Going into the second race meeting of the 2020 British F4 championship, we were beginning to see the key players emerge for championship glory at this early stage, with championship leader Zak O’Sullivan taking pole position and Luke Browning down in third. Race three winner last time out, James Hedley, was restrained to the garage after JHR Developments discovered an electrical issue that forced the 2019 Ginetta Junior champion to watch the opening race of the day from the sidelines. Frustration for the championship hopeful.
But as the lights went out it was O’Sullivan that lead into turn one, with Luke Browning slotting into second ahead of Alex Connor as everyone made it safely through the firsts segment of corners. Abbi Pulling held onto fourth place, and further back was a fantastic battle between Christian Mansell and Roman Bilinksi.
Nathanael Hodgkiss made a great start for JHR Developments, gaining three places and running in the points after the first couple of laps. The top four gaps were fairly equidistant at about six or seven tenths, with fifth placed Roberto Faria falling back slightly.
O’Sullivan set the fastest lap of the race after five minutes to further stretch his advantage on Browning to over a second and further increasing it in the succeeding laps.
Meanwhile foe the final podium place, Alex Connor was coming under increasing pressure from Pulling, as a train was beginning to form behind Roman Bilinski in eighth place, with Nico Pino, Mathias Zagazeta, Frederick Lubin, Rafael Villagomez, Hodgkiss and Reema Juffali all in close company.
At the half way mark, Luke Browning set the fastest lap of the race and really began to apply some pressure on leader O’Sullivan, with the Fortec man bringing the gap down to 1.273 seconds. Connor stabilised in third, and Abbi Pulling still driving well in fourth place.
Casper Stevenson and Christian Mansell were beginning to pile the pressure on Faria for fifth place, as the Brazilian began to lose touch with the top four that had run away with this race. The Australian would make it past Stevenson for sixth in the latter stages of the race – an impressive run for Mansell after showing much promise at Donington last week.
Rafael Villagomez retired from the race after an excursion at Hawthorns. An unfortunate incident after a promising opening weekend at Donington Park for the Mexican rookie.
Coming into the final five minutes, Browning had managed to cut the lead to O’Sullivan down to just six tenths of a second as the Fortec driver had seemed to looked after his tyres well in the opening stages to make a late race assault on the Carlin championship leader.
But at the chequered flag it was Zak O’Sullivan that managed to hold onto the lead ahead of Luke Browning to father extend his championship advantage. Alex Connor completed the podium in third place, and Abbi Pulling finished in an impressive fourth place ahead of Roberto Faria who was chased home all the way by Christian Mansell in sixth place.
Race 1 Classification:
|1||Zak O’Sullivan||Carlin||14 Laps|
|2||Luke Browning||Fortec Motorsport||+ 0.391|
|3||Alex Connor||Arden Motorsport||+ 1.755|
|4||Abbi Pulling||JHR Developments||+6.576|
|5||Roberto Faria||Fortec Motorsport||+14.431|
|7||Casper Stevenson||Argenti Motorsport||+17.037|
|8||Roman Bilinski||Arden Motorsport||+ 30.298|
|9||Nico Pino||Argenti Motorsport||+ 30.435|
|10||Mathias Zagazeta||Carlin||+ 30.585|
|11||Nathanael Hodgkiss||JHR Developments||+ 32.386|
|12||Reema Juffali||Argenti Motorsport||+ 3 Laps|
|13||Frederick Lubin||Arden Motorsport||DNF|
|14||Rafael Villagomez||Fortec Motorsport||DNF|