- Richardson Racing driver storms through from sixth to victory in an action-packed start to Thruxton triple-header.
- Title battle narrows after frustration for pole-sitter and points leader Louis Foster, who dropped back to tenth.
- Reverse-grid contest continues the weekend’s action tomorrow at 11:20 BST.
Richardson Racing’s Luke Browning charged through from the third row of the grid to claim victory in the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race at Thruxton.
A superb opening lap, coupled with some bold overtakes into the Club chicane, promoted the Ginetta Junior graduate into a lead he would never relinquish in the closing stages, defending from Carlin’s Zane Maloney to take the chequered flag 0.966 seconds clear.
The result launches the Cheshire-based racer back into the title fight, after a difficult start to the weekend for local hero, pole-sitter and championship leader Louis Foster saw him claim just a solitary point in tenth, reducing his advantage over team-mate Sebastian Alvarez from 17 points to just 8.
Foster would make the best start from the front row, retaining the lead on the run through Allard on the opening lap whilst namesake Tommy Foster was able to leapfrog Maloney off the line into second.
In similar fashion to his wet-weather victory in the season-opener at Brands Hatch, Browning’s progress on the opening tour of the 2.4-mile Hampshire circuit was meteoric, ending in a bold move to the outside of Club chicane to seize the runner-up spot from Arden’s Foster.
He then repeated the manoeuvre one lap later to pass Foster for the race lead, but before the Double R racer had a chance to respond the race was neutralised after an incident at the complex, Mariano Martinez and Reema Juffali the unfortunate retirees.
When the action resumed a few laps later, Browning made a good restart, whilst further back Alex Connor was forced to take avoiding action after team-mate Bart Horsten ran a little wide onto the grass at the final corner, presenting Fortec Motorsport’s Roberto Faria with a golden opportunity to seize tenth into Allard.
The next mover at the front of the pack was Maloney, the Barbadian making a lunge at the final chicane to claim the final podium spot from Tommy Foster, before getting a better exit from Club the very next lap to undercut Louis for second.
The latter would attempt a fightback, but was forced to take evasive action over the grass at the chicane and dropped to fifth as a result. Dramas at the same corner shortly after forced the 15-year old to make another trip off-line through the chicane, dropping him back to seventh, which would become tenth by the chequered flag.
All the fighting behind gave Browning the breathing space he needed to secure a second victory of the season, his first in dry-weather conditions, and puts him just 21 points adrift now of the championship summit.
“It’s great to start the weekend with a victory. We keep on doing very well,” said Browning.
“The plan is to keep climbing up the order, tomorrow we’re starting one up from today.
“I was surprised how much grip we had out there, the tyres were going away towards the end but that’s something we can overcome when we get back to the awning.
“It was really good to get out front early and then preserve my tyres for tomorrow.”
JHR Developments’ Josh Skelton ended up claiming the final podium spot behind Rookie Cup winner Zane Maloney, the second successive meeting the former has claimed silverware.
Bart Horsten took fourth, with Alvarez fifth after a strong drive through the field to mitigate the damage to his own title challenge. Tommy Foster ended a rollercoaster of a race seventh behind a recovering Joe Turney (Carlin), who dropped back earlier on before the safety car.
Faria, Connor and Foster concluded the top ten, with Carter Williams the final classified finisher in eleventh after going wide at the final corner.
The action continues in Hampshire with the reverse-grid contest tomorrow at 11:20 BST. Sebastian Alvarez will start from pole position, with the top 6 reversed.
Provisional Result – Round 7
|1||Luke BROWNING||Richardson Racing||14 laps|
|2||Zane MALONEY (R)||Carlin||+0.966s|
|3||Josh SKELTON||JHR Developments||+5.673s|
|4||Bart HORSTEN||Arden Motorsport||+5.948s|
|5||Sebastian ALVAREZ||Double R Racing||+6.710s|
|6||Joe TURNEY (R)||Carlin||+6.927s|
|7||Tommy FOSTER||Arden Motorsport||+7.252s|
|8||Roberto FARIA (R)||Fortec Motorsport||+7.994s|
|9||Alex CONNOR (R)||Arden Motorsport||+8.139s|
|10||Louis FOSTER||Double R Racing||+8.620s|
|11||Carter WILLIAMS||JHR Developments||+8.860s|
|DNF||Mariano MARTINEZ||Fortec Motorsport|
|DNF||Reema JUFFALI||Double R Racing|