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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Nina Gademan makes progress at Brands Hatch

Nina Gademan continued to make progress in British F4, where she bounced back from a difficult qualifying as well as two unfortunate first races to gain 7 places in race 3 at Brands Hatch, where she had good battles and could show her race pace.

Abbi Pulling, Rodin Motorsport, F4 British, Brands Hatch 2024
Photo credits: Jakob Ebrey

After a point-scoring debut at Donington Park two weeks ago, Nina Gademan returned behind the wheel of the Fortec Motorsport F4 Tatuus for the second round of the 2024 ROKiT British F4 Championship, where the young Dutchwoman continued to make progress and showed great speed in practice, although misfortunes in the first two races of the weekend at Brands Hatch prevented her from maximising her potential and collect the deserved results.

Gademan, who enters her rookie season in single seaters, had an unfortunate first round as minimal track time in the dry before the races hindered her chances, but the Fortec Motorsport driver knew she had a better opportunity at the Brands Hatch Indy course, where she had shone in pre-season testing with times often in the top five.

And Gademan proved that she would indeed be able to contest at the front of the field as she delivered a brilliant performance in practice, with a ninth fastest time in FP1, three tenths off pace-setter Alex Ninovic. She was then 15th in FP2, and finished P13 in the combined Friday results, less than half a second short of the top of the timing sheets in an extremely close field that saw 21 cars covered by 8 tenths of a second.

The nature of the Brands Hatch Indy circuit - a traditionally difficult track to pass on in the races - meant that qualifying would be crucial. Nina unfortunately had three lap times disallowed by track limits, and then found a difficult second set of tyres, ending 20th with a best time of 45.409, two tenths away from her previous best in practice. In the second-best lap classification, Gademan would start P17 in race 1.

“I couldn’t put it all together in qualifying, so we were starting at the back and it’s so hard to overtake around Brands Hatch", she explained. "I couldn’t get a lap together and then we went to the second set of new tyres which didn’t feel better, so I didn’t improve."

At the start of the first race of the weekend, Mika Abrahams stalled on the grid and was unfortunately collected by Ella Lloyd, who then made heavy contact with the inside wall but was fortunately unharmed. The Safety Car was deployed and led the pack for most of the first half of the race, ahead of pole-sitter Deegan Faiclough, who had retained the top spot from Ninovic and Campbell-Pilling.

Gademan made a spectacular start and, with incredible reflexes, she avoided two stalled cars and navigated through the chaos making up one position on the opening lap before the neutralization. At the restart, she followed Chloe Chong closely, in a big train of cars in the midfield. From there, everyone held position, with aero wash making it tricky to attempt a pass.

Nevertheless, Gademan had a very solid race, held off Maxwell Dodds and built a safe gap towards the end of the race. At the end of an uneventful race 1, Deegan Fairclough took victory in race 1, preceding Ninovic and Campbell-Pilling. Nina was 16th across the finish line - topping her best result from Donington.

"We had a very good start to race one. I was planning on overtaking three cars, but two cars stalled so I had to go through the grass to avoid them and I lost a place. From there, there were no overtakes in the race.”

Starting from the tenth row of the grid in race 2, it was all about making up the most places to pick up some points in the reverse grid: and indeed she had another strong start, firing into P14 just behind Ella Lloyd; Abbi Pulling had retained the top spot, while a contact at Druids saw Kai Daryanani going off and the safety car being deployed.

The race resumed on lap 7 and Nina held P14, then started to put pressure on Lloyd while at the same time she defended from Cui - in another very tight pack.

While the Chinese racer eventually found a way past for P14, Gademan had a strong run to take the chequered flag in P15 - although a five second track limit penalty meant that her hard work came undone and she dropped to P19. The result still gained her one extra point for the gained position at the start.

“Race two I had a good start and made up a couple of places to P15, but unfortunately got track limits, so I dropped back", she summed up.

The final race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon was therefore redemption time for Gademan, whose pace had previously gone unrewarded.

And race starts continued to be one of her strong points, as the Dutch racer moved from 20th to 17th on the first lap and was soon on a mission.

Ahead, Alex Ninovic grabbed the top spot from Deegan Fairclough - and the leading duo pulled away. More battles behind them saw Sherwood and Scoular banging wheels - and not far down the road, Nina was trying to find a way past Bergstrom and Daryanani, showing marginally better pace. She would follow them throughout the race, with very consistent times and good battles; crucially, Gademan kept it clean and, when several drivers were hit by track limit penalties, she could move all the way up to P13.

"Race three I also had a decent start, got a couple of places at the beginning and finished P13 which is progress", she recalled. "I had a couple of battles today and I think that’s the biggest progress out of it.”

It was certainly a positive end to her weekend, having collected a new personal best in the series; it was overall a step in the right direction, as she finally got to showcase her race pace despite a difficult qualifying that clearly played a crucial role at Brands Hatch.

She will now take the positives and look ahead to the next British F4 round, which takes place at Snetterton over May 24-26.



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