- Pole position, double victory and a brace of fastest laps for Sebastian Alvarez as British F4 returned from summer break in style at Snetterton.
- Browning charges from tenth to provisionally win middle contest, but post-race penalty means Arden’s Tommy Foster picks up maiden victory.
- Championship heads back to Thruxton, the UK’s fastest circuit, for next event on 17th-18th August.
05 August, 2019 – Sebastian Alvarez (Double R Racing) hit the headlines with an emphatic double victory to re-ignite his title challenge as the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost returned to action at Snetterton.
It was a near-perfect weekend for the Mexican, who took pole position and a brace of race wins and fastest laps apiece to steer himself back into title contention on a weekend of mixed fortunes for current points leader Zane Maloney (Carlin).
A good launch in the opening race allowed Alvarez to retain the advantage, with second-placed Carter Williams (JHR) pre-occupied with defending from Maloney behind. The trio would finish in that order, with the winning margin eventually some 3.4 seconds after a series of fastest laps in the closing stages from Alvarez.
He then backed up that form in front of a capacity crowd and ITV4’s television cameras the following day, fighting off an early challenge from Bart Horsten (Arden) on the outside of Riches to power clear once again, taking the chequered flag 14 seconds ahead of the rest.
Alvarez’s two triumphs book-ended an absolute classic, with Richardson Racing’s Luke Browning rising through from tenth on the grid to take victory in a chaotic contest.
JHR’s Josh Skelton led Ford’s rising stars away from reverse-grid pole position, surviving an early assault on the lead from Horsten at Riches on the opening two tours of the 2.99-mile Norfolk circuit.
Their battle caused something of a queue to form behind, with Alvarez taking the opportunity to send an impressive move around the outside of Maloney at the Wilson Hairpin for fourth, then third moments later with an identical pass on Foster at Agostini.
Horsten was forced slightly wide in his fight at the front with Skelton, promoting Alvarez into second. That left the Australian on the radar of Maloney, but dramatic contact at Murrays put the championship leader out of the race, and Horsten at the back of the field after stopping for a new front wing.
Browning took full advantage to move into third, which became the race lead after Alvarez went too deep at Riches on the inside of Skelton for the lead, skimming across the grass on the exit and forcing Skelton into avoiding action.
Foster duly followed Browning through into second, with Skelton eventually third at the chequered flag by just 0.099 seconds in a photo finish.
The drama continued post-race, however, with a 10-second time penalty for a false start demoting Browning to third, and promoting Arden racer Foster to a well-deserved maiden victory in the championship, making it seven different race-winners in 2019.
Maloney did, however, boost his Rookie Cup title aspirations with another double victory, the other going the way of Arden’s Alex Connor, now up to second in the class standings.
JHR will head back to base pleased with their weekend’s efforts, podium finishers in every race between Williams and Skelton, whilst Alex Walker continued to progress with another brace of points-scoring finishes and Rookie Cup silverware.
Alvarez’s Double R team-mates Foster and Reema Juffali will have contrasting emotions after the weekend.
Foster will no doubt be slightly frustrated not to close the gap on Maloney after a best finish of fourth across the triple-header, whilst Juffali continued to cement her reputation as one to watch after equalling her best finish of the season – and bringing home more points – in the second race.
Fortec’s pairing Roberto Faria and Mariano Martinez also continued to show great progress, with Faria banking his second-highest points haul of the campaign and Martinez finishing a career-best seventh in race two.
In terms of the title race, Maloney’s lead now stands at 54 points, but the chasing pack should be wary as the Ford EcoBoost-powered series heads back to Thruxton – scene of Maloney’s maiden win back in May – over the weekend of 17th-18th August.
Sebastian Alvarez (#94) said, “I think everything between me and the team went very well this weekend, it should have been a perfect weekend – three wins and two pole positions, but I was a bit too aggressive in race two and didn’t manage to get the other win.”
“A huge thank you to everybody at Double R Racing for all their efforts – hopefully we can carry this form through to the next event at Thruxton and keep closing the gap.”