Fortec Motorsport bagged a decent points haul from the first-ever trip to the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit for the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA this weekend [24-25 June].
The Daventry-based team made the relatively short trip to the host venue of the Formula 1 ® British Grand Prix, keen to build on a starring role at Oulton Park seven days prior, in which British ace James Higgins won the series’ landmark 250th race.
Strong pace for Higgins and his team-mate, South African talent Mika Abrahams, fuelled optimism ahead of qualifying but, in an ultra-competitive session, both were left a little further back than desired. Higgins took fifth, just two tenths of a second from pole, with Abrahams only another 0.4 seconds back in P16.
In race trim, Higgins scored fourth spot in the opener after a race-long battle up front. With dirty air making passing a tricky endeavour, the rising star settled for the points. Abrahams made a rocket start, rising six places up the order in the opening laps to eventually take tenth, and secure the final points-paying position.
A slow start hampered Abrahams’ progress from fifth on the grid in the reverse grid contest on Sunday morning, but as he battled back to score P16 from the back, Higgins went on a charge, scaling six places up to P11, and banking crucial overtaking points.
Higgins started well and gained a spot in Sunday’s finale but was then run off-track and dropped back to P8. Abrahams was again on the move, the 15-year-old taking the chequered flag in P13.
Fortec leave the 3.6-mile Northamptonshire venue placed third in the Teams Cup, with Higgins the leading driver in sixth spot overall amongst the Drivers.
Croft hosts the next three rounds on 29-30 July after a five-week summer hiatus, as the package re-joins the high-profile British Touring Car Championship support bill.
James Higgins (#18) said:
“It was an average weekend, neither good nor bad.
“We were able to get some more points on the board, and the car felt good. The dirty air was so difficult to race in, so that really meant it was a case of making up places in the early laps.
“I’m looking forward to a bit of a summer break now, and then we’ll go again at Croft.”
Mika Abrahams (#29) said:
“Hopefully this is my ‘bad weekend’ out of the way now.
“Even within half a second of the car in front, the dirty air made it impossible to overtake. Qualifying didn’t go to plan, which left us a bit too much to do in the races.
“The car felt good, and we’re definitely in with that leading group in terms of pace. Hopefully it all comes together next time at Croft.”
Oliver Dutton, Team Principal said:
“Sometimes, it’s not your weekend, and it felt a little bit like that at Silverstone this time out.
“Qualifying was super close – it’s actually almost brutal to be only a tenth or two off, but a few rows from pole. It’s always a competitive championship, but even by those standards, it was close.
“We expected the tow to be a bit stronger in the races, to be honest, but the guys struggled to follow anybody, and we saw that up and down the grid. So, unfortunately, on such a high-speed track, the limits how much we can ultimately make up in the races.
“But we’re not feeling downbeat – it’ll be nice now to take a few weeks off and then get ready for Croft.”