Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan bounced back in style to take victory in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost’s ITV4-televised final race at Brands Hatch.
The record books will show that O’Sullivan led from lights to flag from pole position, but in truth the Brit was forced to work for his third win of the 2020 campaign, soaking up race-long pressure from Fortec’s Luke Browning and Arden’s Alex Connor in the baking heat at Brands Hatch.
Both O’Sullivan and Connor made a level start from the front row, whilst Browning blitzed through past team mate Faria into fourth, before dispatching Nico Pino (Argenti) at Paddock Hill Bend moments later.
He would repeat that move on Connor on the following lap, seizing the initiative after the latter went a little wide at Clearways to take the inside line and move into the runner-up spot down the main straight.
Their fight handed O’Sullivan a handy 1.3 second advantage at the front, but a sequence of fastest laps for Browning soon brought him to within three tenths of the points leader, with Connor also closing the gap late-race.
The 2.4-mile Kent circuit is notoriously difficult to overtake on in single seaters, and ultimately the wash, or dirty air, from O’Sullivan’s #51 machine prevented either driver from getting close enough to make a meaningful attempt at wresting the lead away.
O’Sullivan would not be pressured into a mistake, and this win opens up an 18-point gap between O’Sullivan and Browning at the top of the standings, with Connor a further 15 back in third.
Both drivers complete a podium double for the weekend, however, to keep them on O’Sullivan’s coattails as the series heads next to Oulton Park in a fortnight.
Faria banked strong points for the third race in succession with fourth, with Arden’s Roman Bilinski a career-best fifth in the second Red Arrow.
For the second time this weekend, Bilinski was forced to defend and he once again rose to the challenge, fending off Casper Stevenson (Argenti), and later both Abbi Pulling (JHR) and Christian Mansell (Carlin) as their own separate clash caught up to make it a four-way fight.
Mansell and Pulling made contact on the final tour, however, sending the JHR into a spin and to the back of the field. Mansell provisionally took seventh – and the Rookie Cup honours – at the flag, with Stevenson just ahead.
James Hedley made another charge through the pack from the very back to score valuable points in eighth, whilst his team mate Nat Hodgkiss finally opened his points-scoring account in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series in ninth after several near-misses.
Arden’s Frederick Lubin rounds out the top ten, just four tenths ahead of Matias Zagazeta (Carlin).
Reema Juffali (Argenti) came out ahead of Rafael Villagomez (Fortec) after a superb dice for twelfth and thirteen, with Pulling the last finisher.
Nico Pino was the only driver non-classified; the Chilean driver made contact with team mate Stevenson at Surtees early in the race and was forced to pit for checks. He returned to the action, but did not complete the distance.
Provisional Classification – Round 6
|1||Zak O’SULLIVAN||Carlin||14 laps|
|2||Luke BROWNING||Fortec Motorsport||+0.353s|
|3||Alex CONNOR||Arden Motorsport||+0.894s|
|4||Roberto FARIA||Fortec Motorsport||+7.729s|
|5||Roman BILINSKI||Arden Motorsport||+9.432s|
|6||Casper STEVENSON||Argenti Motorsport||+9.843s|
|8||James HEDLEY||JHR Developments||+16.070s|
|9||Nathanael HODGKISS||JHR Developments||+17.770s|
|10||Frederick LUBIN||Arden Motorsport||+18.158s|
|12||Reema JUFFALI||Argenti Motorsport||+25.028s|
|13||Rafael VILLAGOMEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+25.536s|
|14||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments||+42.233s|
|DNF||Nico PINO||Argenti Motorsport|