Podium Success for SWR at Rockingham with Hoque and Albert

04 May 2015

Pictured Sean Walkinshaw Racing

Zubair Hoque and Jordan Albert raced to a podium apiece for SWR on the second weekend of the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship season at Rockingham with third place in round six on Sunday, 3rd May, delivering Hoque’s first silverware in the all-action single-seater category.

Setting the pace from the outset at the Northamptonshire track, Chipping Norton’s SWR concluded pre-event testing fastest overall thanks to a sensational performance from Albert and Hoque was just as impressive with the third quickest time.

While qualifying wasn’t quite what the 18-year-old team-mates hoped for, Albert ending the session third fastest and Hoque seventh, both drivers clearly had the pace and performance to be a threat in all three races.

Some unfortunate on-track dramas did result in a mixed outcome for both SWR racers, but third for Albert in a rain-affected fifth round on Sunday morning and third for Hoque in the dry sixth round later in the day confirmed their undoubted championship potential. Notably, Hoque battled the discomfort of an injured wrist on Sunday, making his maiden podium all the more impressive.

“It’s been a good weekend, it could have been better but it’s still good to get a couple of podiums and the pace shown by Jordan and Zubair has been great”, said SWR team owner Sean Walkinshaw, “Both guys are driving very well and it’s just unfortunate they each encountered some contact. We know we have the car and the drivers to be regularly at the front fighting for wins and podiums.”

Making a great getaway in round four on Saturday, 2nd May, from second on the grid – due to pole position qualifier Harri Newey being unable to take the start – Albert was in the battle for the lead heading into Deene Hairpin but ran too deep and eventually rejoined at the tail of the top 10.

When racing resumed on lap five after an early Safety Car, Albert moved up into ninth and continued to make progress by taking eighth on lap six while running fastest lap pace. With the lead octet separated by just five seconds, the close action resulted in Albert being elbowed back to ninth on lap nine. On the 12th and final tour, though, a tangle among the front-runners enabled him to leap into the top five.

Hoque held 14th place after the Safety Car, having been forced to pit at the start when contact from a rival caused a puncture, and he ultimately managed to work his way into 11th position before the chequered flag. Post-race he was elevated into the top 10 following a penalty for Sebastian Lanzetti.

Rainfall arrived for Sunday, leaving track conditions incredibly treacherous for round five. Albert, lining-up fourth on the grid, made a superb start to rocket into second and remained there until the Safety Car appeared on lap four. After the re-start a lap later, he slipped to fifth but recovered back into the top three in double-quick time to secure a well-deserved second podium of the season.

Hoque started in 10th place and moved into ninth on lap one before being edged back a place once more prior to the appearance of the Safety Car. Climbing back into ninth a couple of laps after the re-start, Hoque then slipped down to 14th place with two laps to run but managed to break back into the top 12 on the final tour.

For round six, the weather had improved dramatically and Hoque seriously impressed with a best lap time a mere 0.006 seconds shy of the fastest of all. From ninth on the grid, he moved into seventh on the opening tour and then leapt into fifth on lap three.

Two laps later, with the action in the lead group getting very tight indeed, Hoque was able to profit from some errors to sweep past into third out of Kirby and into Gracelands. Pulling away from the pack, he made third his own and despite a late Safety Car period he was never troubled.

Albert’s race ended in a disappointing and frustrating retirement on lap nine after he sustained a damaged front-left wheel and suspension following contact. Moving from fifth to fourth on lap one, the SWR driver was then put wide on lap three out of Kirby and bundled down to seventh.

Staging a strong recovery drive, he was up into the top five by mid-distance and in the podium battle just behind his team-mate but Albert’s hopes were shattered following a tangle on lap seven which led to his retirement.

Next on the BRDC Formula 4 calendar is a visit to SWR and Albert’s ‘home’ track, Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, over the weekend 30th/31st May for rounds seven, eight and nine of the season.

2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
7th Jordan Albert, 82pts
8th Zubair Hoque, 70pts