O’Sullivan resists pressure to win Croft opener and close in on championship lead

Zak O’Sullivan resisted late pressure from pole sitter Casper Stevenson to win the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race of the weekend at Croft and close in on the championship lead.

Argenti Motorsport racer Stevenson made a good start from the front, but O’Sullivan seized the upper hand through the chicane on the second tour of the 2.1-mile Yorkshire circuit, and from there set about extending his advantage to around 2 seconds at half-distance.

Stevenson showed tremendous fighting spirit to come back at the Carlin racer, but ended up just 0.4 seconds behind at the chequered flag, banking an eighth podium in a row in the process.

For O’Sullivan, a sixth victory of the campaign moves him to within 16 points of championship leader Luke Browning (Fortec), who only managed sixth.

Browning fell back after an off at Clervaux on the opening lap; he rejoined fourth behind a charging Abbi Pulling (JHR), then slipped behind the Arden pairing of Frederick Lubin and Roman Bilinski.

Pulling duly checked out after the top two and went unchallenged en route to a third podium of the campaign, with Lubin a comfortable fourth thereafter, but quite the queue began to form behind Bilinski for the final spot in the top five towards the end of the race.

The Polish racer yet again showed superb defensive race craft to fend off Browning, who in turn had to keep JHR’s James Hedley, then Arden’s Alex Connor at arm’s length to hold sixth.

Connor’s move to the inside of Hedley at the Complex meant he would take seventh, the pair finishing just two tenths of a second ahead of Rafael Villagomez in the other Fortec Motorsport challenger.

Christian Mansell (Carlin) took the final points-paying position in tenth, and rounded out the Rookie podium behind Villagomez and class winner Lubin.

Reema Juffali (Argenti) came out ahead of Matias Zagazeta (Carlin) in the battle for 11th and 12 respectively.

The action concludes at Croft with the second race of the weekend on Sunday at 13:17 (BST).

Provisional Result – Round 19

Pos. Name Team Time
1 Zak O’SULLIVAN Carlin 14 laps
2 Casper STEVENSON Argenti Motorsport +0.448s
3 Abbi PULLING JHR Developments +3.839s
4 Frederick LUBIN Arden Motorsport +8.646s
5 Roman BILINSKI Arden Motorsport +11.492s
6 Luke BROWNING Fortec Motorsport +11.851s
7 Alex CONNOR Arden Motorsport +12.169s
8 James HEDLEY JHR Developments +12.752s
9 Rafael VILLAGOMEZ Fortec Motorsport +12.957s
10 Christian MANSELL Carlin +13.809s
11 Reema JUFFALI Argenti Motorsport +24.759s
12 Matias ZAGAZETA Carlin +26.463s