Luke Browning storms to debut victory in thrilling season-opener

  • Rookie puts in a wet-weather masterclass from tenth to win on his debut in Ford EcoBoost-powered series.
  • Richardson Racing take their first win, Carlin reach a century of podiums with Zane Maloney.
  • Two further races at Brands Hatch this weekend, at 10:00 and 15:35 (ITV4) tomorrow.

Luke Browning stormed to victory from the fifth row of the grid in an action-packed start to the 2019 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost amid wet conditions at Brands Hatch.

It marked the perfect start to life in Ford’s winning formula for the 16-year old, with Richardson Racing also taking their first win in Britain’s FIA-sanctioned Formula 4 series, in their first race back in the championship no less.

Double R Racing’s Sebastian Alvarez held the early advantage after Carlin’s dream front-row lockout was overturned within moments of the start, the Mexican leapfrogging both Zane Maloney and pole-sitter Joe Turney to seize the lead on the run into Paddock Hill Bend.

Browning’s rise through the order was something of a wet-weather masterclass, with the Kingsley-based racer gaining six positions on the opening tour of the 1.2-mile Indy circuit, before passing Maloney on the outside of Clearways, and then Alvarez with a textbook move to the inside of Druids a few laps later.

He then set about extending his advantage to the chequered flag with a series of quick laps, the eventual margin of victory some 3.7 seconds.

“It’s brilliant, the Richardson Racing car was so good,” enthused Browning.

“We’ve worked on that during the winter, we’ve had more wet days than dry. All this testing and setup work has really come to fruition here which is absolutely awesome! We were doing our rain dance back in the awning.

“It’s great to race with this calibre of people and just to drive in the championship in the first place is absolutely awesome.

“These guys [Richardson Racing] have been absolutely fantastic and I’m struggling to get my words out.”

Maloney recovered from the early setback to claim third – and the Rookie Cup victory – on his debut for Carlin, registering the Farnham-based outfit’s 100th podium in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series in the process.

Tommy Foster led the line for Arden Motorsport in fourth, emerging victorious from a battle with namesake Louis. Double R racer Foster would eventually take seventh, as first Bart Horsten and then Turney came through into fifth and sixth, the former pulling an incredible move on the brakes into Paddock in the closing laps.

Josh Skelton took eighth for JHR Developments ahead of Carter Williams, the American undoubtedly frustrated after running as high as third in the opening laps before dropping back.

Fortec Motorsport’s Roberto Faria took points on his debut, the Brazilian rounding out the top ten ahead of Mariano Martinez and Reema Juffali, whose race was hampered by a mechanical problem on the opening lap.

The second race of the weekend gets underway at 10:00 tomorrow, with the final race – televised live nationwide on ITV4 – due to begin at 15:35.

Race Result – Round 1

Pos. Driver Team Time
1 Luke BROWNING Richardson Racing 22 laps
2 Sebastian ALVAREZ Double R Racing +3.705s
3 Zane MALONEY (R) Carlin +4.207s
4 Tommy FOSTER Arden Motorsport +10.048s
5 Bart HORSTEN Arden Motorsport +15.264s
6 Joe TURNEY (R) Carlin +16.716s
7 Louis FOSTER Double R Racing +18.694s
8 Josh SKELTON JHR Developments +34.163s
9 Carter WILLIAMS JHR Developments +35.671s
10 Roberto FARIA (R) Fortec Motorsport +56.466s
11 Mariano MARTINEZ Fortec Motorsport +1 lap
12 Reema JUFFALI Double R Racing +5 laps