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CAROLINE CROWNED FIA BRITISH FORMULA 4 CHAMPION

CAROLINE CROWNED FIA BRITISH FORMULA 4 CHAMPION
 
Jamie Caroline secured the 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA - powered by Ford EcoBoost title at Brands Hatch to cap a spectacular season for the Carlin racer. 

An eighth-place finish in a dramatic opening race was enough to see him clinch the title with two races in hand. It comes on the back of a record-breaking campaign for the 18-year-old who has topped the standings since winning the opening race of the season.

A further nine victories would follow, seeing him record the most wins for a driver in a British F4 season, and also helping him surpass the record for points scored in a season set by Lando Norris in 2015. 

Carlin had even more to celebrate by winning the Teams' Cup for the third consecutive year. Trevor Carlin's outfit recording an impressive 30 podiums, including 12 race wins across the season, with one race still remaining. 

Round 28 saw Linus Lundqvist return to the top step after a scintillating start to take his fifth win of 2017 for Double R Racing, and banish memories of a disastrous opening weekend earlier in the year at Brands Hatch. 

Meanwhile, in the penultimate race of the season Oliver York and Fortec Motorsports seized the initiative to emerge victorious.

The Ford F4 Challenge Cup is finely poised with just one race remaining. While TRS Arden's Olli Caldwell doubled up with Class victories, Richardson Racing's Harry Webb eked out a nine point lead over Fortec Motorsports' Hampus Ericsson ahead of the decider.
ROUND 28: CAROLINE CROWNED FIA BRITISH FORMULA 4 CHAMPION AS LUNDQVIST WINS
  • Eighth-place finish enough to put Caroline’s points tally out of reach with two races in hand.
  • Carlin win Teams’ Cup for third consecutive year.
  • Lundqvist makes it five wins for the season after superb start.

Jamie Caroline secured the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title at Brands Hatch to cap a record-breaking season for the Pirtek Racing-backed Carlin star. An eighth-place finish enough to put him clear of title rival Oscar Piastri in the standings. Meanwhile, at the front of the field Linus Lundqvist took his fifth win of the campaign following a lightning start.

In typical Caroline fashion there was no shortage of drama. Starting fourth on the grid the championship leader found himself in the gravel trap at turn one after a tangle with Alex Quinn. The latter was left stranded while Caroline was able to escape.

The stage was set for a trademark Caroline comeback through the field and the 18-year-old did not disappoint, scything his way from last to eighth by the time the chequered flag fell.

Said the 2017 FIA British Formula 4 Champion: “It would have been nice to secure the title with another victory but I'm delighted to wrap it up with a few races to space.

"To become the British F4 champion is a good thing to add to my CV, and I'm proud to have taken my second title for Pirtek Racing.

“On top of that I’m proud to have made it a hat-trick of British F4 drivers’ titles for Carlin, as well as play a key role in bringing home a historic third consecutive Teams’ Cup for them.

“Going into this season, my aim was to fight for the title but I didn't expect to enjoy the level of success I've had. To break the points record and to set a new record for wins in a season is fantastic, and hopefully before the weekend is over I can add to that win tally.

“So many people have supported me to get to this point and I have to thank all of my family, Phil Glew, Edge Sporting Management, Carlin, everyone at Pirtek UK and all my other sponsors, as I wouldn't have been able to take this title without them.”

Despite Caroline and Quinn’s tangle promoting rival Piastri up to fourth, the Aussie was unable to make further inroads on the leading trio: Lundqvist, Sargeant and Simmons. It meant that even if Caroline had finished outside the points, he still would have been crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion because Piastri needed to take at least 18 points out of Caroline’s lead in the opening race of weekend to keep the title fight alive.

Out front, Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist was in complete control after a daring move around the outside of poleman Logan Sargeant into turn one. The Swede handled two Safety Car restarts impeccably, the first following the recovery of Quinn’s car, the second coming as a result of Lucas Alecco Roy beaching his car in the gravel on the exit of Clearways.

“The move at the start was decisive,” explained Lundqvist. “There was no doubt in my mind that I wasn’t going to come out of turn one in the lead.

“Double R have done an amazing job with the car and I feel like I’m extracting the maximum performance from myself.

“It was hard to find a rhythm out front because of the Safety Cars, but I think I handled them well. I kept the temperature in the tyres and brakes, and was able to perfect the restarts.

“I feel like I had the edge over the field in that race. We’ve had a very good car throughout the weekend. We almost put everything together for pole in qualifying and we did it when it mattered in the race.”

Lundqvist was kept honest throughout proceedings however by Sargeant. Although the American ace was unable to convert pole into his third Ford EcoBoost-powered win, his second place coupled with Caroline’s points score was enough to secure Carlin its third consecutive Teams' Cup title in the series.

Ayrton Simmons completed the podium, avoiding the drama at the start and joined the stalemate at the front which saw the leading trio separated by just over a second at the fall of the chequer.

There was further drama lower down the order as Ford F4 Challenge Cup honours were fought for. Class leader Hampus Ericsson’s race came undone when a move on Karl Massaad for eighth failed to go his way and left him tumbling down the field. It saw Olli Cadlwell become leading Challenge Cup runner which he maintained until the race’s conclusion to secure his fourth win in the Class.

Ericsson was then faced with the prospect of making his way through the order. The Fortec Motorsports racer was halted by Challenge Cup rival Harry Webb (Richardson Racing), who fended the Swede off to take second and crucially the lead in the standings by three points with two races remaining.

