Sennan Fielding moved into second place in the British F4 Championship with two podium finishes at the Rockingham Motor Speedway after fate robbed the JHR Developments team of Fielding and his teammate, Billy Monger scoring a 1-2 finish.
Round 22 was a “challenging” race according to Fielding, beginning just as rain started to fall heavily. Praising the Dronfield-based JHR Team’s small band of mechanics, “They all did an amazing job to change three car’s tyres in time – but I did not have the correct set up for maximum grip”.
From 4th place, Fielding was at a grip disadvantage, “I got up to 3rd, but then fell back”. Splashing around in 4th-place for the middle portion of the race, Fielding fell back another place, for the last 4 laps, “I just brought it home in one piece in 5th”.
Fortunes were a lot better in round 23 for Fielding, who from a grid 4th start, with a blistering getaway and deft overtaking managed to take the race lead before the end of the opening lap.
For the whole 14 laps, Fielding held his own, resisting the opposition snapping at his heels, nevertheless he took the chequered flag just 0.5 seconds ahead for his win number five of the season.
By putting in a perfect qualifying lap, Billy Monger, JHR Developments teammate of Fielding, grabbed pole position for round 24 and took the lead, performing faultlessly steadily pulling away lap after lap.
Driving perfectly, no matter how hard he was pressured, Monger resisted like an old pro and was on course for his debut single-seater win.
All was going perfectly for Monger until suddenly, on the last lap, his car faltered briefly, Championship-leader Max Fewtrell pounced to take the lead.
Monger’s teammate Fielding, having started 6th and running in 3rd-place since lap 6, had no choice but to demote the ailing Monger down to 3rd.
“An oil pressure light came on with three laps to go and I had no power out of the hairpin so I knew I would struggle”, Monger revealed. “There was nothing I could do, even though I tried to do defensive moves to keep those two behind. Looking on the positive side, we proved to a lot of people that we have the pace to win races!”
He lamented, “It was just a shame my first win was robbed from me by a mechanical fault, seeing as I have made a massive step forward - we’ve had the pace all year, but just not been able to put a race together. I think I have shown that we can do it - just a shame that the team and I had lost it all on the last lap…”
Trying not to be too happy at another win, Fielding commiserated with Monger, “I feel gutted for Billy, who drove a phenomenal race, especially as I thought it was his turn this weekend, from lights-to-flag, but unfortunately it was out of his control”.
But his grin returned as he stated, “For me it was great race, I had few challenges in qualifying but to come away with a win and second is a good result for me and the team!”
A consequence of Monger’s woes, Fielding was a big winner from the weekend by jumping up from 3rd to 2nd in the points table over Rockingham’s two days and now 24 points adrift of the leader and closing!