If ever there was a weekend that could demonstrate just how quickly the outlook of a championship can change, Thruxton was it.
A sterling weekend for Zane Maloney, taking two wins from three and a below-par set of results for Louis Foster means that, as the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost makes its way north to Croft this weekend, the Double R Racing driver’s title advantage has been slashed to just five points from his teammate Sebastian Alvarez and a further 12 to Maloney.
The Barbadian appears to have discovered a whole new gear as the he topped the timesheets in all four of last week’s test sessions around the 2.1-mile North Yorkshire circuit.
With Double R holding the top two positions in the drivers’ standings and Reema Juffali continuing to find speed with every lap she completes, it’s no surprise they also command an 83-point lead over Carlin in the Teams Cup.
But with Maloney coming to the fore and teammate Joe Turney just plain unlucky not to have claimed his first win of the season thus far, the three-time series winners are beginning to apply pressure to the reigning champions ahead of them.
Sitting a further 15-points behind are Arden with Bart Horsten fourth in the standings and making steady inroads to the top three ahead of him, notching up all three of the team’s podium visits so far. Tommy Foster and Alex Connor are embroiled in a tight battle in the mid-table, whilst young Connor is also making up rapid ground in the Rookie Cup after only two meetings.
Breathing down Arden’s necks are the JHR Developments’ duo of Josh Skelton and Carter Williams. A steady stream of top five finishes for Skelton included a third-place visit to the podium in Thruxton and was followed by the announcement of his induction to Motorsport UK’s prestigious Academy scheme earlier this week.
Meanwhile, his American teammate Williams recovered from a shaky opening race to take two further points finishes, including sixth in the final round at the Hampshire circuit.
Luke Browning continued to make headlines for Richardson Racing, vaulting from sixth on the grid to victory in the opening race at Thruxton. Misfortune in the following two races curtailed his efforts and means he now trails Horsten in the drivers’ standings and will look to wipe out that five-point deficit this weekend.
The Fortec pairing of Roberto Faria and Mariano Martinez are also gathering pace and have a particular knack for gaining places under race conditions. Faria, who currently occupies third in the Rookie Cup table, enjoyed a top-six finish last time out with Martinez taking an eighth-place finish amid a run of bad luck and unfortunate incidents. They’ll be looking for a trouble-free go of it this weekend.
In a change to the normal schedule, qualifying will run on Saturday morning along with races one and two later that afternoon.
Sunday will see the series take to the track only once for race three at 15.20 local time.