Devlin DeFrancesco has his sights set on a successful return to Rockingham this weekend (August 27-28), as battle for the F4 British Championship hots up.
The 16-year-old Carlin driver came away from the last round at Knockhill just 13 points off the championship lead and is confident of closing the gap on his return to Rockingham, a circuit where he took pole position on his last visit in Ginetta Juniors.
“Rockingham has always been a good track for me, I’ve done quite a lot of mileage there so I’m really looking forward to the weekend,” said Devlin. “Unfortunately we do have to take a ten-place grid penalty for race one, but I love a challenge. It’s going to be an important weekend in the championship with only three rounds to go, so there’s everything to play for.”
At a shade under 2 miles, the Corby circuit is one of the few counter-clockwise tracks on the F4 British Championship calendar, however, the Canadian is feeling well prepared for the challenge.
“We’ve done quite a lot of days there in the F4 and it’s one of the really good tracks for our car I think,” Devlin explained. “The start of the lap is really exciting, you have the banking and then a big heavy braking zone into turn two, which is a really good opportunity for overtaking. The rest of it is quite flat and flowing and really takes a toll on your neck. It’s quite physical, but I’ve been doing a lot of training to be ready for it.”
With a limited number of tyres to manage throughout the weekend, Devlin will have to be wary of Rockingham’s famously abrasive surface, but maintains that it won’t distract him from the job in hand at this crucial stage in the season.
“It will be all about carrying a high minimum speed through the corners and nailing all the apexes, the same as any other track, but getting the peak out of the tyres in qualifying is going to be key,” Devlin continued.
“I’m not feeling any pressure, every weekend you try to do the same thing, so the mentality doesn’t really change. You’re there to do one job and everyone will be counting points at the end.
“We’ve had a few issues out of our control and probably taken away one or two wins, but I’ve beaten the people in front of me before and I know I can do it again. We have just to do everything right, get that consistency nailed and we’ll be fine.”
The first race of the weekend gets underway at 14:15 on Saturday, with race two and race three starting on Sunday at 10:50 and 15:50 respectively.