F4: Challenging start to inaugural BRDC Formula 4 season for rookie Malaysian driver Rahul Raj Mayer
Silverstone, UK Sunday 28th Apr 2013 – Malaysian ‘Formula Gulf [Dubai] ‘ graduate Rahul Raj Mayer took a great leap into Formula 4 racing in the new championship alongside 21 drivers spanning 8 countries in this weekends opening round at Silverstone GP circuit in the UK.
With no prior testing in the 2ltr 185bhp slicks and wings car it was all or nothing for the young Malaysian as he battled hard during the weekends schedule alongside seasoned drivers with several years experience and titles already under their belts. Rahul still managed three solid finishes during the first three races and gained valuable points to carry forward.
“Im so happy to have completed my first round of the new BRDC Formula 4 Championship this weekend. For me, coming into this series with very little Formula racing under my belt I’m happy that I have made significant improvements throughout the weekend in understanding the car and trying to get to grips with the set up and tyres, it’s a totally new experience for me and I’m loving the challenge.” enthused Rahul.
During Friday practice and Saturday morning qualifying Rahul had this to say, “I managed to keep the car in one piece through practice and qualifying as we had almost four seasons of weather conditions in one day, so I wanted to take It easy around this fast 3.6m track, it was a real test of stamina against the freezing rain and cold temperatures that hovered around 5deg, not what im used to in Kuala Lumpur. Everyone was swapping between slick tyres to wet tyres, so it was difficult to find a good set up.”
“I managed to keep out of trouble in the first race on Saturday afternoon, I was on my pre-worn tyres from qualifying so I knew I had a slight disadvantage but I was saving the new set for the next race. I was mid pack on the grid starting in 14th place and I had a good tussle with #12 car of Pietro Fittapaldi as we were all on the similar pace, but then I lost grip on my tyres suddenly and couldn’t keep up with the others, I was in 13th place till a few laps from the end when a few cars went off line and rejoined, I ended up behind them with no way through, so I finished the race in 14th place and it was an improvement on my qualifying pace so Im still positive.”
“Race two on Sunday at midday was also quiet cold at just 7deg and was disappointing as I started with fresh new tyres but I got caught up in a mechanical failure from another car [Malgosia Rdest#2] that dumped its coolant fluid right in front of me on the on the apex, I spun off with a few others and ended up trailing the pack, its just one of these things that happens. I finished the race in 18th place and I gained a second on my best time from the first race with 2:08.3s so that was positive step forward.”
“The final race [three] of the weekend was the most challenging, it started at 3pm, it was nice and dry with the sun shining, but still cold at about 10deg, so it was a good sign for me to try to push harder, however I had to start using my older tyres as I damaged the new set when I span off in race two. I made contact with car #22 whilst defending my position on lap 8 and totally buckled my front nose and wing and split my front right tyre so I had to back off to bring the car home in a reasonable safe condition, I finished in 15th place out of 21 starters so I have a reason to be happy to have completed my first round with relative ease. It was disappointing for sure to be at the back end, but in my first round of the championship with everything still to learn its an uphill battle, I’m really loving the challenge, everyone has to start somewhere and now I’m glad I have at least made that start so I can start to build on all the data we have gathered. Im really grateful to Malaysian Tourism UK & Ireland Deputy Director, Laurence Logan Lechumanan who came and support me and my team in the first round, I hope to help promote Malaysia and to develop our relationship in the future.” commented Rahul.
F1 star Mark Webber, a double Grand Prix winner at Silverstone, and BRDC President Derek Warwick were the star guests for Sunday’s podium ceremony, with Webber presenting the trophies.
Webber also took the opportunity to meet with all the F4 teams and drivers after the ceremonies were complete.
Speaking afterwards Webber commented: “It’s (F4) a great little category and an ideal entry point for young drivers to develop a good feel for slicks and wings with the car moving around. And there’s a nice little paddleshift on the steering wheel too!
“You’ve got to have reliable cars at this level because it’s about the youngsters and Ralph Firman is a proven quantity. I never had the joy at that age to drive on the Grand Prix circuit so the drivers are very, very fortunate.” concluded Webber.
The next round of the BRDC F4 Championship takes place on 18-19 May on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, supporting the prestigious DTM German Touring Car series. For more information on BRDC Formula 4 visit the official website www.formula4.com