eSportsF4 British Championship

O’Sullivan takes maiden win for Carlin at Silverstone as Lulham leads championship

4 Mins read
Credit: Alex Wood

Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan became the fourth winner in six races in the inaugural British F4 iRacing Trophy at Silverstone this evening, as Fortec’s Chris Lulham took the championship lead from team mate Luke Browning after a tough day the office for the Donington and Brands Hatch winner.

Impressive debuts from rookies Alexey Nesov and Jayden Ojeda was also a highlight of the event, with points finishes coming their way after chaotic races saw more incidents and a high attrition rate.


And just to add the championship drama, it was title rivals and Fortec team mates Luke Browning and Chris Lulham that qualified on the front row, with Browning pipping Lulham but .022 of a second in what was one of the closest qualifying sessions of the year so far. Sebastian Priaulx and Johnathan Hoggard followed behind in third and fourth respectively less than a tenth of a second behind pole sitter Luke Browning. The top 18 were separated by six tenths of a second as we entered the first race of the day.

Qualifying Classification (Top 10)

  1. Luke Browning 51.661
  2. Chris Lulham + 0.022
  3. Sebastian Priaulx + 0.057
  4. Johnathan Hoggard + 0.090
  5. Zane Maloney + 0.107
  6. Zak 0’Sullivan + 0.122
  7. Alex Connor + 0.150
  8. Nico Varrone + 0.235
  9. Rafael Martins + 0.297
  10. Marijn Kremers + 0.336

Race 1

The race for the lead was intense as soon as they pulled away, with Chris Lulham taking the lead into Copse corner before being out-dragged by Luke Browning into Brooklands corner, where the Englishman hung on around the outside and passed his team mate through Luffield corner to regain the lead at the end of lap one. The lead was shot lived however, as going through Maggotts corner and onto the Wellington straight, the Fortec man ran wide and lost a lot of time, relegating his to 12th place and promoting Lulham to the lead once again. Set Priaulx and Zane Maloney were in close company behind.

Further down the pack there was major drama as Carlin’s Christian Mansell attempted a late braking manoeuvre into the same place where Browning went wide the lap previous, but this time the Australian completely misjudged his braking and had a massive accident with his team mate Zak O’Sullivan after coming from behind Maloney and Alex Connor, flipping his car around.

Credit: Alex Wood

The standout performance of the race so far was from newcomer Akexey Nesov, the Russian racer looking right at home running in fourth place early on and actually chasing down the 2019 British F4 champion Zane Maloney. Meanwhile, Luke Browning’s day went from bad to worse as he was chasing Alex Connor and tagged the Arden driver into Brooklands corner on his fightback, with both drivers spinning and falling outside the points. A similar incident happened further down the field between James Hedley and Nico Pino, with the Chilean driver not appearing to give much room with Hedley fully along side. Both drivers continued.

Nico Pino’s dramatic race wasn’t done there, and on the 12 minute mark he made contact with Rafael Martins through Woodcote corner after some stern defence, causing them both to spin and forcing Pino to retire. Martin managed to carry on until he made some contact of his own with Carlin’s Marijn Kremers, who himself was fighting back through the field after some early race contact. And the drama wasn’t done with there as third placed Zane Maloney collected the Arden of Martins as he was recovered and destroyed the rear of his car, forcing the Barbadian to retire, his rotten luck continuing for the defending champion.

But as the chequered flag came out it was Chris Lulham who took a dominant victory had of Arden’s Seb Priaulx and rookie Alexey Nesov coming home an impressive third at his first race meeting in the iRacing Trophy. Nico Varrone did his title aspirations no harm with a fourth place finish and Abbi Pulling finished an impressive fifth place after avoiding the bulk of the incidents on track.

Race 1 Classification (Top 10)

  1. Chris Lulham
  2. Sebastian Priaulx + 1.671
  3. Alexey Nesov + 8.323
  4. Nico Varrone + 8.787
  5. Abbi Pulling + 16.675
  6. Jayden Ojeda + 19.383
  7. James Hedley + 24.214
  8. Zak O’Sullivan + 30.779
  9. Luke Browning + 33.173
  10. Johnathan Hoggard + 35.039

Race 2

The reverse grid for race two saw Nico Pino on pole position with the Carlin trio of Zane Maloney, Marijn Kremers and Christian Mansell in close company behind. The start was just as frantic as race one, with Kremers taking the lead at the start, but incidents at the first corner would leave Maloney in the lead as the safety car was brought out to settle the action down.

Credit: Alex Wood

Zane Maloney would later spin shortly after the safety car restart but would use all his knowledge of Silverstone to fight back into strong placings later in the race. Christian Mansell would assume the lead with Zak O’Sullivan in tow, and championship contender Luke Browning in third as we passed the five minute mark. O’Sullivan soon asserted his pace advantage with a sweeping pass in Mansell going onto the Wellington straight and began to build a small cushion.

The two Fortec drivers of Browning and Lulham were next to get past Mansell and set after O’Sullivan in the lead. Lulham would later fall back through the pack with suspected damage that halted his pace. It would become a case of damage limitation for the championship leader, finishing in seventh place at the chequered flag.

The second half of the race would see the final podium place contested between Mansell, Maloney and Nesov. But it was Carlin’s Zane Maloney who withstood the pressure to take his first podium of the season. but up front it was Zak O’Sullivan that would score Carlin’s first win of the iRacing Trophy for 2020, bringing him to within 17 points of championship leader Chris Lulham after a disappointing second race for the Englishman.

Race 2 Classification (Top 10)

  1. Zak O’Sullivan
  2. Luke Browning + 1.489
  3. Zane Maloney + 8.668
  4. Alexey Nesov + 9.333
  5. Christian Mansell + 11.253
  6. Johnathan Hoggard + 14.367
  7. Chris Lulham + 16.296
  8. Marijn Kremers + 21.384
  9. Nathan De Villiers + 21.979
  10. Abbi Pulling + 30.575

Rounds 7 & 8 will take next place next Monday evening at 7:30pm at Oulton Park, 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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British Formula 4 correspondent and occasional F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag.
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