Second podium of season for impressive Massaad at Knockhill
- Rostrum for Massaad at Knockhill in rescheduled Oulton race
- Lebanese driver shows true pace with second silverware of 2017
- Best of P6 for front-runner Lundqvist on mixed visit to Scotland
- Bitter disappointment for multiple race winner with double DNF
Lebanese racer Karl Massaad made a richly deserved second visit of the season to the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford podium at Knockhill over the weekend, 12th/13th August, with a terrific drive to third place for Double R Racing in the second of four races.
Added to the regular hat-trick of F4 contests, the second encounter at the Scottish track on Saturday afternoon acted as the rescheduled 12th round of the season – postponed from the Oulton Park race meeting back in May due to scheduling issues following timetable delays.
Charging through from sixth on the grid to record a fantastic third place result, Formula 4 rookie Massaad delivered a tremendous performance as the highlight of an otherwise mixed weekend for the Woking team.
Multiple category race winner Linus Lundqvist, who headed into the seventh event of the season third in the championship, encountered a desperately frustrating race meeting with contact from rival competitors in two of the races leading to bitterly disappointing retirements. His best result of the weekend was sixth position in the fourth and final contest.
“Karl did a fantastic job in race two, he was quick and didn’t put a wheel wrong – everyone at Double R is delighted to see him back on the podium proving his pace and ability”, said team owner Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “Historically, Knockhill has always been a track Double R has been strong at and that looked set to be the case again as we had good pace in testing and into the race weekend.
“Unfortunately, qualifying didn’t work as intended and the races didn’t go to plan in the main with a lot of contact and some other issues. We’re coming away from Knockhill feeling disappointed our pace wasn’t fully rewarded, but obviously very happy for Karl with his second podium of the year.”
Qualifying on Saturday took place on a drying track but two separate stoppages to the session impacted the Double R drivers, unable to maximise the grip of their tyres. Lundqvist emerged with the seventh fastest time, albeit only 0.2 seconds shy of pole position, while Massaad had to settle for 16th on the grid – an unfortunate excursion further compromising his hopes.
Putting together a terrific first lap in round 19, Lundqvist surged into the top five and remained in the lead battle until lap six when an unfortunate moment meant the Double R racer slipped to ninth place, and he was then edged back to the tail of the top 10 soon after.
Determined to hit back following a mid-race Safety Car period, he set about working his way into the top eight and on the drag up the hill from the hairpin on the final lap he just missed out on seventh at the finish by a mere 0.079 seconds.
From the eighth row of the grid, Massaad gained two places on an excellent first lap and stayed in 14th position up to and through the Safety Car period. Unfortunately dropping back to 15th spot on the first lap back at racing speed, Massaad returned to 14th place the next time around and moved into the top 12 before the conclusion on lap 21 – taking the flag only 0.187 seconds shy of 11th.
In race two, the re-scheduled 12th round, Lundqvist started fifth and squarely aimed for a podium challenge, moving into fourth on lap two and pushing very hard. On the third tour though, while battling with Oscar Piastri, Lundqvist was edged off the track and dropped to the back as a result.
Progressing back through the order strongly, on lap 12 – while running in ninth position – he was forced to retire with an overheating car which was a legacy of the earlier trip across the outside of the track.
Team-mate Massaad lined-up alongside the sister Double R car in sixth place on the grid and after holding position for the first couple of laps, he then broke into the top five before climbing into fourth on lap five.
Glued to the back of Piastri lap after lap, Massaad grabbed third on the ninth tour when his rival encountered car problems. Thereafter, he delivered a faultless performance throughout the remainder of the 22 lapper to secure the richly deserved second podium of his rookie F4 campaign.
Hoping to chalk-up a plentiful haul of points after such a frustrating Saturday, Lundqvist’s fortunes didn’t improve in race three on Sunday morning at a bright and dry Knockhill when yet another tangle, again with Piastri, resulted in his second non-finish of the weekend.
Beginning the race eighth on the grid, the Swede gained two places on lap one and then set about pressuring Ayrton Simmons for fifth. Remaining in close company for the next few laps, on the sixth tour everything went wrong for Lundqvist when Piastri dived to the inside into the hairpin and flipped the Double R car up onto two wheels on the exit – pitching Lundqvist into retirement.
Massaad, who started the race 12th on the grid, climbed one position on the first lap and then broke into the top 10 at the end of lap two. Fending off Jonathan Hoggard over the line, Massaad made the place his and after Lundqvist’s removal from proceedings he inherited ninth position.
Following a Safety Car period to clear his team-mate’s stricken car from the track, racing got back underway on lap 11 and Massaad maintained ninth. Running strongly, he was edged back to 10th again with just a few minutes to go but he hit back on the penultimate tour to smartly retake ninth.
Race four of the weekend began with Lundqvist eighth on the starting grid and Massaad down in 19th, a legacy of the aforementioned problems in qualifying. Making another great start, Lundqvist climbed into the top six and immediately set about challenging championship leader Jamie Caroline.
Race-long the Double R driver piled on the pressure, swarming all over the back of his rival’s car, but there was no chance to make a breakthrough and he remained sixth to the flag despite several well thought out attempts. Massaad, meanwhile, ended the red-flagged contest a frustrating 17th after an enforced pit-stop, following early contact, put him a lap down.
Double R Racing’s British F4 and BRDC British Formula 3 Championship squads will both be in action two weeks from now, over the weekend 26th/27th August, with Formula 4 visiting Rockingham in Northamptonshire and British F3 making its second trip of the year to Snetterton in Norfolk.
2017 British F4 Championship Standings
5th Linus Lundqvist, 204.5pts; 10th Karl Massaad, 64pts; 16th Daniel Cao, 7pts