eSportsF4 British Championship

Browning and Lulham dominate again at Snetterton to further heat up iRacing Trophy title race

4 Mins read
Credit: Alex Wood

As the season began to reach a crescendo in the inaugural British F4 iRacing Trophy, three drivers were revealing themselves as the contenders for the crown. Fortec Motorsport’s Chris Lulham and Luke Browning, as well as Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan. The two races at Snetterton on Monday evening further tightened the vice as precious points were up for grabs with just two race meetings left after this one at Silverstone and Brands Hatch.

Qualifying

The Fortec dominance continued in qualifying, with Luke Browning and Chris Lulham locking out the front row again to once again show their imperious season-long form. Nico Varrone and Zane Maloney made up row two and fellow championship hopeful Zak O’Sullivan taking fifth place on the grid. Last week’s winner Johnathan Hoggard lined up in tenth place.

Qualifying Classification (Top10)

  1. Luke Browning 1:39.084
  2. Chris Lulham + 0.088
  3. Zane Maloney + 0.194
  4. Nico Varrone + 0.297
  5. Zak O’Sullivan + 0.359
  6. Rafael Martins + 0.400
  7. Alexey Nesov + 0.576
  8. Sebastian Priaulx + 0.634
  9. Marijn Kremers + 0.714
  10. Johnathan Hoggard + 0.755

Race 1

To the race start, and the Fortec racers of Browning and Lulham got away safely in the lead and built an early gap as Zane Maloney fended off Zak O’Sullivan, with the Ginetta Junior scholar needing to get after the two up front in order to keep his championship fight alive. Rafael Martins appeared to jump the start in his Arden but quickly fell back, perhaps the Brazilian realising the legality of his start and dropping back in order to avoid a penalty. Nico Varrone looked to make ground after his poor start and spun out with an audacious move for the final podium spot, that move relegating the Argentinian to the back.

Credit: Alex Wood

Meanwhile on the back straight, Seb Priaulx got caught out after being bumped into the armco barriers and spearing back cross the path of oncoming traffic to create a large pile up, causing the safety car to be brought out. Luke Browning timed the safety car restart perfectly, and left Lulham and O’Sullivan to battle for the second place as Abbi Pulling spun out at turn one after a very promising start. Marijn Kremers quietly made his way up to fourth place after an impressive start for the Dutch karting prodigy.

An incident involving Christian Mansell, Alexey Nesov and Johnathan Hoggard after Hoggard was passing Mansell and the pair clipped wheels and unfortunately took out the unassuming Nesov. An unfortunate incident for the impressive Russian. Meanwhile, Browning has built up a lead of 2.3 seconds and controlled the race to take a dominant victory and continue the winning form and bolster his championship credentials. A final lap bust up between Rafael Martins and Jayden Oyeda giving both damage and dropping both from the points was probably the most dramatic moment of the race. Lulham held on to third place after attempting to pass O’Sullivan with a few laps remaining.

Race 1 Classification (Top 10)

  1. Luke Browning
  2. Zak O’Sullivan +2.215
  3. Chris Lulham + 3.847
  4. Marijn Kremers + 5.180
  5. Zane Maloney + 5.478
  6. Nico Varrone + 9.146
  7. Alex Connor + 17.569
  8. Horatio Fitz-Simon + 17.855
  9. Carter Williams + 21.614
  10. Alexey Nesov + 43.807

Race 2

The reverse grid set up an interesting prospect for race two, with 2019 Ginetta Junior champion James Hedley looking for his maiden win of the season from pole position, and Johnathan Hoggard alongside him for Fortec. Abbi Pulling lined up third for JHR Development. New championship leader Luke Browning lined up in a lowly 17th place as his rival Lulham and O’Sullivan were in 14th and 15th respectively.

Abbi Pulling got the best start of the opening lap, and passed James Hedley for the lead going into the Brundle chicane to lead her first laps of the season so far. Luke Browning was caught up in an early lap incident just before Hamilton corner to drop to the very back, just what he didn’t need after Lulham and Zak O’Sullivan had a wonderful start with both drivers running in the top five already.

Credit: Alex Wood

As the race settled down, Pulling managed to ease away to a one second lead on Hedley and looked in total control of the race as we approached the half way stage. Debutant Luke Whitehead was pressing for second place as Browning was posting fastest sectors and laps after his pit stop with damage, but it would’ve been difficult to score points from there. The top five were getting closer together and Hedley appeared to be the cork in bottle, until Whitehead passed him, and Lulham followed through. O’Sullivan got caught up in an incident with Hedley later on, causing the Carlin driver to drop through the field after another incident this season that wasn’t his fault.

Seb Priaulx was the biggest mover of the race, after starting 21st place the Englishman was running an incredible fourth place, continuing his season improvement, knocking on the door of a podium. Lulham passed Whitehead for second, and set about catching the gap to Pulling for the lead. It was a case of when and not if, and with three minutes remaining, the Fortec contender passed Pulling on the main straight with a clean overtake and began to pull away and take a commanding victory. Luke Browning came home in tenth place after a last lap incident with Nathan de Villiers. Needless to say, Chris Lulham took the lead back in the championship after a resounding victory and another clean sweep for the Fortec drivers.

Race 2 Classification (Top 10)

  1. Chris Lulham
  2. Abbi Pulling + 2.261
  3. Luke Whitehead + 4.748
  4. Sebastian Priaulx + 5.648
  5. Johnathan Hoggard + 7.482
  6. Carter Williams + 14.583
  7. Marijn Kremers + 20.465
  8. Rafael Martins + 24.624
  9. Horatio Fitz-Simon + 26.256
  10. Luke Browning + 36.872

Rounds 11 & 12 will take next place next Monday evening at 7:30pm at Silverstone, with the qualifying and race being streamed live on the British F4 Youtube channel as well as the Twitch streaming platform.

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