Luke Browning has taken his maiden pole position in the 2019 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Thruxton, leading Carter Williams and championship contender Sebastian Alvarez in a session where the final laps were crucial to success.
After Friday’s heavy rainfall continued overnight, the Hampshire circuit was suitably damp as the qualifying session got underway meaning drivers struggled to handle the conditions throughout the twenty minute shootout.
It wasn’t the ideal start to the session for Browning either, as a lingering gearbox issue from Friday nearly cropped up again and threatened his participation in qualifying with the Cheshire-based driver missing the first five minutes of the session. Despite that, Browning wrestled his Richardson Racing machine to the top spot in the dying moments of the session to claim his first pole in the series.
“It was a little bit scary to start off with,” Browning said. “We managed to turn it round and I thought ‘just get out there, I’ve got nothing to lose’.
“I’ve got to say a massive thanks to the team, they’ve not gone home. A few of them slept in the truck because of the gearbox issue we had yesterday in FP2 so it was gearbox off and new one on today.”
Browning remained coy on the emotional impact of getting pole for the first time, and is rather more focused on the practical benefits of a clear run off the start line.
“It’s the fact it should be a little bit easier to win!”, Browning quipped. “As long as we don’t have any issues and carry on as we have been, we’ve always been good in the race and I don’t have to get past anyone this time.”
JHR Development‘s Williams was just shy of two tenths behind Browning and set his fastest lap at the very last chance, as did Alvarez in his Double R machine clocking just over two tenths behind.
Josh Skelton lines up fourth after comfortably holding third fastest until being relegated by Alvarez with championship leader Zane Maloney starting from fifth spot for Carlin, unable to get a hold on track conditions and joining many other drivers in locking up into Club chicane throughout the session.
Bart Horsten was just 0.002s from bettering Maloney but will ultimately start sixth for Arden with Alex Connor just behind in seventh.
Eighth place went to Horsten’s team-mate Tommy Foster, two tenths clear of namesake and erstwhile points leader Louis Foster in ninth.
Alex Connor rounds out the top ten with the Fortec of Roberto Faria for company as the Brazilian suffered an issue during the session that saw him stop out on track.
The third Double R entry of Reema Juffali lines up 12th whilst Mariano Martinez completes the grid in 13th.
The threat of rain is still looming large over the 2.356 mile Thruxton circuit, with the potential for showers as race one gets underway later this afternoon at 13.40.