Emily Linscott and Chloe Chambers continued to show a lot of potential at the F4 US round at Road America, but a chaotic round and some bad luck meant they couldn't do better than P11 and P16.
After the season opener at Road Atlanta, the US-based Formula 4 paddock welcomed back young up-and-coming British driver Emily Linscott and 16 year old American racer Chloe Chambers, who both hit the track at Road America for the second round of the 2021 season.
Both drivers had already shown promising speed in practice, as they aimed to run consistently in the top ten. Linscott, who is racing this year for Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport, was ninth in the 26-car field, while Chambers (Future Star Racing) was tenth fastest in the official practice on Saturday. "Pretty happy with my pace and how I drove the car today, finished the last session just outside the top 10 so it’s looking good for the races", said a satisfied Emily after the first and only practice before drivers went straight into qualifying.
To top the time-sheets was Noel Leon (DEForce Racing), ahead of Mac Clark (Gonella Racing) and Arias Deukmedjian (Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport) with a time of 2:19.253.
Unfortunately, qualifying wasn't as good as the previous session for the two ladies on the grid. Due to a mechanical failure on her third lap, Linscott wasn't able to set a fast lap and finished down in P22 for the first race. For Chloe it wasn't much better either, as due to issues beyond her control she finished in P20.
The session was red flagged but the clock was not stopped when the Ligier F4 car of Louka St-Jean (ICAR Canada Racing) got stuck in the gravel. When the action resumed, drivers were left with under 10 minutes to set their fast laps. Clark managed to secure pole position, ahead of Jason Alder (Velocity Racing Development) and Bijoy Garg (Jay Howard Driver Development) in the shortened session.
The first race started with a lap 1 accident involving multiple cars at Turn 6: Nick Persing (Velocity Racing Development), Jake Bonilla (Jensen Global Advisors) and St-Jean were all quickly out of the race and the rest of the pack drove several laps behind the Safety Car.
The race went back to green - only to be interrupted again by another crash into Turn 12. This time, the involved drivers were Garg, Alder and Deukmedjian - who also retired.
The Safety Car neutralized the action once again and the race was ultimately finished under yellow, with Clark ahead of Matt Christensen (Jay Howard Driver Development) and Nico Christodoulou (Velocity Racing Development). With not even one full lap under green flag conditions, the race officials declared that the result will not count as a points-paying round.
Chloe Chambers finished in 15th place and Emily Linscott was 19th - what meant that both had to start the second race towards the back of the pack.
Race 2 saw Chambers lining up in P19 and Linscott in P21; Clark once again got away from pole. When the lights went out, it wasn't the clean start everyone had hoped for: the red flag was waved for a multiple-car accident involving Alder, Chamber, St-Jean and Oscar Haffar (Jensen Global Advisors).
When the racing did finally begin, Clark scored his first point-scoring victory of the season, ahead of Leon and Christodoulou, this time gaining him 25 points.
Emily Linscott took the chequered flag in 16th position and set the 14th fastest time of the race - that would put her on P14 for the last race of the weekend at Elkhart Lake.
Caught up in the starting incident, Chloe unfortunately wasn't able to set a lap time and would have to start from the back of the grid again on Monday.
Pole-sitter Garg spun and dropped back right as Race 3 went underway; unfortunately, another spin from the car in front of her also caught Emily Linscott in a collision when she ran in eleventh place. The young Brit couldn't avoid the contact and ended her race in the wall.
"If I didn’t have bad luck this weekend, I’m not sure I’d have any!" - she said after the unlucky weekend. "With two mechanical failures throughout the course of practice and qualifying, mixed with getting caught up in an unavoidable crash, I didn’t get the top ten results I was expecting to."
"Looking at the positives, I showed I have the pace to run inside the top third of the grid and I learnt a hell of a lot, so I’ll be able to take this into round 3 at Mid-Ohio."
Chloe Chambers, on the other hand, had a strong race and came back from P22, driving solidly to take the chequered flag in eleventh place, just outside the Top-10. A promising end to an otherwise unlucky weekend.
Emily and Chloe will be back on track for the third round of the F4 US Championship from June 25-27 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.