 
Pictured: Feature shot - Carlin's Jamie Caroline celebrates becoming the 2017 FIA British Formula 4 Champion. Above, clockwise from top left: Double R Racing's Linus Lundqvist made it five wins for the season in Round 28; Round 29 Ford F4 Challenge Cup podium (from left to right): Lucca Allen, Olli Caldwell and Harry Webb; JHR Developments driver Manuel Sulaiman recorded a popular maiden podium; Oliver York and Fortec Motorsports seized the initiative in the penultimate race of the season to emerge victorious. Images by Jakob Ebrey Photography. 
 
ROUND 29: YORK TAKES SECOND FORD ECOBOOST-POWERED WIN OF CAREER
  • Fast-starting York scores win number two of campaign.
  • Caroline follows up Championship win with brilliant second place.
  • Manuel Sulaiman claims maiden British F4 podium.

Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver York seized the initiative in a dramatic race at Brands Hatch to take his second win in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.

Having made an excellent getaway which almost saw him take second place in the opening exchanges from front row starter Patrik Pasma; York pulled off more start line heroics after the race was restarted following a red flag on lap two after a collision involving Harry Dyson, Jamie Sharp and Lucas Alecco Roy.

The Fortec Motorsports racer shot off the line and squeezed through a gap not much wider than a British F4 car between Manuel Sulaiman and Pasma to take the lead. The latter taking to pit lane for a nosecone change. Fastest lap of the race acting as some consolation.

In second place Manuel Sulaiman was soon under pressure from Jamie Caroline who, having been crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion in the preceding race, was determined to celebrate in the best way possible by pushing to the absolute limit.

The Warlingham racer pulled off some audacious overtakes to make quick progress up the order from eighth. A particular highlight was his pass on race one winner Linus Lundqvist into Paddock Hill Bend on lap two; Caroline leaving it late to dive down Lundqvist’s inside, locking his front right tyre and just holding on to make the corner without running off the track.

Starting sixth at the restart provided Caroline with the opportunity to entertain with another trademark storming start, overtaking several cars around the outside of turn one and he ultimately dispatched Sulaiman with a precision move through Clearways.

It left York having to fend off the advancing Caroline for the lead and he did so brilliantly to cross the finish line just 0.330s ahead of Caroline.

Said York: “My first start was really good, but the second start was even better. The initial launch was spot on and it helped propel me into the lead before the first corner.

“I thought we were going to crash because the gap was incredibly tight as Manuel and Patrik began to close it down, but thankfully I came out unscathed!

“I had the advantage over Caroline through turns three and four. It’s quite hard to overtake here and getting the initial gap was a big help in keeping him at bay.

“It’s a great result for the team to get this win at the end of the season and we bounced back brilliantly from the disappointment of qualifying when we couldn’t show our true pace after a trip into the wall.”

Added Caroline: “I was so close to hitting Linus when I made that move. He didn’t give me much room, but I thought I would send it up the inside with a bold attack.

“Second place is a great result from eighth on the grid. York had newer tyres than me in that race and that was the difference in the end.

“Tomorrow we’ll aim to end the campaign in style. It would be fantastic to make it 11 wins for the season. I’ve got to make my records harder for future drivers in this championship to beat!”

Behind the leading pair, JHR Developments driver Sulaiman was putting on an exemplary display of defensive driving as Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri and Ayrton Simmons hunted him down for the final podium spot. Sulaiman was resolute however and refused to crack under the pressure, positioning his car perfectly to bring home his maiden British F4 podium.

Said an ecstatic Sulaiman: “My first start was really good. It was fantastic to be out front for the first couple of laps, leading the race.

“Although we couldn’t quite get the win, I’m so happy to get my first podium in the series. It’s a brilliant result for the team and I. We’ve been working so hard for this.

“To finish the year on a high like this is special. We have been fast in all conditions this weekend so it’s great to turn that pace into a strong result. I think we really showed that pace too in the battle with Sargeant. To keep him behind shows how far we have come in such a short space of time.”

TRS Arden’s Olli Caldwell put in one of his best performances of the season to finish seventh after holding off the experienced pairing of Linus Lundqvist and Alex Quinn.

Caldwell’s strong points finish was made even sweeter as he secured his second Ford F4 Challenge Cup win of the day with fellow Challenge Cup runners Harry Webb, Lucca Allen and Hampus Ericsson finishing 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.

Richardson Racing’s Webb will be happiest of the trio, extending his Challenge Cup lead by six more points to give him a nine point advantage over Ericsson heading into the final race of the season. Meanwhile Falcon Motorsport’s Allen battled brilliantly to keep Ericsson behind him and take the final podium spot in the Class.

“Hampus had a good qualifying which put him ahead of us in race one, but then he had an off in the first race and we’ve just capitalised from there,” said Caldwell.

“Being able to hold Lundqvist back, a driver who has fought at the front all year is a great result for me. It felt like we were slightly quicker too so that makes me really happy.

“My restart after the red flag was really good and I got Karl Massaad off the line which is important because it put another driver between myself and the rest of the Challenge Cup runners.

“I would love to make it a hat-trick of Challenge Cup wins this weekend. We’ve done it twice today so hopefully it can be third time lucky tomorrow.”

Posted by F4 Championship Media Office on 01 October 2017 13:43

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