Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw has said the team is ‘comfortable’ with the wet weather pace shown by his three drivers in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship’s first round. The Hathersage based team and their trio joined nineteen other drivers at Silverstone for the first races of the year on the Grand Prix layout for the F4 class of 2014. Ollerenshaw lamented a pair of DNF’s for rookie racer Alfredo Zabalza but celebrated the consistency of his two experienced F4 hands.
“Gustavo and Rahul have both had a decent weekend”, he said, “It’s always important to try and get the season off to a clean start with three finishes and they both achieved that. We’re very comfortable with the wet-weather pace we have, there’s a little bit of work to do in dry conditions but we’re sure we’ll be right there at Brands Hatch.
“It has been a tough first weekend for Alfredo, it’s unfortunate a couple of incidents in the first two races stopped him getting the race mileage he needs under his belt. He really needed to get a finish in race three and he did that with a strong drive – that was important.”
Gustavo Lima came second in the pre-race test held on Friday which ran in heavy rain for much of the late morning and afternoon. Zabalza and Malaysian racer Rahul Raj Mayer were ninth and thirteenth respectively. Come qualifying, Lima continued to impress with his wet weather form and took third and Mayer set a career best sixth place time. The Mexican debutant started race one in seventeenth place.
The team struggled in the full dry running of race one, Lima dropped to fifth on the opening lap and ended the contest in sixth. Mayer fell back to tenth before taking ninth on lap three and consolidating his position. Zabalza failed to finish after an off track moment damaged his MSV F4-013.
Race two started wet, though every car was on slicks on the grid. Lima started third with Mayer in ninth and Alfredo in 21st. Lima took the lead through Maggots and Becketts though eventually lost out to George Russell. With three laps to go, he began to fall again, this time settling in fifth. Zabalza’s bad luck continued in the second outing, where he was forced into retirement on lap two while Mayer took fourteenth place, falling five from his start spot.
The final race gave some cheer to Zabalza as he claimed his first BRDC F4 points, five of them for 17th place after a move on the final lap of the race. Gustavo Lima took front wing damage on the opening lap but still managed to keep Chris Middlehurst, (MGR Motorsport) and Will Palmer, (HHC Motorsport) behind him until lap three. He eventually fell to tenth but departed Silverstone in sixth place in the title fight.
Mayer fought his way from twelfth to eleventh, after failing to unseat his team mate from 10th. Rahul Raj Mayer holds 12th place in the championship table while his double DNF leaves Alfredo propping up the table in 22nd.