Seven years ago this weekend Ben Jelf claimed his first World Championship crown on his birthday weekend as he battled for the 2011 GT15 World title. 7 years later on his 18th Birthday Ben will begin his F4 World Championship campaign as he heads to Barcis, Italy for the opening two rounds of the competition.
Fresh from taking the lead at the opening round of the British Championship and numerous successful recent test sessions. Ben and the rest of Jelf Racing team are making the 1800 mile round journey to Barcis, a small mountain village built on the shores of Lake Barcis, located at the foothills of the Dolomiti mountain range ready for the battle ahead.
Over a dozen teams representing 11 different nationalities will battle it out over the weekend in two separate rounds of racing. Each round of racing will consist of free practice qualifying sessions and then a Grand Prix race that will see the victor take the all-important championship top points.
Ben will face a few familiar adversaries in the opening round and with a few new racers heading into the fleet the championship is wide open and anyone’s for the taking. Some of his fiercest competition will come in the form of 2017 European F4 Champion Frenchman Rudy Revert and another formidable force on the race course who will be applying the pressure will be Latvian Nikita Lijcs. Add into the mix the unknown quantities of the newcomers to the championship and Ben will need to bring his ‘A’ game in his fight to start his World championship campaign off on the right foot.
The World Championship will consist of a total of six rounds fought to three individual venues, following Barcis the championship then heads to home soil for Ben as he races at Rother Valley Country Park in Sheffield at the beginning of the September followed by the final event at the end of the season in Macon, France.
Looking ahead to the coming weekend Ben the 17 year old had this to say “I can’t wait to start this World championship campaign. The team especially Dad has put a lot of effort into helping get the boat set up and performing well and helping get the best out of the boat. My last couple of years have been about me perfecting techniques and handling and getting to know my competition. And whilst there’s some very strong competition entered this weekend I’d like to think I stand a fair chance at making the start I’d like to in this campaign.”
He continued “Racing on my birthday weekend is always very special for me as I’ve watched my Dad, and Uncle race for as long as I can remember and I couldn’t wait until my 9th birthday so I could start racing myself, so it would be great to mark turning 18 with a win this weekend and think Dad would agree it would be the best Father’s day present I could give him for all his hard work and dedication to me and the team.”