RACING ROOKIE VAIDYANATHAN TAKES MAIDEN PODIUM AT ROCKINGHAM
Indian motor racing newcomer Ameya Vaidyanathan delivered an outstanding performance for Hillspeed during round four of the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship at Rockingham over the weekend, 2nd/3rd May, with a terrific drive to second place securing a sensational maiden podium.
Facing a tough challenge in the first of the event’s three races from 15th on the grid, having had no fewer than three lap times disallowed in qualifying due to track limits infringements, the rookie racer starred in the race with an assured performance far outweighing his very limited experience.
Making a clean getaway, Vaidyanathan managed to avoid chaos at the first corner with some smart driving and emerged from Deene Hairpin a remarkable fourth. Following a three lap Safety Car period, when racing resumed on the fifth tour he pressurised third placed compatriot Akhil Rabindra and on lap eight he made the breakthrough into the podium placings with a great pass at Deene.
Not finished there, the rookie continued to belie his minimal experience and after challenging Jack Lang for second place he swept past on the final lap to secure the runner-up spot and a popular first podium in car racing.
While that was the highlight of Vaidyanathan’s weekend, team-mate Al Faisal Al Zubair provided plenty of cheer for Hillspeed too with a brace of top 10 finishes and a season-best result of ninth in the first of the weekend’s encounters. For Sebastian Lanzetti, though, his podium potential wasn’t rewarded and he had to settle for a best result of ninth in round six on Sunday afternoon.
“We’re absolutely delighted for Ameya, he produced a sensational performance in the first race and considering it’s only his second weekend in the championship there’s clearly so much more to come from him”, reflected Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw.
“Faisal is making big strides forward, two top 10 finishes were good reward for him and you can’t ask any more from your drivers than to achieve season-best results which is what he did. Unfortunately, Sebastian was involved in a bit of contact which meant he wasn’t able to capitalise on his obvious pace but we know he’ll be back challenging near the front at the next round.”
Aside from Vaidyanathan’s tremendous performance in round four, the first race was very strong for Al Faisal. Climbing into eighth from 15th on the grid through the chaotic second corner, the Omani was nudged back outside the top 10 but battled back impressively into ninth at the finish.
Lanzetti ended lap one in seventh place and after moving into the top six later on he looked set to finish the race there. At Tarzan Hairpin on the final tour, though, an attempted pass for fifth didn’t work out and unfortunate contact resulted in a 60 second penalty – dropping him to 15th overall.
Round five on Sunday morning took place in very wet conditions and the action was frenetic with a lot of position changing. Ultimately, the Hillspeed trio all ended the encounter disappointed – an excursion on the last lap leading to a non-finish for Lanzetti while Al Zubair had to be satisfied with 14th position. Vaidyanathan, meanwhile, took the flag in 17th position after mid-race dramas.
Round six was another strong contest for Omani youngster Al Zubair who raced through to a very impressive top 10 finish again. Starting on the sixth row, he was initially edged back to 14th place but gradually progressed back through during the latter stages into 10th position at the flag.
Lanzetti was in the thick of the podium battle from the outset, having started fourth he ended lap one in fifth position and after taking third on lap three out of Kirby another Hillspeed rostrum looked a strong possibility. Trading the podium spot with Rabindra on lap five, Lanzetti was edged back down the order through some robust action and eventually finished in ninth.
For Vaidyanathan, meanwhile, round six ended in disappointment with retirement on lap eight after contact at Brook Chicane. Beginning the contest in sixth place, the Indian youngster was bundled out of the top 10 on the first lap but battled back well until the tangle at the last corner.
Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the third event of the BRDC F4 season, rounds seven, eight and nine, over the weekend 30th/31st May.
Provisional Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
14th Sebastian Lanzetti, 56pts
15th Al Faisal Al Zubair, 53pts
17th Ameya Vaidyanathan, 47pts