Home Formula 4British F4 Stilp tops British F4 post-season testing at Snetterton

Stilp tops British F4 post-season testing at Snetterton

by Ida Wood

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Gabiel Stilp was fastest in British Formula 4 post-season testing at Snetterton this week.

The two-day test was split into four sessions. The first on Thursday lasted three-and-a-half hours, then the second ran for two hours-and-45 minutes. Friday’s action began with a session lasting three hours-and-50 minutes, and concluded with a sesion lasting three-and-a-half hours.

Patrick Heuzenroeder was the driver to beat on Thursday morning. The Australian raced for Argenti Motorsport this year but switched to JHR Developments for the test, and with a 2m09.902s lap led the way by just 0.049 seconds over R Racing’s Leo Robinson. Hitech GP’s Stilp was 0.406s behind in third, and Rodin Carlin’s Alex Ninovic was the only other driver within a second of the pace.

Robinson was fastest at times during the session, and with an hour to go was at the top. Heuzenroeder reclaimed first place with 51 minutes remaining with a lap that would not go beaten.

A new name was first to the top in session two: Rowan Campbell-Pilling. The karter from Sheffield, driving for Argenti, led the way for 16 minutes before Hitech’s Hugo Schwarze – a German teenager who was Ginetta Junior runner-up this year – set a 2m13.055s.

Stilp then brought the pace down into the 2m10s, then 42 minutes in Ninovic broke into the 2m08s. He and Stilp traded top spot thereon, with Ninovic putting in the session’s fastest lap with 11 minutes to go.

His 2m06.035s put him 0.332s ahead of Robinson, and Stilp was again third and this time 0.457s off the pace. Shwarze ended up fourth, improving on his last lap but going 1.619s slower than Ninovic, while Campbell-Pilling was a further 0.318s slower in fifth.

Martin Molnar completed seven laps for Virtuosi Racing in session one then missed session two.

Laptimes were considerably fastest on Friday, although it took until 84 minutes into the first session for the benchmark time from Thursday to be beaten.

Stilp was the first to do so, and improved multiple times once he was in first place to bring the pace down to 2m02.812s.

Ninovic bettered that by 0.044s during the third hour, then Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Yuanpu Cui went fatest by a quarter of a second for Argenti.

Shwarze was first to lap sub-2m02s, and was on top for 35 minutes before Cui moved back ahead with a 2m01.386s. A few seconds later Ninovic set a 2m00.635s, but Cui responded with a 1m59.755s.

Stilp joined the battle to be fastest and set a 1m59.624s. Cui’s next lap was 0.342s faster, but Stilp’s improving pace led to him setting a 1m57.957s as he met the chequered flag. That was considerably faster than anyone else could manage, for less than a minute, as Ninovic ended the session on top with a 1m56.955s.

Cui improved in third yet was two seconds off the pace, and Schwarze was 3.254s off in fourth.

Campbell-Pilling was fastest through the first 24 minutes of the final session, and was fastest overall in the test with a 1m53.577s. That was then beaten by Robinson, to the tune of half a second, but Campbell-Pilling responded with a 1m52.803s. Cui then brought the pace down to 1m51.312s, and later Stilp became the first driver to lap sub-1m50s.

Ninovic set a 1m49.050s just before the session’s halfway mark and that kept him on top until the final 20 minutes when Stilp lapped in the 1m48s. That prompted Ninovic to leave the pits and he got within 0.049s of the pace, with Cui 0.118s behind in third. Nobody else broke the 1m50s barrier.

Heuzenroeder was absent on Friday, and Carlin’s Ella Lloyd stayed in the pits in the last session until the final 40 minutes.

Test results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Gabriel Stilp Hitech GP 1m48.863s 123
2 Alex Ninovic Carlin 1m48.912s +0.049s 165
3 Yuanpu Cui Argenti Motorsport 1m48.981s +0.118s 167
4 Hugo Schwarze Hitech GP 1m50.082s +1.219s 156
5 Rowan Campbell-Pilling Argenti Motorsport 1m50.129s +1.266s 159
6 Leo Robinson R Racing 1m50.257s +1.394s 151
7 Joel Bergstrom JHR Developments 1m50.331s +1.468s 159
8 Bart Harrison Carlin 1m50.362s +1.499s 136
9 Ella Lloyd Carlin 1m50.536s +1.673s 122
10 Martin Molnar Virtuosi Racing 1m51.235s +2.372s 94
11 Seb Murray Hitech GP 1m51.486s +2.623s 117
12 Yuhao Fu Virtuosi Racing 1m53.293s +4.430s 122
13 Patrick Heuzenroeder JHR Developments 2m08.927s +20.064s 80