Chris Dittmann Racing enjoyed its best result in the F4 British Championship after an excellent drive by Joel Pearson on just his and the team’s second weekend in the closely fought single seater series.
Coming straight from a busy GB3 weekend at Silverstone, the team travelled to Brands Hatch to continue its dual campaign. Jumping back behind the wheel, youngster Joel was keen to apply everything he had learned last time out and continue his rapid progress.
The 20-minute qualifying session was once again fiercely contested, but there was a bit of bad luck for the 16-year-old. As he went out on a new set of Pirelli tyres ready to improve on his time, the session was halted early due to a red flag, which meant he was unable to make any further gains and would line up 14th for all three races.
The Yorkshire racer made a good start to the opening contest, avoiding a stalled car off the line and gaining four places on lap one. However, when a rival tried to make a pass, there was contact which sent Joel wide onto the dirt and gravel, sending him back down the order to 16th. From there he worked hard, closing the gap to Daniel Mavlyutov and taking 15th, which became 14th when another driver came into the pits.
Joel made another great start to race two, held on Saturday afternoon, gaining two places. Sadly, in a repeat of the earlier incident, a rival made contact when trying to pass, causing damage to his rear wing, which meant a visit to the pits to try and, ultimately into retirement.
With a change from warm sunshine to overcast and wet conditions on Sunday, Joel impressed despite being his first wet running in the Tatuus T-421. Making another good start, he avoided a spinning car to run eighth, before slipping back to 11th. Continuing his excellent performance, he was quickly back into the top ten, fighting his way to sixth which would become fourth after a raft of post-race penalties were handed out.
Chris Dittmann Racing will next be in action on a busy double-header weekend on May 28/29 as the F4 British Championship heads to the high-speed Thruxton, while the GB3 Championship visits Donington Park.
Joel Pearson, #29
G1 – 14, R1 – 14
G2 – 14, R2 – DNF
G3 – 14, R3 – 4
Championship: 12 (16 points)
“Qualifying didn’t go how I wanted it to. We were struggling a little bit with pace, but I don’t think the qualifying performance reflected where we should have been. We went onto new tyres halfway through the session, but with the red flag we weren’t able to get the laps in. I had a good start to race one where I went from 14th to tenth but then there was an incident where someone came up the inside, pushed me onto the dirt and rubbish on the outside of the track, and I lost the rear, so not the best race.
“In race two I jumped to 12th and one of the positives to take is that my starts have improved from Donington. I got involved in another incident where someone just went up the inside, didn’t pull off the manoeuvre, and it ripped my rear wing off. I got a mechanical flag and a DNF, so not the best moment of the weekend.
“We had a good start to race three and then just carried on. We had really strong pace, I think past experience from Ginetta Juniors meant I felt really comfortable in the rain. It’s my best finish in British F4 so far, which feels good, but like anyone, I know it could have been better. If I had a better qualifying, I think we could have been even further up and maybe going for a podium with the pace we had. From now on, I’ll be doing my rain dance before every race!”
Chris Dittmann – Team Owner
Championship 6 (16 points)
“Joel showed a lot of potential in the dry, it’s just a shame that the results weren’t there to show for it. We had a bit of bad fortune in qualifying, that put us on the back foot and there were a few incidents in the race which weren’t his fault. It was a frustrating day on Saturday, but Sunday was much better. It was his first time in the wet in this car, so he put in a mighty performance. He came from 14th to sixth and stayed out of the trouble that a lot of the more experienced drivers were getting involved in, so fourth after the penalties was a really good result.
“We know what we’re doing, and it’s good to show everyone else what we are capable of as a team. Joel drove really well in the tricky conditions as it wasn’t really wet, it wasn’t really dry, it changed every lap, and he adapted really well.”