It may be the 4th of July weekend in the USA and everyone is celebrating the birth of their nation, but in a quiet corner of the “Big D” of Dallas Texas a small racing team from New Zealand might just allow themselves the odd sparkler over the weekend as Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport is coming off one of their most successful weekends to date at Pittsburgh International Raceway.
As they head into the second half of their US Formula 4 season, the 2018 champions lead the way again after an emphatic display. They swept the podium in the first race of the weekend and left Pittsburgh with the championship lead in both the driver and the team championships.
Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport have prided themselves over the years in nurturing young talent, and the Pittsburgh weekend was the perfect example of that in action as all four of their young drivers scored top ten points towards the championship.
Perhaps the highlight for the team was watching their young Brazilian driver Arthur Leist take his first victory in the series in his second season for the team. Arthur, it could be said, has been living in the shadow of his elder brother Matheus Leist, who is quickly becoming a star in IndyCar alongside Tony Kanaan at AJ Foyt Racing.
This time though it was Arthur in the limelight. Winning from flag to flag in a mature display of speed and discipline. Leist put on a fabulous display of racing to win from pole. His teammates Josh Car and Jose Blanco followed him home for a sweep of the podium.
“I’m feeling so good right now we worked so hard for this over the past three years. I’ve been racing for 11 years and I’ve worked so hard for this. This would not be possible without the help from my family and sponsors and of course Gary and team, my engineer and my brother Matheus. I just want to thank everyone and its amazing to win my first race in F4.”
Team Principle: Teena Larsen:
“I’m so grateful so delighted the guys did an amazing job and were so focused and on pace. We definitely got the right set up especially here Pittsburgh with the combination of drivers and crew and its that attention to detail that’s what it comes down to in this series. Its the fine-tuning. The drivers have been karting and have training hard with both body and mind to get ready for the weekend. “
Team Principle : Gary Orton:
“That was bloody top notch actually. All four boys did a stunning job, – Dante had a good starting position and held a few positions probably through nerves but he still held on. Arthur (Leist) really just never looked back. He was in a league of his own and just controlled it from the get-go and he was gone.
“Josh and Jose obviously had to work damn hard to get the positions they got but they had some really good races.
“We’ve been working really hard as a team and are making the odd tweak here and there and they are getting the results from it. Anytime they go on the track they know what the cars going to be like and that’s really helping are drivers learn.
“The weekend could have been more dominant had Leist and Blanco not made mistakes during race 2 where they both dropped a wheel on the wet grass and spun out.
“Their blushes were saved by Kiwi Motorsport’s other up and coming star Australian Josh Car. The 18-year-old Sydneysider taking two podiums in the first two races of the weekend and winning the third race to take his second win of the year and now six podiums in a row. He is now leading in the championship by eight points at the halfway point of the season.
Driver: JOSH CAR:
“It was awesome to win, we’d been threatening it all weekend as we had so much pace and I’m full of adrenaline so it’s amazing.
“We started off second- battled with Dylan Tavella for a while then a safety car brought the pack together and we ended up hunting him down into turn three. Although he defended I went deeper around the outside and managed to pull the move off – then put my head down and created a gap.
“I saw that Christian Brooks was catching from behind so the race was pretty long when you’re at the front, but in the end, I’m super happy to get the win and take the championship lead.
Gary Orton :
“Overall it was a good weekend. In motor racing it’s very easy to go from hero to Zero and we certainly did that over the weekend. But look, it just goes to show the pressure they are under and the pace of that pack at the front.
“Jose and Arthur made a small mistake that cost Jose the race but Arthur was still able to salvage 5th.
“Josh came through for another win for us on Sunday so that was all good – Dante started off the weekend with a good result in the points, but then had an accident and that makes it hard work from then on but we will take some positives from it and move on to the next race weekend and try and be stronger.
“We’ve got the championship lead for the teams and the drivers but I suppose we are greedy, but there’s still a lot of things we can do better as a team and the drivers but it will all come with time and experience.”
So as you see the celebrations for Independence Day this weekend around the world save a thought for an International race team from Nelson, New Zealand bringing their own brand of modest fireworks to the biggest F4 championship in the world, leading the chasing American teams for the second year running.
The next round is 26-28 July 26th at Virginia International Raceway.