- Title race returns to high-speed Hampshire circuit with Zane Maloney 54 points clear of the chasing pack.
- Double R Racing and Sebastian Alvarez keen to maintain run of form after commanding double victory last time out at Snetterton.
- Ford’s rising stars ready for battle once again in front of an expected capacity crowd and ITV4’s television cameras.
Zane Maloney remains unquestionably the man to beat in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost, but a commanding double victory for Sebastian Alvarez last time out has added a new dynamic to the chase as the series returns to Thruxton this weekend [17th-18th August].
Put simply, Alvarez found another gear on the rest of the field at Snetterton; if not for a small mistake whilst attempting to wrestle the lead of a thrilling second race from JHR’s Josh Skelton, the Mexican could quite feasibly have completed a clean sweep, à la Maloney…
Though Maloney’s net lead in the championship only decreased by three markers to 54, Alvarez now leap-frogs Double R team-mate and local racer Louis Foster into second in the standings, reducing his own personal deficit to the Barbadian by 23 points in Norfolk.
Any repeat of that form this weekend would certainly shake up the title fight heading into the final three meetings of the season, but besting Maloney will prove no easy feat around the high-speed 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit.
It was Thruxton back in May that saw Maloney take his breakthrough victory in Ford’s winning formula – and with it the £5,000 Ford Super Rookie Award – and he duly added another that weekend to cement his title credentials.
Since then, a further five victories – including a record-equalling run of four in a row – have built up a comfortable margin for Maloney, but behind him, Alvarez and Foster are a whole host of stars waiting in the wings, ready to strike…
Leading that group is Arden Motorsport’s Bart Horsten and Skelton, the pair now consistently banking podium finishes to keep themselves in outside contention for the crown.
Either could arguably have won a race at Snetterton, too, highlighting the strength in depth of the competition in Britain’s FIA-sanctioned Formula 4 category in 2019. They will prove tough to beat, and could throw a spanner in the works for the trio ahead in the standings.
Horsten’s team-mate Tommy Foster also arrives in high spirits and will no doubt be aiming for a repeat of his pole position here in May, and his maiden victory in the series a fortnight ago at Snetterton.
The misfortune of Richardson Racing’s Luke Browning played a part in that success, the Cheshire-based racer charging through from tenth to the winner’s circle in a captivating middle race, before a post-race penalty for a false start dropped him to third in the final reckoning.
Avid watchers will remember Browning’s charge from sixth to win the opener at Thruxton in May, however, and the former Ginetta Junior star is more than capable of causing headaches once again this weekend.
Carter Williams has similar potential, with the Californian back amongst the silverware a fortnight ago. The pace has always been there – without the luck – but now the JHR racer has a spring in his step, and a maiden victory in his sights.
Arden’s Alex Connor has made meteoric strides in the Rookie Cup stakes since his debut weekend at Donington Park, with a near full-house of class podiums, including two wins, moving him into second as Maloney’s closest challenge for the coveted award.
He currently sits just half a point ahead of Fortec Motorsport’s Roberto Faria in that regard, the Brazilian recording a best-ever qualifying performance and some positive results at Snetterton. Their battle will be one to watch, with both still aiming for a first overall podium in the process.
Alex Walker, the final of JHR’s three entries, has certainly acquitted himself well amongst the next generation of motorsport stars, with four points finishes and a hat-trick of Rookie Cup podiums to show for his first six races in the category.
He was part of a thrilling battle with the other Fortec machine of Mariano Martinez and Double R’s Reema Juffali over the points-paying positions last time out – expect that group to provide yet more entertainment on arguably the UK’s most challenging circuit.
Martinez is yet another making solid progress, with a career-best seventh in the middle race at Snetterton, whilst Juffali’s development versus more experienced opposition has been impressive, and will no doubt take yet another stride forward in Hampshire.
So, with the championship battle starting to take shape, it’s time to stand up and be counted. Watch this space…