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British F4: Nina Gademan closes in on top-10, just misses out on rookie podium

Despite a difficult qualifying that forced her to start from near the back in all three British F4 races at Snetterton, Nina Gademan recovered several positions in all three contests and scored 7 points in the reverse grid race, just missing out on her first rookie podium.

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

Nina Gademan continued to make progress in her rookie British Formula 4 season, as she progressively gets closer to the top ten despite a difficult qualifying that forced her to start from near the back in all three races. By making up several positions in all three contests at Snetterton, Gademan scored seven points in the reverse grid race, and just missed out on her first rookie podium.

The Dutch driver made significant improvements over the first three rounds of her rookie season in single seaters, and showed particularly good racecraft in the battles, as she consistently moved up the field after tricky qualifyings.

Having secured a new personal best finish of P13 at Brands Hatch, the Fortec Motorsport racer topped that result with a P12 in Snetterton, coming in the reverse grid second race where she started from P19.

Gademan's weekend was off to a promising start in practice, where she improved by almost 7 tenths over the two practice sessions and finished 14th fastest in FP2, less than a second from the pace setter. Heading into qualifying with high hopes for a start in the midfield, however the wet track proved to be a challenge.

“In qualifying we found out that the brake bias was too far to the back, but we had good pace in the wet on the first day and then didn’t come through in qualifying", she explained.

Gademan set a 2:12.406 lap that put her 19th fastest - and P16 on the grid of race 1, shaped by the second-best laps.

Unfortunately, she would have to charge from even further down after stalling at the start of race 1: having lost three places, she was nevertheless able to catch back the pack and followed Chong and Raber closely in the first part of the race.

When Harrison dropped down, Gademan gained two positions on lap 3 and continued to chase Chong, running on similar lap times. She would pick up another position when the safety car neutralized the action for the stricken car of Mika Abrahams - and then got ahead of Chong when the latter was crashed out on the final lap.

"I started near the back for the first race, stalled at the start, then had to come back from last to P16 so that wasn’t bad" - Gademan summed up, as she recovered to her starting position despite stalling on the grid.

But there were more chances in the reverse grid race on Sunday morning: on a fully wet track, drivers lined up in a top-12 inversion from the qualifying order, which put Gademan P19. She had a blistering start and gained four positions on the first lap, although she then settled in P17. Her recovery resumed soon later as she passed Molnar on lap 3 and, by lap 3, she was back up to P13 as more drivers made mistakes and went off.

Gademan kept it clean and held 13th when the safety car was deployed. In the final two and a half minutes of racing, Nina was right in the battle for the rookie podium: unfortunately she lost out to James Higgins on the very final lap and, crossing the finish line in P13 overall, she was fourth among the rookies. A disqualification for Bart Harrison meant that Gademan could secure her new personal best in the series with P12 in race 2; the seven positions gained earned her 7 valuable points for the championship, as she moved up to P17 in the drivers championship.

“Race two was wet", Nina recalled. "I started in P19 and had some good overtakes. Some people were spinning out and we got up P12 which is a decent result coming from near the back."

After the race, the track had just dried for the drivers to go out on slicks for race 3 in the early afternoon; Nina Gademan would line up in 18th place for the final run of the weekend, aiming for another comeback.

And indeed Gademan made yet another great start, advancing four places on the first lap. A contact between leading duo Ninovic and Fairclough - with Robinson then going off track - brought out the safety car at the end of the opening lap and the action got back underway with 10 minutes to go.

The restart saw Nina losing two places; while she was battling Raber, rain started to fall and the conditions quickly worsened. With cars out on slicks, the red flag was deployed and half points eventually awarded. Nevertheless, in just two full racing laps, Gademan could gain two spots to finish 16th.

"The third race it was dry in the first part", the Dutch racer said. "I overtook a couple of people on the first lap before the Safety Car. After that I fell back a little bit, which was a shame, and then it started raining and unfortunately the race was stopped.”

While the challenging qualifying ultimately hampered her efforts, Nina Gademan showed good progression through the weekend and adapted quickly to the changeable conditions, impressing in the reverse grid race that resulted in her highest points-paying contest of the season to date.

The ROKiT British Formula 4 season will resume at Thruxton Circuit on 8-9 June.



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