Christian Mansell put in a flawless drive to convert reverse grid pole position into a lights-to-flag victory in the second F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race at Brands Hatch GP.
That result, secured by a margin of 0.581 seconds, also nets the Australian the £5,000 Ford Super Rookie Award for being the first Rookie Cup entrant to win a race outright in 2020, and of course nets Mansell top spot in class to go with it.
Mansell started alongside Fortec Motorsport’s Roberto Faria on the front row and was pushed by the Brazilian throughout; the gap ebbed and flowed between the two, but the Carlin ace did enough to hold him at arm’s length.
Regardless, it’s still a career-best result for Faria, with JHR’s Abbi Pulling another first-time podium finisher in third.
The two briefly swapped positions on the opening lap, Pulling making a quick getaway to take the inside line on the run through Paddock Hill Bend, but a bold move to keep going around the outside at Druids earnt Faria the inside line on the run towards Graham Hill Bend, and from there the runner-up spot remained secure.
Behind the three podium finishers, Luke Browning (Fortec) and Alex Connor (Arden) played out a superb dice for fourth and fifth respectively.
With championship leader Zak O’Sullivan (Carlin) forced to pit with mechanical issues at half-distance, the opportunity to close on the Brit was too good to pass up.
As in the opening race, Connor put pressure on Browning as he closed in late on, but overtaking is notoriously difficult on the 2.4-mile Kent circuit, let alone on used tyres, and both will be happy to bank solid points in O’Sullivan’s absence.
Roman Bilinski followed up his sublime defensive drive earlier in the day with a run to the top six, holding off Argenti Motorsport’s Casper Stevenson by just over half a second, just ahead of Matias Zagazeta (Carlin).
The Peruvian came under attack late on from a charging James Hedley (JHR), the Brit out to make up for lost ground after mechanical problems forced him out of both qualifying and the opening race.
His progress was steady, rising through from fifteenth to bank two valuable points in ninth.
Nico Pino (Argenti) rounds out the top ten, with Nathanael Hodgkiss (JHR) making it a brace of eleventh-place finishes for Saturday.
Reema Juffali was twelfth after a good battle with Rafael Villagomez (Fortec), who rounds out the finishers.
The ITV4-televised final race of the weekend at Brands Hatch is scheduled for 14:45 (BST) tomorrow.
Provisional Classification – Round 5
|1||Christian MANSELL||Carlin||14 laps|
|2||Roberto FARIA||Fortec Motorsport||+0.581s|
|3||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments||+1.093s|
|4||Luke BROWNING||Fortec Motorsport||+1.526s|
|5||Alex CONNOR||Arden Motorsport||+1.828s|
|6||Roman BILINSKI||Arden Motorsport||+4.391s|
|7||Casper STEVENSON||Argenti Motorsport||+5.020s|
|9||James HEDLEY||JHR Developments||+6.622s|
|10||Nico PINO||Argenti Motorsport||+10.702s|
|11||Nathanael HODGKISS||JHR Developments||+10.899s|
|12||Reema JUFFALI||Argenti Motorsport||+13.882s|
|13||Frederick LUBIN||Arden Motorsport||+14.194s|
|14||Rafael VILLAGOMEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+16.968s|
|DNF||Zak O’SULLIVAN||Carlin||+6 laps|