After the second season of the GB4 Championship got underway at Oulton Park in early April, the field headed to Silverstone for a packed two days of racing on Coronation weekend. But poor weather conditions on Saturday meant that only two of the scheduled three races took place. Feeder Series reviews the best and the rest of the second round of the GB4 season.
By George Brabner
Saturday’s qualifying session went ahead in the wet just before midday. As the rain fell harder and harder, Tom Mills – who looked completely in control compared to many of his more inexperienced rivals – took a double pole position with Colin Queen alongside him for the following two races. Liam McNeilly, who won from ninth at Oulton Park, was caught out by a late red flag on his fastest lap and was left fifth and 10th for Races 1 and 2.
The weekend’s opening race was set to begin later in the afternoon; however, the track’s condition had significantly worsened since the end of qualifying. British GT’s own qualifying session was abandoned, and with Silverstone’s 6 pm curfew looming and the rain still falling, the decision was made to cancel Race 1. The race will be rescheduled to another yet-to-be-announced point in the season.
Despite this, Sunday’s action continued as planned. Race 2 went ahead in the morning, with the reverse-grid Race 3 taking place later in the day.
Despite losing a pole position with the cancellation of Race 1, Tom Mills’ weekend couldn’t have been much better. Having twice visited Silverstone last year, Mills utterly dominated Race 2 in dry conditions. His victory over Queen by five seconds showed that he is one of the strongest drivers on the grid at this stage of the season.
Mills’ Race 3 was similarly impressive as he fought from 11th to third, gaining five positions on lap one alone. The pair of podiums mean he continues to lead the championship two rounds in; however, his future in GB4 remains uncertain as budget constraints threaten his race-by-race seat at KMR Sport.
With Tom Mills victorious in Race 2, it was Elite Motorsport’s single Silverstone entry Harri Reynolds who won in Race 3. Reynolds finished fourth in Race 2 to improve on his two top-five finishes at Oulton Park.
After a brilliant getaway from sixth place in Race 3, he led by the end of Lap 1 to take his first single-seater victory in style. Despite his maiden triumph, Reynolds’ future is also up in the air as budget issues could put a halt to his GB4 campaign.
Whilst Fortec Motorsport didn’t have a great weekend in GB3, they turned their fortunes around in GB4. Queen picked up his second podium of the year in Race 2 as he fought past Cooper Webster to regain second place, appearing to have the better pace in the fight for “best of the rest” behind Mills.
In Race 3, Queen made his way up to fourth from 10th on the grid, benefitting from keeping himself out of trouble in a safety car–dominated final race of the weekend. The points he collected at Silverstone bring him up to fourth in the championship standings, only nine points behind Reynolds and 11 behind McNeilly.
Meanwhile, Queen’s teammate Ruhaan Alva ended his round on a high with his first podium in GB4. The Indian was a late addition to the Fortec roster – as was Aditya Kulkarni – but despite having had little time in the car, he made the most of starting on pole in Race 3 to follow Reynolds to the chequered flag.
Contact with Fox Motorsport’s Sid Smith threatened his podium post-race, although Alva escaped with only a reprimand. The points haul from Race 3 brings him just one point behind Kulkarni as his development at the British outfit continues.
Cooper Webster had a stark contrast in fortunes in his two races at Silverstone. He opened the weekend with another third-place finish – his second of the season – after passing Jeremy Fairbairn and fighting with Queen in Race 2.
Whilst Queen appeared to have the upper hand in a direct fight, the Evans GP driver was comfortably ahead of the chasing pack as he sat with Queen in ‘no man’s land’, too far behind Mills to challenge for victory.
Race 3 tarnished Webster’s weekend after a racing incident with Fairbairn left him square against the barriers. Nevertheless, Australian S5000’s latest race winner continued to prove his pace.
After impressing with a masterful performance in changeable conditions at Oulton Park, Liam McNeilly had a tough weekend at Silverstone. Qualifying put him on the back foot from the get-go, and he was then unable to break into the top five in Race 2 as he got stuck behind Reynolds and Fairbairn before being demoted to seventh because of a five-second time penalty.
Race 3 proved to be no better, as he finished fifth after having his hard work on lap one undone when Fairbairn pushed him off the road at Abbey. A combination of errors and exterior factors ultimately hampered McNeilly’s weekend, rather than a lack of pace.
McNeilly’s Fox Motorsport teammate Sid Smith also left Round 2 with less than he would have hoped for. After starting from ninth for Race 2, he finished in the same position following a track limits penalty that dropped him behind Harry Burgoyne Jr.
Race 3 saw Smith make contact with Alva off the line, which broke his suspension and put him out of the race before it had really even begun.
Whilst Mills took two podium finishes, one of his two KMR Sport teammates, Fairbairn, wasn’t so successful. Fresh from his maiden single-seater win at Oulton Park, he could only manage fifth from third on the grid in Race 2 because of understeer and graining on his tyres, he told Feeder Series.
Later on Sunday afternoon, his racing incident with Webster at Luffield jeopardised his race and sent him tumbling down the order. Fairbairn was ninth by the chequered flag, leaving him fifth in the championship standings and nine points behind his closest rival, Queen, as the championship heads into Round 3 at Donington Park.
Header photo credit: Jakob Ebrey
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