Double R's Sebastian Alvarez takes two emphatic wins at Snetterton
Mexican teen leapfrogs team-mate Louis Foster to P2 in standings
Top four best for F4 rookie Foster on challenging weekend in Norfolk
Saudi Arabia’s Reema Juffali matches season-best with P9 in Rd17
Sebastian Alvarez was the undoubted driver to beat in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA powered by Ford EcoBoost at Snetterton 300 Circuit over the weekend, 3rd/4th August, with two emphatic race victories for Double R Racing marking a terrific start to the second half of the season.
After starring in qualifying with a clear pole position for rounds 16 and 18, Alvarez converted both into brilliant wins and also posted the fastest race lap in each instance. Notably, his winning margin in race three was a quite incredible 14 seconds after just 11 laps of the 2.97-mile Norfolk track.
With such a healthy haul of points, Alvarez has leapfrogged team-mate Louis Foster in the title battle and is now second in the championship. Foster, now third in the points, had a tougher weekend for Woking’s Double R with a best finish of fourth place coming in round 17.
Saudi Arabia’s Reema Juffali, the only female racer in British F4, managed to match her best result of the season so far with ninth position in round 17 on Sunday morning. Following up with a strong drive in round 18, hopes of more points unfortunately went awry late on after sliding off the circuit on some dirt while dicing for position.
Commenting on the action, Double R team principal Anthony Hieatt said: “Absolutely outstanding weekend for Sebastian, he was the quickest driver all weekend and pole, two wins and two fastest laps is a fantastic return. It could’ve been three wins from three, which would have been incredible, but we definitely can’t complain!
“It was a more frustrating weekend for Louis, he was a bit unlucky along the way but did a good job and took some important points which keeps him in the championship top three. We were delighted to see Reema back in the points again after a competitive weekend, it’s been a very strong start to the second half of the season.”
Mexican magic from Alvarez delivers sensational Snetterton weekend
Alvarez got Saturday’s track action off to the perfect start by securing pole position for race one of the weekend, a superb lap of 1m51.242 seconds (96.07mph) putting him over 0.3 seconds clear of his closest challenger. Foster had to settle for seventh on the grid for round 16, with Juffali – who had one lap disallowed due to a track limits infringement – qualifying 11th quickest.
At the start of Saturday afternoon’s race, Alvarez made a textbook launch and was able to build a lead of roughly a second over the course of the first lap. Steadily increasing his advantage over the first four laps, Carter Williams then began to close in but Alvarez responded and he went on to take a terrific win by 3.4 seconds while also posting the fastest lap of 1m52.807 seconds (94.74mph).
Foster slipped to eighth at the beginning of the race and he spent the rest of the 11 lapper stuck there, with overtaking proving extremely difficult for the ‘slicks and wings’ F4 cars around the 2.97-mile 300 Circuit.
Although edged to 12th place on the opening lap, Juffali hit back on the second tour before Alex Walker re-passed the Saudi Arabian again the next time around. From that point forward Juffali held station and soaked up huge pressure from Mariano Martinez to the chequered flag.
Sunday’s first race, round 17, was very much a tale of two halves for Double R and Alvarez with the day one victor looking well placed to make it two-from-two after a fantastic opening to the contest from sixth on the ‘reverse grid’.
Climbing into fifth on lap one, Alvarez then took fourth place from championship leader Zane Maloney on lap two and sensationally took third position with a stunning move around the outside at Agostini. With the lead three cars all nose-to-tail into lap three, Alvarez continued his charge by grabbing second and although pressured by Bart Horsten on the fourth tour the Mexican held firm.
Into lap five, the Double R man then saw his chance to challenge for the lead but after diving up the inside into Riches he couldn’t make the turn and after clipping the kerb on the inside he ran straight on off the circuit. Rejoining in seventh, he fought back well but another incident on lap eight – which broke his front wing – led to a late pit visit and a very frustrating eventual finish of 11th place.
Foster, who was dumped back from eighth at the start to 10th, mounted a strong recovery and as others became caught-up in tangles he moved closer to the front. Into the top five after Alvarez’s ill-fated attempt to take the lead, the pair then fought intensively a few laps later. On lap eight, with the action incredibly tight, Foster emerged from the hairpin in fourth which he held to the flag.
Juffali, from 12th on the grid, moved up a place on lap one and although edged back again the next time around she was able to break into the points-paying top 10 on the fourth tour following a tangle involving Maloney and Horsten. When Alvarez was ordered by officials to pit with his damaged front wing, Juffali claimed ninth to match her career-best in British F4.
Lining-up on pole position once again for round 18, Alvarez led away impressively and after seeing off the initial attention of the pack behind he stormed into the distance in a class of his own. Opening an advantage of over a second into lap two, he doubled his cushion the next time around and pulled further and further clear throughout the 11 lap race.
Going on to win by a remarkable 14 seconds, Alvarez also posted the fastest lap of the encounter with a time of 1m53.466 seconds to confirm his dominance around Snetterton’s 300 Circuit – had it not been for his excursion in race two, a winning hat-trick was a distinct likelihood.
Foster began the weekend’s finale ninth on the grid and after gaining a couple of positions on the first lap, he then came under immense pressure from Alex Connor. Edged back to eighth on lap four at the Esses, Foster then came under further attack but defended well to the finish on lap 11.
From 11th position at the start, Juffali lost a couple of positions on the opening tour but she made a real fight of it as the race progressed and battled hard. Climbing back up into 11th on lap four, after issues for a couple of rivals, the Saudi Arabian was edged back a place by Alex Walker on lap six.
Determined to hit back, she challenged around the outside through the infield on lap eight but after sliding wide off the circuit on some dirt Juffali rejoined and finished the contest in the top 12 just half a second behind Roberto Faria.
British F4 makes its second visit of 2019 to Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire two weeks from now, with rounds 19, 20 and 21 taking place over the weekend 17th/18th August. Double R’s British F3 squad will also be in action that weekend for the penultimate event of its season at Silverstone GP Circuit.
2019 British F4 Championship Standings
2nd Sebastian Alvarez, 230pts; 3rd Louis Foster, 222pts; 13th Reema Juffali, 6pts