After being announced to be driving for Fortec Motorsport in the 2020 British F4 Championship just a mere 12 hours before media day at Donington Park, it was Luke Browning that wasted no time in setting the fastest lap of the day in just his first outing with his new team.
The Brit set a lap time of 1:07.354 in the afternoon session before the rain came to top the timesheets ahead of his team-mate Roberto Faria, who had initially set the fastest time in the morning session.
After a photography and filming session in the morning, the track went green at 9:30am for the beginning of a three and a half hour morning session. The track conditions were damp to begin with as the teams and drivers completed their installation laps at and a decidedly windy Donington. The track conditions soon ramped up however, and the times began to tumble very quickly.
It was another second season driver, Arden‘s Alex Connor that set the third fastest time of the day, and also being one of 14 drivers that set their fastest time in the morning session. Completing 69 laps before lunch, the Brit set a time of 1:07.536 to be just two tenths shy of Browning’s fastest of the day.
In fourth place was the first Carlin car of Zak O’Sullivan. The Ginetta Junior scholar set a time of 1:07.701, whereas fellow Ginetta Junior protege Casper Stevenson was behind in fifth, setting Argenti’s fastest lap of the day just four tenths off the pace.
The leading JHR Developments car was 2019 Ginetta Junior champion James Hedley, who makes the step up to British F4 this season. The young Brit set a time of 1:07.767 to go sixth fastest followed by the fastest rookie of the day, Marijn Kremers. The Carlin driver arrives in British F4 off the back of winning the FIA Karting World Championship in 2019, and is hotly tipped to be a force this season in his first season of car racing.
Another driver representing the 2019 class of Ginetta Juniors was Arden’s Roman Bilinski, who finished the day in eighth place with a time of 1:08.134. It’s the young Brit’s first season in single-seaters and he’ll be looking to make a solid impression in his debut season.
Rounding out the top ten was Australian Christian Mansell in ninth for Carlin and rookie Roberto Villagomez finishing the day down in tenth place, setting a lap of 1:08.184. It was still a strong day for the Mexican however, as he lapped the Donington Park circuit 81 times in the morning session alone, the most of anyone.
Wet, Wet, Wet!
The clouds began to roll over as the afternoon session began, and with about two hours to go the heavens opened and the teams were able to do some more wet weather running. There were a few stoppages for some off track excursions, but it was mainly a clean session despite the conditions, and there was still plenty of laps being driven as it’s crucial to get wet weather mileage in a series where the weather can be so unpredictable.
Outside the top ten was Peruvian rookie Mathias Zagazeta, who ran 84 laps and set a time of 1:08.285 which was comparative to his team mates. But sadly was the cause of the last red flag of the day when his Carlin spun off at turn one for a long delay to proceedings.
In twelfth place was Abbi Pulling for JHR. The Ginetta GT5 driver from last season is making a step to single seaters this year with the intention of starting a natural progression up the ladder. Setting an impressive 109 laps, she managed to clock a fastest time of 1:08.322.
Mikkel Grundtvig was the next driver on the timesheet down in thirteenth place. The Dane was impressive last year in French and Danish F4, and will be looking to impress on his first season in the UK.
Next up was British rookie Frederick Lubin, who will be looking to keep up with his more experienced Arden team mates after clocking a 1:08.562 in the morning session.
Chilean driver Nicolas Pino was fifteenth and British F4 returnee Reema Juffali was sixteenth. Juffali appeared to be in much higher spirts on her return to the category after a learning year in 2019.
The 2020 British F4 championship season starts at Donington Park on the weekend of March 28th/29th.