Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan took his first victory of the British F4 iRacing Trophy season to cap off a thrilling Silverstone double header, with a second win of the campaign in the other contest enough to elevate Chris Lulham (Fortec) to the top of the standings.
Luke Browning maintained his enviable qualifying record with another pole position, beating Lulham to top spot by a mere 0.022 seconds around the 1.6-mile National circuit. Remarkably, a tenth of a second covered the top five in a closely-fought session that set the tone for a dramatic evening.
The two team mates made a level start with Arden’s Sebastian Priaulx and 2019 British F4 champion Zane Maloney (Carlin) in hot pursuit; the lead changed hands once apiece, with erstwhile points leader Browning 0.2s up at the end of the opening lap.
That turned to disaster at Becketts moments later, however, with a spin on the exit for Browning dropping him down to twelfth, and out of the points, as Lulham raced clear to a second win of the campaign by a comfortable 1.6 second margin from Priaulx.
Alexey Nesov would complete the rostrum on an impressive debut for the SMP F4 race winner, with Nico Varrone and JHR’s Abbi Pulling rounding out the top five. Maloney, who had earlier run in third, was unfortunately caught up in an incident at Copse between lapped cars and was forced to pit for repairs.
Another newcomer in 2018 Australian F4 champion Jayden Ojeda took sixth, beating James Hedley (JHR), O’Sullivan, Browning and the final points-scorer Johnathan Hoggard (Fortec).
Argenti Motorsport’s Nico Pino was reversed onto pole position for the second race, with Carlin trio Marijn Kremers, Christian Mansell and Maloney in close attention.
Kremers managed to take the lead at the start, but it would be Maloney that led amid a string of incidents at Copse on the opening lap, the end result a safety car intervention.
An unlucky spin at Brooklands looked to have cruelly denied Maloney a first podium of the series, but the Bajan rising star fought back in superb fashion to rejoin the podium battle at mid-distance.
By that stage, O’Sullivan had successfully passed team mate Mansell for top spot and opened up a slight advantage over Browning. Both Browning and Lulham had made remarkable progress on the opening lap, but the latter dropped back from mid-race with suspected damage.
That left Maloney to contend for third with Nesov and Mansell, with a superb move to the outside of Copse eventually settling the battle in the former’s favour.
O’Sullivan, meanwhile, opened Carlin’s account for the virtual F4 season with victory, 1.4 seconds clear of Browning to propel himself back into title contention.
He now sits third on 70 points, 17 and 12 points respectively behind new standings leader Lulham (87) and Browning (82).
The next double header could prove set the tone for the second half of the season, and takes place at Oulton Park, Cheshire, on Monday 18th May at 19:30.
To re-watch the action from Silverstone, click here.