Olli Caldwell took his maiden British F4 Challenge Cup victory at Snetterton as the British F4 Championship returned from the summer break. Olli went on to seal a double victory and a further Challenge Cup podium in the remaining two races of the weekend, after a starring performance in qualifying put him 5th on the grid for TRS Arden.
Snetterton was also the first British F4 qualifying session that Olli had taken part in - after being too young to compete in qualifying at Croft in the previous round. Unfazed, he set the 5th fastest time overall to give himself a great starting positon for the first of the three races at Snetterton. His second fastest lap was good enough to give him 6th on the grid for race three, while his race two grid will be decided by the outcome of the opening race of the weekend.
Olli made a good start of the line in race one and settled into a rhythmn well in 5th position. The British F4 record breaking made one slight mistake after just dipping wheel on the dirt on the exit of turn one, which was just enough to allow teammate Alex Quinn and rival Oliver York past on the run into the hairpin. Olli regathered himself and got back into his groove to cement a strong 7th position at the flag, holding off championship leader Jamie Caroline to the flag as well as registering his maiden Ford F4 Chalenge Cup Victory.
Olli Caldwell “It feels really good to get my first Ford F4 Challenge Cup win. I made a slight mistake in the race which put me a little bit adrift of the top four. I dropped a wheel at turn one which meant Quinn could get a tow and York was with him so they capitalised. As the race progressed I felt more comfortable and was really pleased that I had the pace of experienced guys like Quinn and Caroline, and at times was quicker than them. My overall aim is to get on the podium and given the way things are going combined with how well the team is working I think that’s definitely possible.”
The second race saw Olli start from 3rd on the grid, the start saw poleman Manuel Sulaiman spin early on, which blunted Olli's progress and teammate Alex Quinn sneaked through around the outside. Having been passed by team-mate Quinn in the opening exchanges Caldwell then had to contend with Linus Lundqvist (Double R) and Logan Sargeant (Carlin) who both found a way past him before the safety car period.
Spectators were treated to some spellbinding formation flying in the final laps as the TRS Ardne trio of Ayrton Simmons, Oscar Piastri and Olli Caldwell jockeyed for position. Olli came home 7th at the flag, which was still doing more than enough to comfortably take his second Ford F4 Challenge Cup win, just hours after his first triumph in the class.
The final British F4 race of the weekend saw Olli take the start from 6th on the grid. Race three turned into a tight battle for the Challenge Cup Victory with rival Hampus Ericsson, who sneaked through in the opening exchanges. Olli stayed in with his rival all race long, prowling for an opening so he could retake the position and claim the victory. However on the penultimate lap, Caroline managed to make a late overtake stick on Olli, demoting him to 8th position. Olli held onto the back of the championship leader as they worked to catch Ericsson - albeit unsuccessfully as he ran out of laps to take a hat-trick of Challenge Cup wins.
Olli came away from Snetterton with a trio of British F4 Challenge Cup podiums, two of them as victories which is a great haul for a driver in only his second race meeting in the championship!
Olli Caldwell "Overall it was an awesome weekend at arguably my least favourite circuit on the calendar, as I completed in my first complete British F4 race weekend.
I'd like to say a Huge thanks to the team at TRS Arden but especially my engineer Brandon and mechanic Harry for all the hard work this weekend couldn't of done it without you guys!"
The 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title race heads to Knockhill in a fortnight’s time (12/13 August) in what will be a blockbuster weekend for the series. Four races are scheduled to take place due to the Round 12 of the Championship being moved to Knockhill due to delays in the schedule at Oulton Park earlier in the year. Tune in live on ITV4 on Sunday to watch Olli in action as he aims for overall podiums and further Challenge Cup victories.