Joshua Car, James Raven and Teddy Wilson finish on podium in Round 11
Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport was in an element all of its own during the fourth Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda event held at Pittsburgh International Race Complex Aug. 3-5. The newly combined five-car squad topped the qualifying charts at the start of the weekend, clocking the top-four fastest laps, taking the top two steps in Round 10, a win in Round 11 and completely smashing the competition on Sunday with a complete podium sweep, marking the first time in F4 U.S. history that one team represented each step.
F4 U.S. rookies Joshua Car of Sydney, Australia, Jose Blanco of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Arthur Leist of New Hamburgo, Brazil, completed the podium for Round 12, all representing Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport.
In Round 11, Car scored his maiden win with James Raven of Portsmouth, England, and Teddy Wilson of Holbeach, England, joining him on each side of the podium.
“We’ve been working really hard all season, and all the efforts we’ve put in finally paid off,” said Car. “I just want to congratulate the team for such a great result. It’s so good for morale. We’re confident in ourselves now going into the next event. Thank you again to all my supporters, my team and to Wright Drilling & Exploration, Inc.”
Car started on pole for the weekend finale with teammate Leist, who is the younger brother of IndyCar rookie Matheus Leist, sharing Row 1. Raven and Blanco lined up in Row 2 with Jack William Miller of Westfield, Indiana, and points leader Dakota Dickerson of San Diego in Row 3. As the lights went out, all 30 F4 U.S. cars completed a successful F1-style standing start, however, before the first lap was complete the track went under red conditions with the safety car escorting the field back to the pits.
In an unaided incident, Miller spun entering Turn 4. The incident caused a domino effect throughout the field, collecting a number of competitors including Wilson, Conrad Clark of Taupo, New Zealand, Cameron O’Connor of Johannesburg, South Africa, Dylan Tavella of Massapequa, New York and Chris Archinaco of Pittsburgh. Hanna Zellers of South Bend, Indiana, and Will Edwards were also involved in the incident, but both were able to return to the race. No drivers were injured.
Hot of the single-file restart, Car started to pull away from the field. On the gearbox of Raven, Blanco and the DEForce Racing driver passed Leist to take P2 and P3 on Lap 5. Lap after lap, the battle continued between Raven and Blanco, and on the third to last lap Blanco made his move on the British rookie, overtaking on the inside of the tight Turn 1. Leist sat back and watched the action between Blanco and Raven occur, patiently waiting to strike. After losing the battle to Blanco, Raven tried to hold off the Brazilian pilot but lost position in Turn 3 to Leist.
“I am really happy for the first podium of the year,” said Leist, who also won the Cameron Das Fast Qualifier Award presented by Worldeye. “The car was amazing all weekend. We didn’t get the results we were expecting in the first two rounds, but to end the weekend on the podium came at the right time. I just want to thank everyone for that and to all the guys for racing a clean race.”
Raven finished fourth, Dickerson took fifth, and Austin Kaszuba of Burleson, Texas, Benjamin Pedersen of Copenhagen, Denmark, Kent Vaccaro of Plattsburgh, New York, Christian Rasmussen of Copenhagen, Denmark, and series-newcomer Francisco “Kiko” Porto of Sao Paulo, Brazil, rounded out the top-10.
Round 11 was packed with action and heated battles. Once again, the Crosslink/Kiwi squad owned the front row with Blanco on pole and Kaszuba starting on the outside. Wilson and Car staggered behind them in Row 2 with Pedersen and Raven starting in Row 3.
Blanco, working hard to fend off Kaszuba, lost the battle for first to his teammate after the first lap. Car quick off the start, overtook Wilson for third, then his teammate Blanco for second. Charging from sixth, Raven stuck his blue, white and neon green No. 12 chassis into the mix, passing Wilson on the outside of the exit of Turn 19.
Blanco dropped to fourth and the battle for position between he and Wilson began. For three laps, the two diced around the 19-turn 2.85-mile course. The pair went side-by-side, fighting into Turn 3. Wilson won the battle for third, and subsequently, Blanco and Pedersen made incidental contact, which sent Blanco spinning and Pedersen shuffling to the back. Both drivers continued the race but out of points position.
Meanwhile, Kaszuba’s No. 34 LESA SRT Equipment Rental car experienced terminal understeer and lost pace at an exponential rate. The mechanical difficulties sent the third-year driver from first to fifth place.
“I felt like a sitting duck out there,” Kaszuba said. “Every lap the issue continued to get worse and worse, cars continued to pass me. I tried to put together what laps I could. After the race, the team found that I had a broken rear bar that was causing the understeer problems. With that said it was amazing that we held onto a fifth-place finish.”
As Kaszuba lost pace, Car took first. With minutes left on the 30-minute clock, double yellow flags emerged. The Honda Civic Type R safety car paced the field until the clock expired.
Car took the checkered with Raven in second. Wilson rounded out the podium in third.
“I really enjoyed Race 2 coming from sixth to second,” said Raven. “I felt like we had the pace to win if the race had continued after the safety car.”
Dickerson placed fourth, Kaszuba fifth, and Miller, Clark, Chandler Horton of Zionsville, Indiana, O’Connor and Leist completed the top-10.
Abel Motorsports driver Jacob Abel Louisville, Kentucky, was presented with the Sabelt Hard Charger award after gaining 24 positions over the course of the weekend.
The F4 U.S. Championship returns to action Sept. 14-16 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. For full results and photos visit F4USChampionship.com.