Having arrived at Snetterton on Wednesday, The Checkered Flag caught up with the HHC Motorsport drivers before this weekend’s first encounter for the BRDC F4 Autumn Trophy. However; both saw limited running after fog and rain swept the circuit
After winning the title in the main championship, HHC Motorsport remains as one of the favourites to take either the teams’ or the drivers’ title. This likelihood has been boosted in recent days with the announcement of Sennan Fielding, but he doesn’t think it’s a forgone conclusion
“I’m here to win it, we’ve just got to wait and see, I know some people have done some testing, as have the other teams, so we’ve got to see. I think HHC have learned a lot, but I have faith in them and we’ve got a good car underneath me and get the win.”
Instead, three drivers have quickly established themselves as the leaders. With Harrison Scott also testing, the battle looked primed for Saturday. “He’s going to be quick, but I also think Struan Moore, it’s going to be good fun and I want to enjoy the racing over the next two weekends.”
“I think it’ll be very interesting, there’s some good drivers that are coming back that I’ve raced against a couple of years ago, so I think it’ll be a tough competition, but hopefully we can develop the car to my needs and end the year on a high.”
It’s not just Fielding in the driving seat though. Sisa Ngebulana also returns the team that lead him to a podium finish this season. Like Fielding, his morning had been interrupted by the weather.
“We haven’t really gone out, it’s been raining pretty hard, even so; I mean we’re going out in ten more minutes, so I guess we’ll see,” he said as it approached 11am.
Having seen his team mates achieve so much, Ngebulana, felt that he could really challenge Fielding, leading to a tough final round, where he could fight for the title.
“That’s what I’m aiming for,” he laughed, “but it all tells in the testing so we’ll see, from the next few days how I am pace wise, so I can see where I can get better, or if I’m already at the top, how to stay there.”
After lunch, the two went out for some more laps, with both finding the limit early on. However; like in the morning, the weather saw both drivers come away with little extra. TCF talked to both as they got out of the car.
“It’s been good, not too bad, weathers been a bit prohibitive though,” started Fielding. “But hey, we just want to get some more laps in there, but they had to red flag it since the fog was too bad. It’s good, the car is good, so I’m really enjoying it.
“It’s definitely a lot quicker, especially compared to the MSA Formula. It’s got that more power and even in the wet, it’s got a lot more grip… It feels good, really good.”
Sisa also commented about it being more mechanical in slow corners, saying, “it’s definitely a whole lot more faster than last year.”
Neither were prepared to agree who was faster on overall pace with both complementing each other on different areas of the circuit, while also admitting the water was a factor.
Ngebulana spoke first: “for now, I’d say you were quicker, the problem with me is last session… there was something with the way I was doing my gears [compared to last season.] So it’s just getting use to the car again with all this more power and the conditions and wet conditions”
“There’s a whole lot more wheel spin if you had a lower gear… you try and get one flying lap and you do the same thing again and you’re going to go sideways”
While Fielding added that, “the track is changing massively too. So you can go out one session and think it’s drying up and I just went out and there’s water the whole way down the back straight. So you’re going down and have a massive sideways moment.”
They went on to admit that they’d been off the road, with both going off on the same lap. The two laughed at the situation knowing it would be bad to dwell on the incident, especially as no damage was done.
With both of the drivers in line for the title fight at Brands Hatch, Fielding told us that no matter the result, the two of them had to drive to get the best result they could and not panic about the competition.
“But you’ve always got to help out as well. We’ll see how the racings going, you’ve got to get the best result you can, because everybody wants to end the year on a high really. So no matter what’s happening in the championship, if you’re doing well in the last round”
Despite this, both agreed a HHC clear out would be best for both parties, so they could focus on only beating each other. As for Wednesday, neither would get many more laps done, with the encroaching fog a real problem for the teams.
“We’re kind of driving in a cloud right now,” said Ngebulana. “So once the cloud goes away, we’ll go back and put in some lap times. Hopefully tomorrow will be dry. It seems as if most of my tests have been in the wet, I’ve learned a lot more of this car as it is in the wet than how it is in the dry.”
“Lots of people say it’s more physically demanding, but since I’ve only gone in the wet, still nothing. We’ll find out, tomorrow.”
Both Fielding and Ngebulana started Friday testing off the pace, with neither troubling Scott after second practice as they approached lunch.