O’Sullivan resists Browning’s charge to win and extend points lead

Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan resisted late pressure from Luke Browning to complete a lights-to-flag victory in the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race at Brands Hatch GP.

The victory – by just X seconds – makes O’Sullivan the first repeat winner of the 2020 season and extends his early points lead over Fortec racer Browning to 23 points after four races.

The reigning Ginetta Junior Rookie champion made a strong start from the unfavoured side of the grid on pole position and fended off both Browning and Arden’s Alex Connor on the run down to Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap.

An opportunistic dive by Browning promoted him past Connor into the runner-up spot, though he was powerless to reel in O’Sullivan in the first half of the race as the Brit established a comfortable lead of almost 1.5 seconds.

Browning fought back past half-distance however, bringing the gap down to just a few tenths of a second for the final 5 minutes. O’Sullivan, however, would not be thrown off his stride and held on to register his first career victory at the 2.4-mile Kent circuit.

Connor closed in on the battle for the lead on the final lap, but had to settle for the final spot on the rostrum, with JHR’s Abbi Pulling a comfortable fourth – just shy of a maiden podium in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.

Fortec’s Roberto Faria rounds out the top five, ahead of Christian Mansell (Carlin), who triumphs in the Rookie Cup stakes and gets reverse grid pole position for the second race of the weekend later this afternoon (17:05 BST).

That came after a move late in the race on Argenti Motorsport’s Casper Stevenson, who took seventh, but behind Stevenson there was an almightly scrap for eighth.

Arden’s Roman Bilinski and Argenti’s Nico Pino started off the battle, but before long their fighting had allowed Matias Zagazeta (Carlin) and Rafael Villagomez (Fortec) to close in.

Zagazeta and Villagomez’s fortunes differed from thereon in; the Peruvian capitalised on Pino’s attack on Bilinski into Paddock to seize ninth, whilst Villagomez’s race ended early at Hawthorns with rear-right damage to the #8 car.

Pino, however, responded and re-passed Zagazeta to take back ninth, with all three remaining cars crossing the line nose-to-tail, and split by three tenths of a second between them.

Nathanael Hodgkiss made it a hat-trick of eleventh place finishes for JHR as he continues to knock on the door of his maiden points; Reema Juffali was the final classified finisher in 12th.

Frederick Lubin retired on the final lap after contact with Hodgkiss, whilst James Hedley (JHR) did not take the start after mechanical problems earlier in the day.

Provisional Result – Round 4

Pos. Name Team Time
1 Zak O’SULLIVAN Carlin 14 laps
2 Luke BROWNING Fortec Motorsport +0.391s
3 Alex CONNOR Arden Motorsport +1.755s
4 Abbi PULLING JHR Developments +6.576s
5 Roberto FARIA Fortec Motorsport +14.431s
6 Christian MANSELL Carlin +14.771s
7 Casper STEVENSON Argenti Motorsport +17.037s
8 Roman BILINSKI Arden Motorsport +30.298s
9 Nico PINO Argenti Motorsport +30.435s
10 Matias ZAGAZETA Carlin +30.585s
11 Nathanael HODGKISS JHR Developments +32.386s
12 Reema JUFFALI Argenti Motorsport +3 laps
DNF Frederick LUBIN Arden Motorsport
DNF Rafael VILLAGOMEZ Fortec Motorsport
DNS James HEDLEY JHR Developments