Fortec Motorsport came away from the most recent rounds of the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA with a solid haul of points, despite a frustrating trip to Snetterton this weekend [20-21 May].
The Daventry-based team arrived at the 2.97-mile Norfolk venue buoyed by their recent victory in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series at Brands Hatch, the team’s first of the series’ second-generation era.
Chasing similar heights at Snetterton, the team qualified out of position, with Aiden Neate and James Higgins lining up sixth and seventh respectively for the opening race.
Despite positive progress in the opening laps, particularly for Alpine F1 junior Neate, who rose as high as fourth and was knocking on the door for a podium finish, the race was twice red-flagged, then eventually declared null and void afterwards by organisers.
The race will, instead, be run as an extra, fourth contest at the Donington Park meeting in August, leaving two, ITV4-televised encounters for Sunday.
With Snetterton basking in late-May sunshine, Neate was once again on the charge in the reverse grid race, picking up two places off the start. A safety car interruption briefly halted his charge, but when the action resumed, he picked up another two spots to take the chequered flag in seventh.
A slow getaway dropped Higgins to the rear of the field, but he rallied well to make progress back through the order and finish in P15.
For the finale, the two team-mates would share the fourth row of the grid. Neate was once again lightning off the line, charging up to sixth. He would remain there until the finish, with Higgins making it a double points finish in ninth to close out the weekend.
The team head next to the high-speed Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire over the weekend of 3-4 June.
James Higgins (#18) said:
“It just wasn’t our weekend at Snetterton. There were too many mistakes from my side, and that restricted how much progress we could make during the races.
“But it’s a long season, and these things happen to everybody at some stage. I know for sure we will come back stronger next time out at Thruxton.”
Aiden Neate (#57) said:
“It was definitely a difficult weekend here at Snetterton. We struggled to put it together and bring the fight to the guys at the front.
“We’ll look to go away and re-group for Thruxton, where we’ll be aiming to kick things off on the front foot again.”
Oliver Dutton, Team Principal said:
“It’s a sport of highs and lows; unfortunately for us, Snetterton falls into the latter category on this occasion, but the important thing is to remain upbeat.
“Mistakes are, by definition, a part of the sport at this level – our drivers are here to learn and develop, as much as compete. It’s to be expected that, occasionally, we’ll make hard work for ourselves, but therein is the opportunity to grow.
“I think both drivers did well to bring home points on a tough weekend, on a circuit where there’s no margin for error. Considering all of the races were interrupted by safety cars, it was also difficult for them to build up any real momentum throughout.
“I’ve absolutely no doubt they – and the rest of the team – will come back all the stronger for the experience at Thruxton.”