F4 British Championship

Luke Browning claims crucial pole position at Brands Hatch to take an early advantage in championship decider

2 Mins read
Credit: Jakob Ebery

As we headed to Brands Hatch for the final race meeting of 2020 in British F4 Championship, the top two in the title race were separated by zero points with Zak O’Sullivan leading the title race by virtue of winning more races than the early season pace-setter Luke Browning. Every point in this three-race weekend would prove to be absolutely crucial, and this afternoon’s wet qualifying session would prove to be no different.

And as the pit lane went green at a wet Brands Hatch to signal the beginning of the 20-minute qualifying session, it was the Arden Motorsport trio of Alex Connor, Roman Bilinski and Frederick Lubin that ventured onto the ever changing track. With more rain coming in, all 12 drivers were out on the circuit looking for the fastest lap times at the beginning of the session before the track deteriorated too much.

Championship leader Zak O’Sullivan set the early benchmark of 57.777 within the first couple minutes. Alex Connor soon went fastest after being alone on track and searching for the wet line without the hinderance of spray from other cars.

The times were fast and frantic, as rookie cup leader Christian Mansell and O’Sullivan began duking it out for top sport as we were now down to a 56.672 from the Carlin title contender.

Meanwhile, Luke Browning was down at the bottom of the timesheet and looked to be struggling with the conditions early on, but quickly shot up to the top of the timesheet after finding some space on track to set a 56.209. The other mathematical title contender Casper Stevenson was also down in 11th place early on, almost three seconds off the pace for the Argenti Motorsport hopeful.

But at the half way mark in the session, it was Zak O’Sullivan that was leading the way by over half a second ahead of Mansell, being the only driver to set a sub-56 second lap, until Fortec Motorsport’s Browning joined him on a 55.667.

James Hedley was beginning to go quicker as the triple winner from Thruxton jumped into third place within half a second of session leader Zak O’Sullivan.

That was until Luke Browning went fastest overall with just under 4 minutes remaining, going just over a tenth faster than O’Sullivan. The times were now coming in thick and fast ass the driver’s had begun to acclimatise to the weather conditions on the Indy layout of Brands Hatch this afternoon.

But as the chequered flag came out for the end of the session, it was Luke Browning that took a crucial pole position ahead of arch-rival Zak O’Sullivan, with the title contenders equal on points heading into the final three rounds of the season this weekend at Brands Hatch.

Rookie cup leader Christian Mansell was an impressive third followed by British F4 returnee Roberto Faria, and James Hedley in fifth ahead of Alex Connor in sixth place. Abbi Pulling was down in seventh and championship outside hopeful Casper Stevenson was down in a disappointing 11th place.

Qualifying Classification:

1Luke BrowningFortec Motorsport55.456
2Zak O’SullivanCarlin55.566
3Christian MansellCarlin55.710
4Roberto FariaFortec Motorsport55.729
5James HedleyJHR Developments55.853
6Alex ConnorArden Motorsport55.888
7Abbi PullingJHR Developments55.905
8Frederick LubinArden Motorsport55.976
9Roman BilinskiArden Motorsport56.354
10Mathias ZagazetaCarlin56.735
11Casper StevensonArgenti Motorsport57.294
12Reema JuffaliArgenti Motorsport58.173

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British Formula 4 correspondent and occasional F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag.
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