Luke Browning kept chief title rival Zak O’Sullivan at arm’s length to win the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race of the weekend at Brands Hatch, and with it re-took the championship lead.
Starting from pole position, the Fortec Motorsport racer made a level start with O’Sullivan, second, and from thereon maintained the gap back to his rival until the chequered flag.
Although it ebbed and flowed over the course of the race, with O’Sullivan never falling more than a second adrift, Browning ultimately did enough to notch up his seventh victory of the campaign by 0.5 seconds, and with it moves to the top of the standings heading into Finals Day.
Christian Mansell had a rollercoaster start to the race, but eventually rounded out the podium, and with it the Aussie rising star claimed the Rookie Cup in the dwindling light at Brands Hatch.
After slipping back to fifth in the slippery conditions at the start, following moves around the outside of Paddock and Druids by Roberto Faria (Fortec) and James Hedley (JHR) respectively, a golden opportunity presented itself for Mansell to re-take third spot.
It all started with a move to the inside of Faria by Hedley at Clearways, the Brit drawing level before the pair made minor contact.
Hedley then attempted a lunge into Paddock to secure the position, but further contact between the duo pitched them both into a spin, and dropped them to the rear of the field.
Mansell duly recovered third position, and from thereon went unchallenged as he sealed a third podium of the campaign, and a remarkable 12th Rookie victory.
He now sits 51 points ahead of nearest rival Frederick Lubin (Arden), with only 50 left to play for across Sunday’s ITV4-televised double-header.
Hedley would eventually recover to sixth after a late move on Lubin, finishing behind JHR team-mate Abbi Pulling and Arden’s Alex Connor, fourth and fifth respectively in this contest.
It was another solid drive from Pulling, who started seventh but capitalised on the chaos, and managed to get ahead of Connor, to boost her hopes of finishing the season in the top six overall.
Connor will be satisfied with fifth, which moves him closer to Hedley in the race to finish fourth outright.
Lubin lead home the final Red Arrow, Roman Bilinski, with Matias Zagazeta and the recovering Faria rounding out the podium.
Faria’s misfortune also moves Carlin one step closer to re-taking the Teams Cup, the Farnham based team now 32 markers clear in that regard.
Rounding out the field in this race were Argenti duo Casper Stevenson and Reema Juffali, in 11th and 12th respectively.
The 2020 season concludes with another pair of races around the 1.19-mile Indy circuit, live on ITV4, tomorrow [15th November].
EDIT: Post-race, Hedley received a 10-second time penalty for the incident with Faria at Paddock Hill Bend, and dropped to eighth in the final result.
Race Result – Round 24
|1||Luke BROWNING||Fortec||22 laps|
*denotes 10-second time penalty.