SA’s Stuwie scores maiden French F4 win
Bloemfontein teenager Stuart White scored his first french Formula 4 victory at the Magny Cours Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday. White, who qualified on pole position on Saturday scored a win, a third and a seventh in the three races to move up to fifth position in the overall FFSA French Formula 4 Academy championship to keep himself in line for his objective to end up in the championship top three.
“What a brilliant weekend — this is the stuff we dream about!” an elated Stuart explained. “Its even better knowing how hard we worked to get here — I have a lot of people to thank who helped get us here — most of all my dad — thank you so much!”
It wasn’t an easy weekend — a drying track saw Stuart well down in qualifying and with just enough time to recover. “I chose to run four cool down laps to save tyres before having a go over the last 3 laps, but then qualifying was was red flagged and I was down in 13th place. “Fortunately we had one more lap and I put it on pole!”
The French Formula 4 championship however sees the first race starting on the driver’s second-best qualifying lap, the second race starting on the driver’s best race 1 lap time and the final starting on the fastest qualifying lap, so Stuart started the first race in 13th and fought his way up to a fine seventh, setting the third quickest lap of the race on his way to see him starting third on the race 2 grid.
“Race 2 was brilliant.” Stuart admitted. “I had a good start and worked my way to the front to win by half a second — what a feeling! “The final was a bit more work — I started on pole, but my rear diffuser came loose and we lost downforce, which caused the car to slide around too much and the rear tyres went off. “I couldn’t do too much about the two quickest guys, but I was able to fend off the other four cars that were snapping at my heels to end up third…
“Overall it was a great weekend — pole position, my first international race win and a good points haul, but the best was being on the top step of that podium with the South African national anthem playing out loud — that was just awesome — one of our proudest moments!”
Stuart returns to Europe in three weeks time for the penultimate round of the French Formula 4 series at another great grand prix circuit in Barcelona at the end of the month.