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Youngsters set to light up BRDC F4 Winter Championship

Thursday, November 06 2014

The BRDC F4 Winter Championship blasts into life at Snetterton this weekend (8-9 November), with an international field set to do battle, just two weeks after George Russell was crowned main series champion at the same venue.

A combination of new faces and returning stars will compete at in Norfolk across the four races with a distinct South American feel!

Main season race winner, Brazilian Gaetano di Mauro, returns to PetroBall Racing, where he is joined by countryman and series newcomer Enzo Bortoleto, while Mexicans Rodrigo Fonseca and Fernando Urrutia have signed up with Douglas Motorsport and SWR - Caterham F1 respectively.

Di Mauro stormed to a maiden F4 win at Brands Hatch, and will be a strong contender for the championship crown, while Fonseca is targeting his first podium after a strong second half of the season. Bortoleto meanwhile has good experience in single seaters having raced with success in South American Formula 4,  whereas Urrutia was a champion karter before stepping up to cars in 2013, racing in South American F2000 and then the PanamGP Series for Formula Abarth-style cars.

PetroBall Team Principal José Roberto Sabathe is optimistic of challenging for the title, despite this still being his team's first season of competition in the UK. "As a team we have progressed very quickly. From starting out at the beginning of the year, we have already taken our first win and I'm sure Gaetano [di Mauro] can challenge for the Winter Championship title."

Representing the Brits are race-winner Will Palmer (HHC Motorsport), Jordan Albert (SWR - Caterham F1), Connor Jupp (Mectech Motorsport) and series newcomers Alex Gill (MGR Motorsport), Zubair Hoque and Harri Newey (HHC), son of F1 design legend Adrian Newey.

Palmer scored a double win at Snetterton in June this year, and should be a man to look out for, having finished inside the top-six overall in the main season, and scoring an additional five podiums. He commented: "As ever in BRDC F4, it will be very competitive, but with HHC Motorsport's support and all that I have learnt this year, we are in a very strong position to challenge for the title."

Albert had a steep development curve with a limited racing background, but demonstrated his potential with a podium finish at Donington Park, and is looking to take his first victory this weekend. Jupp joined F4 at the mid season point ending his season as a top-10 regular, and now joins European Radical champions Mectech Motorsport, who make their single seater competition debut.

Of the newcomers, Gill has shown he's more than adept to single seater competition, having claimed a victory in Formula Renault BARC this season, as well as six further podiums, finishing fourth overall in 2014. Gill said: "I'm really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the car for the first time. It has a lot of features which are new to me, such as the paddle-shift gearbox, but I'm sure I'll be quickly up to speed and challenging at the front."

Hoque may be making his single seater race debut, but he has good testing experience, following on from a successful karting career which saw him race not just in the UK, but at international level as well. Newey meanwhile has raced in Super 1 KF3 and the CIK-FIA karting series in the past two seasons, while racing cars for the first time at Paul Ricard in France in October.

The Winter Championship encompasses a total of eight rounds across two weekends, with one qualifying session and two races each day. Qualifying will decide the order for the first race of each day, with the second race grid decided by fastest laps from each day's opener. The points system remains the same as the main season, with 35 points available for a race win, 29 for second place and 24 for third, going down to a single point for 20th place. The Winter Champion will receive free entry for the 2015 main season, with the runner-up and third placed driver receiving 50 per-cent and 25 per-cent respectively off their entry fees for next year, with the prize package valued at £10,000.

The event starts with an exclusive test day today (Thursday), with further running on Friday before the first qualifying session at 9.30am on Saturday. The first race starts at 11.10am, the second at 2.10pm, with the Sunday schedule following the same timings. Text updates and live timing, as well as instant reports will be available on the BRDC F4 Championship website, www.formula4.com, all weekend, and on the official championship social media feeds.