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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

British F4: Ella Lloyd twice in the top-10 at Snetterton

Ella Lloyd returned to the top ten in British F4 with a strong showing at Snetterton in extremely tricky weather conditions, securing a seventh place finish in race 1 that tied her personal best in the series after her best qualifying effort to date.

Abbi Pulling, Rodin Motorsport, 2024 British F4, Snetterton
Photo credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Ella Lloyd returned to the top ten in British F4 with a strong showing at Snetterton in extremely tricky weather conditions, securing a seventh place finish in race 1 that tied her personal best in the series to date. After her best qualifying effort in wet weather, in fact, Lloyd was the protagonist of a very positive first race and, while she failed to score points in the remaining two contests of the weekend, she was back in the top ten in the wet race 2.

Coming off a difficult round at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, in fact, the Welsh driver was aiming to return to the top half of the pack at the Norfolk circuit, also strong of a positive pre-event test. An accident at the start of race 1 had in fact crushed her chances at the previous round, although Lloyd still scored a good amount of points in the reverse grid race thanks to a remarkable recovery that saw the JHR Developments driver making up nine positions.

Sixth fastest on the first session of testing on Wednesday, Lloyd - who sported a new helmet design - laid the foundation for a good third round at Snetterton and made more improvements in the official practice on Friday. On Saturday morning, though, conditions had significantly changed and drivers tackled the 20 minute qualifying on a wet track.

Ella was quick in the first half of the session, setting the sixth fastest time after the first run - before a red flag disrupted the session. As the action resumed, she could still finish eighth in the fastest laps classification - and her second-best lap was good enough for seventh place on the grid of race 1, with a 2:10.185 lap.

When lights went out, Lloyd held seventh place at the start in the only dry race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon; she soon opened a small gap to the cars behind, until the safety car was deployed to recover the stricken car of Mika Abrahams on lap 4.

The green flag flew once again with a handful of minutes to go and everyone in the top ten held position; Ella now had her mirrors full of Yuanpu Cui and Abbi Pulling, both putting pressure on the driver of the #44 JHR Developments Tatuus.

Ella, however, held on brilliantly and, with a great defense, secured a seventh place which tied her best finish in the series and earned her six points.

“Qualifying was difficult in the wet, but P7 was my best result so far so I was pleased with that", Ella said. "In the first race I finished seventh as well, which was good, so it was nice to be back where we should be after a hard weekend at Brands Hatch."

The track was again fully wet for race 2 on Sunday morning, which featured a reverse grid from the qualifying best-lap of the top-12 order. This put Ella Lloyd on the second row of the grid, in fourth position behind Leo Robinson, Yuanpu Cui and Mika Abrahams.

Unfortunately, a difficult start saw Lloy dropping to ninth over the first lap, as Cui took over the race lead from Abrahams and Harrison - who also passed Robinson on the second lap.

The extremely difficult conditions saw drivers making mistakes and going off track, while Lloyd kept it clean and could pick up a few places, thus recovering to sixth just ahead of the fast charging Bergstrom and Pulling once Robinson and Ninovic hit trouble.

The safety car was deployed and, as she was eyeing the top five, Ella unfortunately spun, ending up behind Pulling and Ninovic. The race went back to green with two and a half minutes to go - and the Welsh racer fell down to ninth.

In the final laps, Phinsys by Argenti's Cui opened a gap and survived a chaotic race to take his first win of the season, ahead of Jack Sherwood and Deagan Fairclough.

Despite the tricky conditions, Ella Lloyd still salvaged a ninth place finish - her fourth top ten of the season to date.

“Race two the conditions were difficult, though the car was good. I started P4 and had a tough start with a lot of wheel spin", Lloyd recalled. "We were sixth for most of the race, catching fifth, and under the Safety Car I tried to give the rear wheels some temperature and spun, which isn’t ideal, but it was my mistake and I had to pay for it. P9 wasn’t a bad finishing position though."

Starting from eighth, the third contest was another chance to battle at the top end of the classify. The track had dried enough for slicks, although new menacing clouds approached the track as cars lined up on the grid.

A contact at the start unfortunately resulted in a bent steering for Lloyd, who nevertheless continued in a very chaotic opening lap: sharing the front row, Ninovic and Fairclough made contact and, having been squeezed onto the grass, Fairclough went off, damaging his rear wing. Leo Robinson also went off, and the safety car was deployed.

Ninovic led a Rodin Motorsport's 1-2-3 at the restart, ahead of Sherwood and Higgins; despite a car heavily out of balance, Lloyd made up one position with 10 minutes to go - but she was then collected by Alex Berg on lap 5, ending her race.

At the same time, a thunderstorm with heavy rain had inundated the track and, with drivers on slicks, the race was red flagged and declared with the result being brought back to one lap before. This meant that Lloyd retained 12th place.

"The first lap of race three I had contact, which bent my steering, and the wheel was pointing to the left", Ella said at the end of the weekend. "Then someone went over the kerb and wiped me out, ending my race, just before the rain came.”

While she couldn't fully maximize the qualifying results, Ella Lloyd showed more improvements on one-lap pace as well as good racecraft in race 1, when she held off more experienced drivers. On her debut season in single seaters, Lloyd has already collected 21 points over three weekends and now sits eleventh in the drivers standings.

The British F4 championship is scheduled to return to the track on 8-9 June at Thruxton Circuit. 



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