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Eight moments that made TRS Arden’s season

Success wasn’t exactly around every corner for the Arden International team, but there were moments of brilliance for the 4 (sometimes 3) car team. Luis Leeds was one of the three driver to make it to the final race still in the title fight, whilst rookie Ayrton Simmons kept Alex Quinn on his toes in the rookie cup. Though getting all four cars in the top six seemed like a pretty high goal for the team, they more often than not had at least one car at the sharp end of the field.

1. Brands Hatch Indy Race Two: Rafael’s win near miss

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Arden’s first win of the season very almost came as early as the second race of 2016. Rafael Martins would only start on the second row of the grid in the reverse race, but the Brazilian shot into the lead of the race off of the line, Jamie Caroline following close behind him.

A safety car early in the race paused matters and, as Martins followed the safety car, the rain that had been drizzling at lights out turned heavier so, when the race restarted, it wasn’t long until the red flags were brought out.

With wet weather tyres stuck onto his car, Martins sped away from the line on the restart, but it would all be for nothing as it didn’t take long for Caroline and James Pull to speed past the Arden driver.

Martins would eventually finish fifth, just over four seconds behind eventual winner Fielding.

2. Donington Race Two: Jack’s first rookie win

30092914551_06065a94f5_kThe first Arden driver to take to the top spot of the podium was Jack Martin, who took his first rookie win in the second weekend of the season.

Martin would start the race thirteenth on the grid, but was boosted as those ahead of him dropped out of the race. By the time the safety car returned to the pits, the Arden man had made it up to tenth. By the time the race finished, he would be up to eighth. It wasn’t the best result Martin would see, but it was enough for him to take his first rookie win, finishing ahead of Alex Quinn.

Martin would take two further rookie wins in the season.

3. Thruxton: Ayrton debuts

26907528396_a7df0766bf_kThruxton would see the debut of Ayrton Simmons, the youngest driver on the British Formula 4 grid. Though Simmons had been testing with Arden since the winter, the teenager would have to wait until he turned fifteen to race in the championship. That day came just before the Thruxton weekend, meaning he would be able to compete from the third weekend of the championship.

Simmons was always realistic in his aims, saying this year would be a learning year as he got to grips with car racing. Still, the teenager would impress on his debut weekend, taking a rookie win in only his second race.

4. Thruxton Race Two: Luis’ first win

26873140731_5ce3658331_kArden’s first victory of the season would come from Luis Leeds, who took not only his own, but also the Red Bull Junior driver programme’s first win in British Formula 4.

Though Leeds started the race from third on the grid, the Australian quickly sped into the lead of the race on the opening lap. From there, there was no looking back. Leeds would have to manage a number of safety car restarts, but nobody was ever able to challenge the Australian as he took his first win of the season after already having taken three second places already in the championship.

5. Oulton Park Race Two: Rafael’s first win

27790266312_7f1759d3af_kRafael Martin’s first single seater win would not come easy, with the Brazilian having to battle James Pull the entire race.

Zane Goddard, pole sitter, began the race by pulling away from Martins, leaving the Arden driver to defend against Pull. When the Australian ran wide and retired from the race on lap four, though, Martins was promoted to the lead.

Lap after lap, Martins was forced to defend against Pull as the Carlin driver tried everything to find a way to his own first win in the championship. Though the two came side by side on a number of occasions, Pull was never able to snatch the lead, allowing Martins to take his first win in cars.

6. Croft Race One: Jack’s best finish

27856578346_c095a74099_kJack Martin took his best result of the season in the first race at Croft. The rookie had already taken three points finishes, including a rookie win, putting him on seven points going into the fifth round of the championship.

Martin started the race sixth, but dropped back to eighth on the opening lap. From there, he spent the majority of the race battling against Jaxmie Caroline, trying to find a way past the Pirtek sponsored driver. On the final lap of the race, Caroline would escape from Martin, finding a way past the battling Rafael Martins and Alex Quinn. It wasn’t over for Martin though as, when the two came together Quinn was forced to retire from the race, promoting Martin to seventh and into first of the rookies.

Martin would go on to take another seventh place in the following race, but he would never be able to manage any higher.

7. Silverstone: Double podium keeps Luis in title mix

29290175496_8d4aa02aa3_kA fantastic weekend for Leeds kept the Australian in the title mix until the final weekend (in fact, until the final race). By the time Leeds lined up in pole position for the final race of the weekend, he’d already taken an eighth and a third place at the home of British Motorsport. Pole would put him in the best position to do better in the final race.

A perfect start saw Leeds shoot away from the line and immedietly start to build up a lead to the battling Zane Goddard and Sennan Fielding behind him. Eventually, though, his competitors began to close in on Leeds again.

A strong move by Goddard saw him take the lead of the race, leaving Leeds to cross the line in second. It was ahead of everybody who would be in the title fight, giving him a small boost going into the final round at Brands Hatch.

8. Brands Hatch Race Three: Ayrton’s first overall podium

29215826582_5d8171d5ed_oSimmons left it until the very last race of the championship to secure his best ever qualifying. The rookie would start on the front row of the grid, alongside soon to be champion Max Fewtrell. Both drivers got a clean get away off of the line and, though he was never close enough to challenge for the win, Simmons stayed close to Fewtrell.

It wasn’t long until Simmons was forced to turn to defence, as Sennan Fielding closed in on him. Simmons defended well, managing to keep Fielding behind him and deny the JHR Developments driver the championship.

Image credit: Caroline Rhea

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