Three rounds in and the 2020 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title fight is already shaping up to be a cracker. Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan arrives at Brands Hatch with a 16-point lead after the opening skirmishes, but it’s still anybody’s game.
For the first time in championship history, three separate teams walked away from the season opener at Donington Park last weekend with race victories to their name.
Arden Motorsport struck first through sophomore driver Alex Connor, the Brit charging through from fifth to the winner’s circle. O’Sullivan triumphed in a chaotic reverse grid race, late moves at Coppice and Redgate promoting him from third to the top step, before JHR’s James Hedley ended a tough weekend on a resounding high with victory in the ITV4-televised finale.
O’Sullivan’s closest challenger arriving in Kent, however, is Fortec’s Luke Browning, a brace of second-place finishes moving him into second in the title picture with a DNF apiece for Connor and Hedley in Leicestershire.
Next behind Hedley comes the consistent Casper Stevenson, the inaugural Scholarship winner taking three solid finishes – including a maiden podium – on a tough weekend after a car change overnight on Friday.
The other two drivers to stand on the overall podium at Donington – Fortec’s Roberto Faria and Rafael Villagomez – will also be tough customers; it’s only a question of when, not if, they join the rest at the championship summit.
Villagomez also heads to Brands Hatch with the early advantage in the Rookie Cup, 17 markers ahead of Arden’s Frederick Lubin; the latter impressed on his car racing debut, including a notable fourth in race two.
Carlin team mates Christian Mansell and Matias Zagazeta are tied behind for third in that regard, the Peruvian’s class victory at race three giving him the upper hand for now, but both will need to be wary of rapid Chilean Nico Pino (Argenti) behind.
Abbi Pulling (JHR)’s charge through the pack in race two from last to sixth showed she has the pace for contend for podiums, if not the luck so far.
Ditto Roman Bilinski (Arden), who showed blinding flashes of pace and, but for an unlucky broken front wing in the final race, would have banked points in all three opening races.
Nathanael Hodgkiss (JHR) narrowly missed out on points on all three occasions at the season opener; Argenti’s Reema Juffali is off the mark and thrilled the TV audiences at home with several tremendous on-track battles across the weekend.
Ford’s rising stars always throw up fantastic entertainment, but when you arrive at the second round of the year with the very real possibility of another three entirely different race winners, you know it’s all set to be a vintage year.