gave Alex the opportunity to make a move which was a shame. I’m proud of how well I defended under immense pressure for so many laps.”
As Quinn and Pasma duked it out in front it brought Simmons, Sargeant and York into play. At one point the leading quintet were covered by less than two seconds in a fight for top honours.
Simmons did well to take the final podium spot, balancing attack with defence while managing heavily worn out tyres.
“We had old tyres on in that race which made it harder to keep up with Alex and Patrik, but we didn’t drop too far back from them which was good,” explained Simmons. “I think I was helped by the fact that they were battling with each other.
“I had to defend a lot in that race too. I had to balance attacking with defending, managing the tyres and driving smart. I’m happy with my performance.
“We’ve saved our best tyres for the final race when we will start from P2 so hopefully we can take the win.
“I’m sure Sargeant won’t make it easy starting from pole. I finished ahead of him in this race so hopefully I can come out on top again.”
Rockingham’s bumper BTCC crowd were left saluting the Sargeant, as the Carlin racer took a commanding lights to flag maiden victory in the live-televised 24th round of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.
Having played a starring role throughout the season, the American claimed a popular and well-deserved win from pole position.
He nailed the start, immediately putting daylight between himself and the field. From then on the Infinity Sports Management-backed rising star controlled the race expertly. He was calm, composed and incredibly quick.
“That was so much fun,” said an ecstatic Sargeant. “First of all I want to say a massive thank you to Carlin. They’ve done an amazing job with this car. I also want to say a big thanks to Infinity Sports Management who have helped me massively this season with my driving.
“It felt like the longest race of my life, leading from lights to flag! I was really consistent and was able to take it easy at times, not pushing too hard and not making mistakes. I could build up a gap throughout the race and was able to maintain the lead comfortably.
“I got the best starts I have all season in both of today’s races and that makes life easier too.
“We saved our newest tyres for this race because we knew we were on pole so it was our best chance of winning. That was the target and that’s what we achieved.
“We’ve been chipping away in the championship and this weekend has seen us take another big points haul. It’s not going to be easy, but if we can get some more wins who knows how high we might end up? There’s still everything to fight for.”
Front-row starter Ayrton Simmons found himself immediately under attack from the fast-starting Linus Lundqvist and Oliver York. The latter making it past coming into turn two while Jamie Caroline dived around the outside of all three drivers at Deene, emerging in third behind York.
With pace in hand and having recorded the fastest lap of the race on the third tour of the 1.94-mile Speedway, Caroline backed Lundqvist into Simmons to give the Swede plenty to think about.
Simmons duly obliged and as he squabbled with Lundqvist, ultimately coming out on top after firing up the inside of the Double R racer at Tarzan to take fourth on lap nine, Caroline was able to break away. The Carlin driver followed in York’s wheel tracks to bring home a valuable haul of points for his championship bid.
“We’ve shown our pace this weekend with two second place finishes,” commented York. “Overall it’s been a good weekend. After qualifying P2 we’ve just progressed from there.
“I managed to get past Ayrton at the start which was important because he is a hard driver to overtake and then I was able to get my head down from there.
“We had the pace to challenge for the win in that race, but we struggled a little bit on the older tyres.
“The kind of form we’re now showing is really good and proves we can be a real force in this championship.
“I’ve been working with a new engineer Mick Kouros for the last few rounds and we’re gelling really well. This is translating into the strong results we’ve got this weekend. Mick knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s made some improvements to the car since Knockhill so these podiums are a nice reward for him and the team.”
“Our starts have been pretty good this weekend,” said Caroline. “We haven’t lost a place off the line.
“Overall it’s been a good weekend points wise. It means I can relax a little bit more with a 74.5 point lead heading to Silverstone.
“If we can have a clean Silverstone weekend with three podiums then we could be looking at wrapping up the title then.
“I knew pace wise I would be quicker than Lundqvist based on the long runs from Friday, so I knew if I backed Lundqvist into Simmons that would cause them to have a squabble and then I could break away. I’m pleased to get fastest lap too.
“I didn’t really want to risk a decent points’ finish trying to overtake York. It’s been a good weekend’s work.”
Alex Battipaglia (Source: British F4)